“Hey dad! What you gonna do with that old ladder?”
I was in one of the “big box” home décor stores (for lack of a better term) the other day and found the coolest ladder. It looks like one that you would have found in a Mayan ruin. I fell in love with it because it goes with a couple of chairs I scrapped from an alley in back of a restaurant years ago. So, I bought it. We’re in the process of bricking a wall down our basement which we plan to use as the backdrop for these chairs and ladder. I’m just trying to figure out how I want to display the ladder. Do I want it on the wall behind the chairs? Do I want it propped up in between the chairs? It so happens that I have a cool black and white photo my brother took of a ruin that might look really cool attached to a rung on side of the ladder. When I get it done I’ll post a picture and you can tell me what you think. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions, I’m open!
While pondering about my latest “décor dilemma”, I ran across some really fun ideas to do with ladders. Talk about a DIY’ers dream! I mean, seriously, ANYONE can hang a ladder on a wall, horizontally, vertically, prop it up, sideways, etcetera.
- Paint it a funky color or do a shabby chic thing……….plain old white is okay, too, or leave it just the way you found it in dad’s/grandpa’s garage. THEN………
- hang your clothes from it
- stick your shoes on it
- Lay some plywood on the rungs from front to back and you’ve got a cool shelf to………
- Role up your pretty towels and BAM!….funky linen “closet” for your bathroom
- Don’t role up your towels and just hang them from it
- Kitchen spices……..just an extension to your pantry, or maybe it IS your pantry
- Oh yeah….put some books on it
- Put one in a closet for extra hanging space for kids clothes
- Put one in your closet for all those scarves taking up needed sock space in a drawer
- Great for plant stands……don’t forget about the shorties; the little two rung ladders. CUTE!
- Suspend one from the ceiling on your patio, hang some lanterns from it and behold….the most charming candlelit outdoor chandelier.
- Heck! Hang it in the garage for all that…..stuff you could hang from it
- Don’t forget the laundry room. Great place to hang those shirts you can’t put in the dryer
- Think TRELLIS ~ inside or out!
FUN * FUN * FUN
Trellis’s……….what a way to add vertical color to your patio, porch, side yard, or hide/soften the unsightly concrete/stucco foundation you’ve been wondering how to disguise! And how about the side of that garage? “blech”!
Trellis’s are every shape, color, and building medium you can imagine…..and even more than you can’t imagine!
- natural wood
- treated wood
- painted wood
- and it goes onnnnnnn!
We have a copper coated trellis that looks like cattails and reeds stuck in a planter box that hides the ugly concrete foundation. The trellis is so cute that I don’t plant anything around it that will actually climb on it J. We also have a short bamboo trellis with the most delicious honeysuckle climbing on it next to our patio. The bamboo looks great with the new cushions I made out of a tropical-ish fabric. Add a couple potted palms, and who needs a vacation?? Just kidding- I do!
Trellis’s can actually become living walls for privacy and can be stand alone to create a border to define spaces within your yard. I absolutely LOVE this idea. The trellis can be as long or as narrow as you wish. Consider extending a corner of your house with a trellis to add privacy to a courtyard area. In fact, you could define an entire “room” with these wonderful living walls.
Think outside the box: A trellis can come inside, too. Hmmmmmm………….new possibilities.
Walk-out basements are so cool. I know they are not within reach of everyone, but to those who are looking to buy a new house or add a rather expensive upgrade to the current home, a walk-out might fit right into your plans. This will be of interest especially to those on a sloping yard.
We live in a ranch style home with a slightly sloping yard. When we built the house we wanted to have patio doors downstairs. Well, I don’t know what our builder was thinking, but he put in the patio doors alright, but didn’t dig out the dirt! Luckily my son is a landscaper with equipment to do the job. He dug out enough space have a walk-out and a beautiful patio. I love it. It creates almost a completely separate yard and lends itself to a whole new range of “yardecorating”. New plants, different patio furniture, rock gardens, water features, etc. How fun!
This does not necessarily need to be a giant project though, I have seen some very neat things done by just opening up a dull cement entryway with a rock wall or tiered planter boxes. A smaller project like that can let in a lot more light and is much easier on the pocketbook as well.
Making the best of a sloping yard space takes some imagination and some planning, but don’t let it scare you. There are tons of ideas and resources. If you have trouble visioning a finished design, don’t hesitate to get on-line or get some good books and peruse! Most people with wonderfully designed homes and great looking yards are not designers or landscape architects. They are great copiers!! And that’s okay….!
When we built our house about 10 years ago, the neighborhood was new and there were no fences. We had a patio in back, and although we consider ourselves to be social people, we felt conspicuously conspicuous while sitting out enjoying the evening……. and everyone else’s evening as well!
We decided to construct a semi-private fence about 4 feet out from the patio on two sides. We left 5-6 feet of open space in the adjacent corners so there is a walkway to the yard without walking all around either side of the fence. I just love it!
- It’s just 2, 6-ft sections of vinyl fence to the south and 2, 6-ft sections of vinyl fence to the west.
- It is “semi”-private so it has a 2” slat, space, then a 3” slat, repeat.
- We can still see what’s going on in the rest of our yard and enjoy the birds as well.
It’s all we needed to give us the “feeling” of privacy we wanted in the first few years, and now a cozy room to always enjoy. And even though we now have a fence enclosing the yard, this privacy fence gives our patio its own sense of space, a secluded-ness and coziness that I did not expect. It created an adorable outdoor “room” where we enjoy the good company of family and friends and homemade lemonade. It’s fabulous! By the way, this fence would look so great done with that TREX stuff…even warmer and cozier!
Window wells are a necessary sore thumb….or are they? They certainly don’t have to be. We chose to dig out our window wells and landscape around them in different ways. Now we only have one window well “below ground”. Of course you have to be wise about it. Depending on you r slope, the amount of run-off and other factors, it may not be possible. For example, our one underground window well is in our patio and not possible to dig out.
Digging out and grading back can open up a daylight basement and add the glow of natural light. The space itself can be used as a flower bed, rock garden, egress window (that’s a window that people can escape from in case of fire or other emergency) or something whimsical and fun to view from inside.
Creating a wonderful terraced window well will eliminate the need for a ladder and considerably minimizes the danger of a fall, and it will provide a space for a garden, either vegetable or flower. How wonderful! Even holiday decorating to be seen from inside a family room or downstairs bedroom.
There are a ton of products to choose from to use in your window well depending on the desired outcome. Redwood, vinyl, stone; all of these can make a fabulous and natural windowscape.
TIP: Like all major DIY projects certain pesky rules must be followed. Make sure to call your utility companies before digging a 3-4 foot hole in the ground. Check for codes in your area. Do your homework. There are certain specifications for an egress window. Consider the drainage and safety issues.