Bedecking the Deck

The last carpentry detail on the deck is a banding board around the edge.

A scarf joint is a bit more elegant than a butt joint.

The carpenter used a scarf joint to extend the length.

A variety of red plants.

Sug and I went on a little excursion to find bedding plants, especially ones with red flowers.

Hoping the red flowers will fill in nicely.

Sug’s favorite color is red and we’re trying to attract hummingbirds to the Cottage.

The red on the deck including the feeders, bistro set, and flowers are attracting hummingbirds.

I hung up 2 hummingbird feeders. (The first hummingbird flew by today right near the feeders.)

Plenty of room for a small metal table and 2 chairs.

Sug brought out her red bistro set.

The deck is ready for action.

And a lounge chair.

Glade Cottage

And a planter that I made here.

The shade garden near the deck is planted with both red-flowered and red-leafed plants.

We’ll be having our morning coffee at the bistro set as soon as it stops raining — 3 days and counting.

Where do you have your morning cuppa?


Hummingbird Nectar

After checking out our local pet stores and discount stores for hummingbird feeders, I decided to just order two from Amazon.

Hanging planters became raggedy a bit too soon for my liking.

The plan is to hang them on either side of the door of the Cottage where last year we hung plants.

2 inexpensive hummingbird feeders from First Nature

Since we’re having hummingbird feeders we will also need nectar to fill them.

Use refined granulated sugar for hummingbird nectar.

After much research the recipe is easy: 4 to 1, water to sugar. Translated into easy terms that’s 4 cups of water to one cup of sugar which exactly fills our two 16-ounce feeders. Don’t use honey, brown sugar, unrefined sugar or sugar substitutes, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.

Sugar water

Boil the water until the sugar is totally dissolved.  Boiling kills germs that might cause premature spoiling.  Do NOT add red coloring because it is not necessary and might cause harm.

We have hung one on each side of the door to the Cottage.

Then fill the feeder and wait for the birds.

We’re having 7 days of rain.  How ’bout your weather?

Attracting Hummingbirds

Ever since Sug had a deck added to the Cottage I thought it would be a wonderful vantage from which to watch hummingbirds.

A variety of red plants.

First we have to attract them.  I have seen hummingbirds in the yard in past years but I was not focused on keeping them there.

This canna will grow to about 4 feet tall with bright red flowers.

I have read that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red so we bought a variety of both red-leafed and red-flowered plants to attract them.

Red salvia splendens can thrive in part or full shade.

Hummingbirds especially enjoy flowers with a trumpet-like shape where they can insert their long beaks.

I’m hoping these bronze-leaf celosia will also have attractive red flowers.
This might be another variety of celosia.

We’ll plant them at the corners of the new deck.

Coleus is grown for the color of its leaves, not its spiky flowers.

I have no red in the yard so the Cottage will have the corner on hummingbirds.

Do you have hummingbird experience?

Building the Deck

The Cottage deck was begun like this.

The ground in front of the Cottage is bare with a slight swale running left to right for drainage.

The carpenter is the same one who built the gabled roof over the door.

The framing was built first.

He started by framing the area with pressure treated 2 by 4s and 4 by 4s.

The deck is supported by short 2 by 4 legs on top of buried cement blocks.

Then he dug holes under various corners and buried concrete blocks as a base for the ground level deck.

The decking boards run perpendicular to the Cottage.

After the deck was framed it was topped with 5/4 decking boards set very close together and screwed in place in the traditional way.

The edge of the deck still needs to be finished.

The deck runs the width of the Cottage — about 20 feet — and is 8 feet deep. The boards will ultimately be trimmed evenly and edged with a banding board.

Before — The Cottage in 2012
The Cottage has been transformed.

In about 60 days Sug plans to seal the deck.  The pressure-treated lumber needs to dry out before applying a finishing treatment.

The Cottage bistro set.!

In the mean time I’m sure she’ll pull out her red bistro set so she can enjoy her morning coffee under the dogwood tree.

Where do you have your morning beverage?

Decking the Cottage

Yesterday Sug’s carpenter came to measure up the area in front of the Cottage for a deck.

The Cottage is ready for its next improvement.

Over the weekend Sug had removed all the plants from in front of the Cottage.  Some were potted for later use and some were transplanted into spots that needed a little greenery.

The ground in front of the Cottage is bare with a slight swale running left to right for drainage.

The carpenter removed all the brick and stone that we had been using as an entranceway.

Framing lumber for a ground level deck.

He also delivered the pressure-treated framing lumber.

The diagonal brace is temporarily holding the framing square.

The first step was to lay out a square frame across the front of the Cottage by 8 feet depth.

N.B. Before starting the decking the carpenter put a piece of white Azek trim across the bottom of the Cottage to neaten it up.

The top boards are temporary to allow access to the Cottage while the deck is being built.

The deck will ultimately stop on the right at the hose bib.

The deck will span most of the front of the Cottage stopping just before the dogwood tree on the right.

Do you have an outdoor living space?

Cleaning up Cottage Landscaping for a Purpose

Sug spent the weekend taking out all the plants in front of the Cottage.

Cottage in Winter before Sug moved in.
Everything comes back in spring.

Although the foundation planting in front of the Cottage is fairly bare in winter, hostas, liatrus, liriope, and lily of the valley along with daffodils come up in spring.

The area in front of the Cottage remains neat and green.
Most of the plants had been removed.

Sug took the time to remove all the plants.  Some were potted for later use and some were transplanted into spots that needed a littler greenery.

The Cottage is ready for its next improvement.

Finally every plant directly in front of the Cottage was gone.

This mock-up give the idea of what we’re going for.

Sug’s carpenter is coming tomorrow to start installing a deck.

Do you like lounging outdoors or indoors?

Getting the Weeds Before They Get Us

Sug has been working on the heavily weedy area just below the Cottage.

The yard behind the Cottage could become a shade garden for strolling and sitting.

Sug has been clearing the vines under the tree just below the Cottage.

This stump is on its way out.

We had a beautiful weekend and Sug finished up the bulk of the work.

The dark dirt area is mostly shaded in summer so shade-loving plants are in order.

We need to make some progress on this area before the honeysuckle and poison ivy start to grow back.

Some variegated hosta, impatiens, and painted ferns might be a nice start.

Before and during. Can’t wait to show you the “after”. Can’t wait to see it myself.

Are you planting grass this spring?