Whenever my father in-law comes to visit I always have big plans for him. It’s okay. He knows it’s coming. He gets here and immediately asks what jobs we’re going to tackle.
I say “we” but many of the tasks are for him alone. Like when he spent an entire day fixing our vacuum. Or when he installed window screens. Or the time he mounted our giant television to the wall. The broken garage door. The broken gate.
My personal favorite is a project we did together – bright flower shadow boxes we made for my fence. Could I have done it alone? Sure. Did I want to try using a saw while corralling an infant and a preschooler? Nope.
When the weather is warm our patio is very much an extension of our living room. We sit outside a lot. A lot. It’s where we eat both lunch and dinner. It’s where I do my Bible Study in the morning. As soon as the sun comes up we all spill outside. I’m carrying my coffee. My toddler is carrying her empty cup that she pretends is coffee. My son has a super hero costume bundled under one arm.
The patio is where our children color the concrete (also legs and shoes) with chalk. It’s where they play in the sandbox.
It’s hosted many birthday parties and cookouts.
The grass just off the patio is the site of many afternoons in the sprinkler. It’s the baseball field some days and the soccer field or golf course on others.
You can see why it is important to me that this cherished space feels inviting. I want it to be a place where I want to be. I want it to look warm and welcoming even when you’re sitting inside the house with the windows open looking out.
Every year I fill large pots full of flowers and use them everywhere outside. The pots are from Sam’s Club. I just replaced them this year. I got 5 years of use out of my last pots also from Sam’s Club so it’s well worth the expense for a good quality flower pot. These splashes of color make me smile every day. Plus I have two little helpers to water them with me each evening.
We plant tomatoes, strawberries, and a variety of herbs. My son has always loved watching them grow each year. He gets so excited to pick our little crop. This will be the first year my daughter can fully participate. I know her sweet chubby hands will be anxious to pluck the tomatoes from the vine.
Our backyard isn’t a large one but it’s an active one. It’s perfect for our family of four. Yet every time we sat outside I’d be staring at one large blank fence. Not for long. I knew exactly what I wanted. I had an image in my head that I knew I could execute with the help of my father in-law.
So two years ago we tackled this project. It look one afternoon, a saw, plywood, nails, rope, and paint.
The paint I chose is called Cosmic Green. After two years I have yet to repaint the shadow boxes. I think the color has held up really well! Here is the information for it should you want to use it too.
I can’t tell you how many photos over the past two years showcase these bright green shadow boxes in the background. So very many.
You can make them as big or small as you like. A nice staggered mix of sizes would look great. Because the fence running along our patio is large I wanted large shadow boxes. I decided to make them all the same size. Here are the dimensions I used but you can always experiment.
Use whatever pots you prefer in your shadow boxes. Originally we used a mix of clay pots and black plastic pots. I ended up nixing the plastic ones because I liked the look of the clay best against the green. My son painted each clay pot. The paint is faded but I can still see his little brush strokes and I love it.
I don’t believe this project warrants step-by-step instructions. It’s pretty self explanatory. But, hey, if you need them try this. Cut your wood. Nail your wood together. Paint. Drill two holes in your box (for the rope). Tie the rope. Mount the shadow box to your fence. Add flowers. The end and you’re welcome.
Now sit back and enjoy a glass of wine with your spectacular view.