My ritual every spring had always been to wash down the siding, throw on a fresh coat of pale yellow paint and plant some flowers. I had always been so focused on the interior of my home that I never really looked at the exterior of it through the "eyes of the camera". When I eventually did, in preparation to enter a contest, I was jolted into action by what I saw with "eyes wide open"! With a budget of no more than $500 I was able to accomplish more than I ever thought possible.
The Home Improvement Contest I Didn't Enter but Won
I felt I had a chance of winning the contest for America's Most Desperate Landscape. When a slow internet connection prevented me from entering I took on the challenge myself.
Two years ago I happened to be watching the DIY Network and learned that they were sponsoring a contest for America’s Most Desperate Landscape. The grand prize was a $25,000 makeover. The rules seemed simple enough but entries were due within days. I immediately grabbed my camera and headed outside. As I trotted around the yard I realized it was horrid! The peeling paint at our entry way almost sent me over the edge of sanity! I quickly came inside and viewed my video. I started to ramble and make various comments about how appalled and disgusted I was. I summarized by loudly announcing I was too embarrassed to even consider posting it online. What if people recognized it? From the other room my husband kept reassuring me that I was over exaggerating. I silenced him rather quickly by showing him the video. His reaction was sudden, “You're not really going to post that online are you?” He then proceeded to tell me the video made it look far worse then it really did. I informed him that the camera doesn’t lie.
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The remote possibility of winning the grand prize was enough to lure me into taking the chance. I had less then 48 hours to write a convincing essay as to why I needed to win and post my video. I wasn’t wasting any time. Unfortunately, living in a rural area with dial-up internet worked against me. I think I tried close to a hundred times to post my video with no success. I resigned myself to the fact that I could not realistically meet the entry deadline. I also resigned myself to the fact that I would have to undertake this makeover on my own, with very limited funds. This did not bother me as much as the realization that I would have to plan in advance and because this project would have to be done during daylight hours. Everyone around me would know what I was doing. They might watch, try to give advice or worse yet, help! All being conditions I was unaccustomed to working under.
My first dilemma was I did not know what to do or where to begin. I spent many sleepless nights, tossing and turning in my bed, thinking about it. I did not want to do anything beyond my physical or financial capabilities.
I spent an hour standing outside, peering at the entryway of my house and realized that was the major area of my dismay. Just when contemplating what to do was becoming completely overwhelming, my mind started to formulate some ideas. I quickly jotted them down on paper. From a few ideas flowed many. I began to get excited to start.
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Of course the weather turned for the worse and like a child waiting for Santa, I waited with mounting anticipation for almost 3 full weeks. At the first hint of warmer temperatures and sunny skies, I purchased lumber and paint. I took a few pictures and I believe that is the best way to outline what I did. It wasn’t a $25,000 make-over but when it was completed, it felt like one to me!
The picture above left was taken prior to the remainer of the porch decking boards being painted. The last task to complete after the steps were extended.
The grass eventually grew where there was gravel and between the flat stones on the walkway. Last summer I added some rose bushes and after looking at these pictures... I've decided the hedges in the front are going to be transplanted elsewhere!