Last weekend, after returning home from New York, I was really adamant to finish something. I’ve got a list of DIYs coming out of my ears, but really wanted to get one done, on the books and out-of-the-way. Enter… our outdoor space. When viewing our place for the first time, I was THRILLED when I stepped outside and my question of “oh, so this is a shared space?” was answered with “no, this would be all yours”. Literally, you guys. I was shaking with excitement. I couldn’t get Jake on the phone fast enough. I am obsessed with gardening (thanks to my mom for that gene) and I take no shame in enlisting friends to care for my little green kids as much as they do for Lily whenever I’m away. Having a space that was so much bigger than ever before to create my own little garden by the beach?! YES please. Thankfully, after borderline stalking our now landlord, we got the apartment and I couldn’t wait to go to town. We have a patio directly off of our bedroom as well as yard (glorified patio – not pictured) up some steps and behind our duplex. Sold. However, said patio was hideous when we moved in. HID.E.OUS. Enter exhibit A:
I told you. Steps that needed to be stained, some RANDOM paint job going on there with a mixture of white and beige… But she had potential! It was SPACE. Real, live outdoor space of our very own that could be transformed into whatever we’d like. The first thing on the list was to figure out what in the heck to do with the cinderblock walls. Paint them? Ideally, I wanted it to be a living wall to wake up next to (all Cameron Diaz like in The Holiday with electronic blinds that open with the sun shining in), but that seemed like a pretty lofty goal for a rental. So, we needed to think of something else. While running into Ikea one day for heavens knows what, I stumbled across the Applaro Outdoor Panel and knew I’d found a solution. I figured out how many we’d need, bought them and since we got carried away with unpacking, traveling for work and life in general, there they sat until last weekend. And then, finally came my little garden.
If you’re in a situation like us, here is what you need to create your OWN apartment garden with roughly $150.
Ikea Applaro Outdoor Panel – Pot hooks included (3) $39
Ikea Socker pots (8) $0.79
Ikea white pots (2) $10.99 (no longer available online, but next size up here)
Masonry anchors + Bit $7
I already had most of the plants and the lanterns, as well as a drill and a level to make this all come to life, but factor in another $100 if you’re starting fresh.
Step 1: Hardware – I knew I was going to need a masonry bit as well as concrete anchors so I was able to find a package that included both the anchors and the right size bit to drill pilot holes for the anchors. I bought some longer anchors too just in case the 1.25″ anchors were too short so that I wouldn’t have to run back out to the hardware store.
Step 2: Place wall panels where you want them and make sure they’re level. Since I was doing this by myself and since the panels were going to be resting on uneven brick pavers, this was honestly the hardest part.
Step 3: Drill your pilot holes and screw in anchors to attach your panel. This is pretty self-explanatory, but just make sure that you stop every once in a while to give your drill a rest. I have a pretty inexpensive drill and while it’s amazing for the price, drilling through concrete/cinderblock is entirely different from wood or anything else I’ve ever done in the past. And for the love of god, be CAREFUL when removing your bit. It was SO hot from the friction and of course I wasn’t wearing gloves (idiot) and burned my fingers. I’m fine, but that was no fun.
Repeat until all panels are attached! YAY! Minus all of the crap to the left, the space is already starting to look so much better! Now, time for the pots. I decided to use the Socker pots from Ikea because a) they’re inexpensive b) they’re cute and c) they’re the perfect size for herbs and that is what was going in them. However, they don’t have holes in the bottom for drainage or for hanging them on the hooks so you have to drill those manually. Just make sure you use a bit suitable for metal.
Step 4: Put your little plants in the pots and hang on your wall! You’re almost done!
Step 5: Dress up the weird empty bottom area without rungs with plants, lanterns, candles, pumpkins if it’s October… get creative! Or, if you have the space, Ikea sells a storage bench that can attach to the wall panels.
Tadaaaa! I still need to re-pot the larger rosemary plant as well as the olive tree AND re-stain those darn steps, but I think she’s looking pretty cute for just a few hours of work.
And for good time’s sake… before and after!