Category Archives: Outdoor Projects

Vertical Garden Makeover + DIY Herb Markers with I SPY DIY

By: Minwax

Spot style you love, and do-it-yourself. That’s the mantra of blogger Jenni Radosevich of I SPY DIY. Once again, she’s partnered with Minwax® on a project sure to delight gardeners and DIY enthusiasts alike. Follow along as she takes you through the steps to makeover this lovely, vertical herb garden and create fun, stylish herb markers to keep track of them all.

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First up, thank you SO MUCH for all the love on my backyard makeover, we have been enjoying it every single day this Summer! I received a bunch of questions on the herb garden hanging on the wall,  which has been one of favorite parts of the outdoor space. It’s been so fun to walk out my back door and grab the greens I need for guacamole or pasta sauce.

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This vertical garden started off cedar, which did not match the grey deck and white washed fence, so I used Mixwax® Water Based Wood Stain and had the lovely people at the paint counters at Lowe’s tint it “Natural Linen.” It’s the perfect muted peach/pink that went perfectly with the color palette. Plus, the garden is pretty big, so the lighter color kept it from looking too overwhelming on the fence.

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Next up, creating makers for the herbs: Instead of using their names, my family and I decided to have a little fun and brainstorm what we use each for and mark them that way, Spicy! = Jalapeños!

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This whole backyard project has been so wonderful because my Sister and her husband moved in for the Summer and have helped me every step of the way. Now we get to sit back and enjoy it every day. The herb garden has been extra special, because my little Sister is a fantastic cook, and she had been teaching me her ways so I will keep up cooking after they move to Europe. It’s been so fun brainstorming recipes to use our fresh herbs in meals…and cocktails!  #sisterbondingFTW

All the steps and supplies for the Herb garden and markers after the break!

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Start with this Unfinished Red Cedar Vertical Garden (Buy it here!) and apply Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

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Stain with two coats of Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in Natural Linen. Then finish with Minwax® Water Based Helmsman® Spar Urethane to protect the wood from the elements and make sure that your vertical garden stays beautiful!

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After it dried, I secure the backboards by drilling deck screws through the back into the frame, then I hung the garden by screwing the backboards into one of the supports on the fence. Make sure you are screwing into something that can support the weight of all the dirt.

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Now plant the herbs! I poured potting soil into the open top, and then dug out space on each level for the herbs. Then watered once everything was planted.

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To make the markers, I bought inexpensive 8″ cedar shims and dipped them into Minwax® Water-Based Wood Stain  in “Woodrose” and “Driftwood” (Prettiest colors ever!) which are made from the White Tint Base.

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I wiped off any excess stain with a paper towel, and once they were dry I added letter stickers. Add the herb name or what you use each for!

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Add your markers to the herb garden!

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Thanks to my amazing sponsor, Minwax®, for partnering with me on this project!

From now through September 30th, take advantage of the Minwax® Fall Home Celebration rebate and save up to $15 on select Minwax® products that make and keep your floors beautiful. These specially formulated products enhance the natural beauty of your floors and can help protect them so they look great for years to come.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

For more of Jenni’s DIY projects. Check out her blog I SPY DIY and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

A Potting Shed Project for Leigh Ann

W-BeforeAfter several years of sharing space in our garage, Leigh Ann and I decided to build her an 8’ x 12’ potting shed in our back yard. I, of course, wanted to add some “extras,” starting with these two matching stained glass windows we found in a salvage shop.

 

Clamping

Since the exterior siding will be cedar to match our house, I first made two simple frames from rough-sawn cedar boards, notching the inside of the window frames to hold the stained glass.

 

Teak OilThe rough-sawn side will be exposed to the sun and rain, so I protected it with two coats of clear Minwax® Helmsman® Teak Oil, which penetrates deep into the pores and brings out the rich, natural color of the wood.

 

StainThe inside of the cedar was smooth-sawn, so I gave it an additional sanding before staining it with Minwax® Water Based Wood Stain in Leigh Ann’s choice of “Deep Ocean.”

 

Poly CSince it will be on the inside of the potting shed, I sealed the stain with two coats of clear Minwax® Polycrylic® Protective Finish using a synthetic bristle brush.

 

HeroEven though I still have some trim work to do, I naturally wanted to show Leigh Ann how the salvaged windows would look from the inside of her new potting shed.

Until next time,

If you wait until you have enough time, it will never get done.

Bruce

PS – Here’s what her potting shed looks like before the siding, door and shingles.

Shed Windows

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Made with Love: Rejuvenating My Kids’ Wood Wagon with My Fix It Up Life

Guest Bloggers Mark and Theresa of MyFixItUpLife are back with a fun project sure to pull on your heart strings. Follow along as the couples embrace the spirit of “Find. Finish. Love.” to revive an old wood wagon as a heart-felt gift for their kids. 

