A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Planning the First Outdoor Projects

We received the April issue of This Old House recently. It was a little depressing to read about all the outdoor projects and ideas when we still had a foot of snow on the ground, even with a couple of warmish days of snow melt (which was promptly followed by a snowstorm that dropped another 4 or so inches).

During the past week the temperature has occasionally risen to the 50s (followed by a drop below freezing) and we can finally see large parts of yard! Unfortunately parts of it are NOT pretty, especially the front yard. After working on restoring it late last fall, I can see we still have a lot of work to do there. That’s not going to happen until the ground dries out a bit.

But I was excited to see their “How-To” on building an enclosure for a rain barrel. Along with repairing the gutters and adding bigger/additional downspouts this year, I wanted to place at least one of our rain barrels on the side of the house to make it easy to water the plants. The problem there is that they’re the generic black rain barrels that we purchased at a discount through the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, so they’re pretty ugly (note: our neighbor purchased the terra cotta color, and it’s not any prettier IMO!).

I thought about painting them (sky/clouds? bricks to blend with the side of the house?) but I wasn’t really keen on it—seems like too much work. Their enclosure looks like the perfect solution that will complement the wood of our pergola. Although they make their own rain barrel for the enclosure too, we can easily adapt that to our existing one.

Sigh, two years ago it was in the 80s for what seemed like weeks in March! It was a big factor in getting most of our hardscaping done that year. But considering we did a lot of outdoor projects last year as well, I’m okay with doing small outdoor projects here and there and doing other things around the house. This little rain barrel enclosure looks like the perfect small project!

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