Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finally Fixing the Back Porch

Last weekend we started doing some outdoor upkeep around the yard, including the first mow of the season. Each year, I think we get more and more determined to have less and less grass. This year, we're starting a vegetable garden in the already-small backyard. And I love the idea of a "no-mow" lawn mix of groundcover wildflowers and clover for the front yard. Maybe next year?

In any case, this weekend we picked up a new "Earth Machine" composter and yet another rain barrel. Jen wonders if we have enough rain barrels, and I say, No way, there's always room for more! More on the rain barrels in another post.

It was such a nice day that our friends from Tiny Oak Park Bungalow even dropped by while I was working the yard and delivered a much welcome gift of native plants - some purple coneflowers for our front yard! We were pleasantly surprised and very grateful. They'll make a nice replacement for the dead mums that have lived in front of our house for the last six months.

Also, we've been struggling with a way to have a functional and aesthetically pleasing screen visual for the window off our back porch that overlooks the alley (a lovely view in winter). I had some lattice work temporarily attached for about a month, which worked great as screening, but seemed a little too "off" in terms of the design. I just couldn't figure out how to transition that lattice with the stairs leading up the back porch of our arts and crafts home. Here is the power of a fresh set of eyes. A friend commented that a design with more horizontal and vertical lines would complement the home a lot better and look less tacky. Duh! I felt like a ton of craftsman bricks hit me in the forehead.

So with that in mind I sketched an idea for the nearly 4-foot by 4-foot area we would like to screen. In an homage to the old kitchen wall we dismantled, we may even be able to construct this with some of the wood (yes I still have it). The design consists of adding two 2x4 vertical studs (guess what... on 16-inch centers). Then, approximately every foot, have a group of three narrow pieces of wood running horizontally. Throw in a few short vertical pieces to "tie" the groups of three together, and voila! A craftsman-zen type of porch screening that will also allow us to (hopefully) grow a climber like clematis up during the summer months. Here is a pretty lame, but effective mockup I did in Photoshop of how this might look.

Next step: doing the work, as well as finishing the painting job that got cut short last fall. And yes, we'll be fixing the lattice inconsistency under the porch as well, so things aren't quite as ghetto here at Humphrey House.


Sandy said...

I love the lines of the design you came up with. It's going to look great!

Jan said...

It's been awhile since we've seen the stairway banisters in the hallway, but didn't they have sets of 3 vertical posts, then some space, and then another set of 3 verticals? That would naturally translate to the porch screen design, and I think your green sketch with the 3 horizontals and a space, with some short vertical ties works well with your other Craftsman motifs.

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