This wagon may not be the greatest woodworking project you’ll ever behold, but it’s made with love for my kids. Thing is, we never used it.MyFixitUpLife_Wagon_Made-With-LOve_Minwax1630-1-800x600

As with many intentions in life, we got busy. And it got stuffed in a forgotten corner; piled on with more forgotten stuff. Forgotten.

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But this wagon has a story. It’s dear to us. It’s wrapped up in how Theresa and I met and our first project together. Time to take life by the handle again and to start making new memories.

The wagon is made with wood that carpenters use to build shelter—spruce and fir mostly. You can get it anywhere and it’s usually a little, let’s say, lived in. It has all the dings and scrapes you’d expect a workmanlike hunk of wood to have.

What I enjoy about working with these kinds of woods is that their beauty is brought out by what you put into working and shaping and loving them.

And, this wagon looks slightly like a monster truck because I made it originally for Jack’s older sister when I lived closer to the beach. Its first lot in life was to be a beach wagon.

But we got busy.

And life happened.

Time to make some changes. Hello past, here comes tomorrow.

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Made with love, to us, sometimes means going back to the beginning. The spruce boards I made the original out of needed some serious sanding. Not a ton of fun, but we used three grits of paper (60, 100, 150) t0 bring the spruce boards back to vibrance. Also, sanding opens the grain of the wood, ideal for stain penetration.

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Before applying our coatings, we took extra care to get the dust off the wood. Compressed air is great for this. If you don’t have a compressor, using an old paint brush is great too. Follow up with some spray detergent and a damp rag (like you’d clean your kitchen counter).

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The neglected spruce deck boards on the wagon gulped in the Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, which we like to use as a base coat so the stain soaks in as evenly as possible.

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Since the wagon’s rails were coming apart, I re-made them from a Douglas fir 4×4, carpenter-grade. It has the tightest, straightest grain of the construction wood available at the home center.

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I love this gray, Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Classic Gray. When staining individual parts like this it pays to have a plan, because you have to stain all six sides at once. For these parts, we stained the front, the edges, then stood them up on the thin side and covered the remaining surfaces. It’s not perfect, but it works. Always check for streaks and runs (inevitable because: Gravity). Just strike them off with the brush.

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Since gravity  is always on, I use it to my advantage. Before using a stain—and this may not be in the Minwax® rule book—I tip cans upside for a few minutes before using them. To my mind, this lets the stain move uniformly through the can without me stirring it with a stick for longer than necessary. I still stir it with a stick. No shaking.

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Small parts can be frustrating to sand. When possible I use an inexpensive—and versatile; you can use a stationary sander for all kinds of stuff—bench-top sander.

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Applying this dark stain (it’s Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Ebony”) was like applying a liquid mirror. And while we could have gone with the more sort of obvious colors of childhood here, we wanted a look that was a little more furniture than toy.

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Using this stain required me to slow down and go to a quiet place. There’s a balance between how quickly you can apply it and how quickly the wood drinks it in off the brush’s ferrules (bristles). There’s something just a little perfect about the balance.

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The last coat is one of my favorite things for outdoor protection. Even though this wagon will spend most of its life indoors, it’ll see beach sand or rain or who knows what from time to time, so I locked in the color and locked out the weather with Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane.

Bring it Mother Nature.

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It pays to have a plan. Since I wanted to brush the urethane on the sides, I needed a place for them to dry where they’d barely contact anything so I made a little hanger. Is this perfect? No. But neither is life.

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Love is said to be perfect though. And that—we hope—is what both kids feel when they see, use and roll around with this project from my heart.

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From now through September 30th, take advantage of our Fall Home Celebration rebate and save up to $15 on select Minwax® products that make and keep your floors beautiful. These specially formulated products enhance the natural beauty of your floors and can help protect them so they look great for years to come.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

MyFixitUpLife shares design inspiration, DIY tips, and behind-the-scenes interviews MyFixitUpLife’s husband-and-wife duo, Mark & Theresa, design, renovate, and share how-to tips to make your projects easier and more fun.

A Hanging Herb Garden

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My wife Leigh Ann loves to cook, and to use fresh herbs when she does. Unfortunately, her garden is several yards away from our house, so I thought I would devise a way we could have pots of herbs growing right outside our kitchen door. I started with three, thin six-inch wide oak boards through which I cut holes for nine clay pots. Then I drilled holes for two four-foot long support dowels.

Helmsman

Since my hanging herb garden will be subject to sunlight and rain, I protected the wood with two coats of Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane.

Assembly

Once dry, I slid my 3/4-inch dowels through the holes in each shelf.

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Then I measured, marked and drilled 3/8″ holes for the two-inch dowels on which the shelves would rest.

Hooks

An inexpensive plant hanging kit provided me with a way to mount my miniature herb garden on the side of our house.

HeroThen came the really fun part: adding pots of various herbs to my three shelves — now right outside our kitchen window.

Be sure to check out Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!

Bruce