Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Outdoors’ Category

Make Cork Garden Markers

The other day I was looking at my DIY board on Pinterest and realized I’ve pinned some really cool projects. I’d like to tackle one each week, but I’m not sure I have time to commit fully to that. Nevertheless, I present this week’s project: make cork garden markers.

Picture of an oregano garden marker

Possibly the easiest project ever.

Pics of what you need to make cork garden markers

You’ll need: Bamboo skewers, corks, and a sharpie.

Write "Grapes" on cork with sharpie

Write the name of your plant on the cork with the sharpie. I kind of wish I would’ve used more decorative lettering but maybe I’ll do that next season.

push cork into skewer

Push the cork into the pointed end of the skewer. I was surprised at how secure it was–I was thinking I’d have to glue it in place but no.

finished marker

Here’s your finished garden marker!

grapes garden marker

Push your finished marker into the soil in front of your plant and voila! You are done.

Here’s another one:

Chives garden marker

As simple as they are, they look so much better than the plastic markers that come in plants or the seed packets. It adds a rustic touch to the garden that I love. This is one project I’m glad I completed because let’s face it, it’s just too easy not to.

Building a Redwood Planter Raised Bed 8×3′

After we got rid of the hot tub we were left with an 8 foot square gravel patch bordered in the ground with 2×6 pressure treated lumber. The idea has always been to use the area for one or more raised beds, and so we immediately set to work. Here’s what we ended up with, a nice solid redwood planter:

Read more

Hot Tub Disconnection and Removal

After we finally decided to get rid of our hot tub the actual removal was pretty quick. We placed an ad on Craigslist (probably priced it a bit low), got some calls, and the first guy arranged pickup two days later, and now it’s gone.

I made it very clear in the ad that they would have to have experienced movers, as the tub weighs about a thousand pounds. As it turned out the guys who showed up were experienced hot tub movers, but it was almost too much for them. Had it just been a bunch of guys and a pickup, then that would have been a recipe for disaster.


First step was to drain the tub. You can just drain it as normal, by gravity, but the movers brought a pump, which made it all go a lot faster. While it pumped they removed the cover and loaded it on the truck. Read more

Hot Tub for Sale

I’ve been bitten by the gardening bug big time. I have my heart set on planting a fall garden but unless I do it in the front yard there’s just no space. I’ve seen plenty of front yard gardens and they are great looking, but I’d like to keep ours as is, at least for now. Unfortunately, we live in the city and outdoor space is at a premium. Something has to be sacrificed if I’m going to have that beautiful vegetable garden I’ve been dreaming of. Turns out, it’s the hot tub. Yes, there’s a hot tub for sale at our house.

Picture of hot tub

Sad to say goodbye

Curse Mick for taking a picture of it that makes me want to jump in and never get out.

Read more

Installing a Solaira Alpha Outdoor Electric Heater

We love eating outside at our big table in the back yard, but here in Venice it quite often gets a bit chilly in the evening, even during the summer. So we started to look into some kind of outdoor heating solution. Here’s what we ended up with:

Solaira Alpha H2 3000 watt outdoor heater, in our back yard.

Read more

Open House: Modern Cube

There’s something you should know about us: we can’t resist an open house. Call us nosy, but going to open houses is a good way to keep up with what’s happening in the local real estate market, plus, it’s just fun to look at other people’s houses. When the house across the street came up for sale and held its first open house, we hustled right on over.

Read more

Building a Farmhouse Table in the Parsons Style

Note: This Farmhouse Table post was originally posted on Mick’s blog in August 2011.

We just moved into a new house with a nice sized back yard, and our tiny little patio furniture was not going to cut it. I’d already been infected with the building bug that gets many people when they get their first real house, so I was more that happy to take on the task of building a table.

Since I had very little experience of woodworking (except for an O-Level, about 30 years ago), I started out making a few smaller pieces, a framed gate, some planters and then a large workbench for the garage. Along the way I acquired several tools (and built a small table for one of them), and eventually felt ready to build the table.

Designing a Farmhouse Table

I’m a big believer in function over form. I’m also tall, so I don’t like trestles getting in the way of my legs, so I decided (in collaboration with Holly), to make a table with legs at the corners. I also wanted it to be eight feet long, and very sturdy. This is how it ended up:

Read more