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ORC Week 6: Garden Makeover Progress and Lockdown Fatigue

by - Wednesday, June 09, 2021

How can Week 6 of the 8-week One Room Challenge already be here? We're getting down to the finish and I have to admit, we're losing momentum.

If you're new to Rambling Renovators, welcome! My name is Jennifer. I design functional and beautiful spaces, I help brands create digital content strategies, and I've been writing this blog since 2007. I live with my husband and daughter in Toronto, Canada in a centre-plan, colonial style house that we've infused with the fresh traditional style we love. We DIY all our renovations and have a fondness for architectural details, built-ins, and classic decor. 

See what we've done so far on our One Room Challenge garden makeover project here.

cutting garden progress

Garden Progress


Let's start with where things are at. First off, the front garden is thriving! We escaped to our cottage for a few days and put our faith in the newly installed soaker hose system to keep our plants alive while we were gone. It performed just as we hoped.

Everything is looking lush and green (and I need to get in the garden to pull out the weeds that are thriving too). There is new growth on all of the plants. The hydrangeas are starting to grow blooms, the coneflowers are nice and tall, and the stonecrops are well established and sturdy. We also seeded the grass and it has started to grow in, creating a nice, clean edge to the garden.

garden progress

We've had the soaker hose on a daily cycle, running for 15 mins in the front garden and 10 mins in the back garden. This week, I'll be switching the timer over to a 2 day cycle and extend the times to 20mins and 15mins respectively. We'll water the plants less frequently but more deeply. 

I'm undecided if we will cover the soaker hose with mulch or not. Mulch helps keep the water from evaporating and prevents the hose from being damaged by the sun, but we have lots of trees on our property. Trying to rake this area in the fall when all the leaves have fallen will be very difficult if mulch is in place. But mulch does make the garden look more complete aesthetically so that is something to consider too.


cutting garden progress

The back garden is looking so good as well. My dahlia tubers have started to grow and the transplanted hydrangea is doing well.

My zinnia and poppy seedlings are flourishing. I'll have to thin the poppies (bottom of this next photo) soon so they won't be too cramped. For that matter, I'll have to thin the zinnias as well. I really thought I spaced those seeds out more but perhaps the watering has transported them. I'll also plant my last remaining little area in this cutting garden with more zinnias to get successive flowers later this summer.

cutting garden


So what's left to do? We have a few more tasks to complete, but to tell you the truth, we are quickly losing energy. 

DIYing in a Pandemic


My city of Toronto entered its THIRD lockdown in early April. We were under a stay-at-home order until June 2nd. That meant only leaving home for essentials like groceries and doctor appointments. It also meant that stores like Home Depot (non-essential stores) have and continue to be open ONLY for curbside pickup. 

Getting anything house-related done from buying screws to shopping for plumbing parts has been impossible. Now we're moving into a 3-stage reopening plan. The earliest stores will be open to in-store traffic is June 14th.

We still have some To Do's still on our list before this makeover can be revealed. They involve getting lumber, getting paint, getting a rug and accessories... and I have absolutely no desire to do that online and via curbside. 

I've decided not to stress about it so here's the list of projects we have yet to accomplish. I have no idea if we'll complete them before the 8 weeks is up on June 24th!

front porch preppy decor, front porch decor, front porch decor accessories


Front Porch Decor


I'd like to spruce up our front porch decor. First up is painting the front door. I envision a dark saturated green like Benjamin Moore Hunter Green, Essex Green, Lafayette Green, or something more grass green like Benjamin Moore Balsam

I've painted this front door a few times now and find that it works best with a midtone to deeper colour. However, if it's too dark, and because the door is a solid slab with no window, it can look like a black hole at night. Something dark (but not too dark) and in a high gloss finish should add the pizzazz I'm looking for.

Another task is to spray paint our existing outdoor bench white. The black bench has always sort of faded into the black shutters and red brick. Painting the bench white will make it more noticeable and brighter.

Lastly, I'll enhance the preppy appeal with accessories. A tropical rug, a traditional coir outdoor mat, and a diagonal stripe pillow I designed will tie in the green door colour and give us added curb appeal.

air conditioner cover

Air Conditioner Cover


One last project to complete is to build a DIY air conditioner cover. The air conditioner is a bit of an eyesore on the side of our house facing the street. I'd like to have a fence around it that looks similar to our white fence on either side of our property. Here's a few inspirational pics I've gathered.










Sean prefers to wait until the stores open before he gets the lumber. Let's hope we do move out of this lockdown once and for all and we can get this project done!

Now head over to the One Room Challenge blog to see how other guest participants are coming along with their projects.







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