Remaking the Old Yard Swing

That worn piece of lawn furniture, sun, rain, wind – it has seen it all.  And then the day comes where it is moved from a place of prominence to the far side of the yard, under the wisteria, and then finally a shed to dry rot and eventually be thrown away.  Not this time, not today!

20130707_110124So Mom bought a yard swing several years ago and it has stood the test of time.  When we purchased a larger one last year, it made us think about the old one.  What to do with it now?  The green had faded and the cushions were starting to dry rot, so it had been banished to the shed for a ‘someday to deal with’ project.  Thankfully paint has come a long way and when we went to touch up some other pieces, we looked at the frame and went ‘why not?’


20130707_155339So we carefully cut off the cushions and took lots of pictures in case we wanted to redo them.  They were then set aside and we broke out the paint.   2014 “After the fact thought” Use a medium grit sandpaper lightly over the frame so the paint will stick better to the frame.  Otherwise it might scratch off easily.  After cleaning off the frame and letting it dry, we decided to use a heat resistant spray paint in a semi gloss black.  This worked really well for my bistro table and chairs last year, so we decided to make it all match.   We painted the frame and seat separately, it took two coats to get the right finish.  After it was dry to the touch we hung the seat back on the frame and touched up any places we missed and then set it in the barn to dry.  We then sprayed it with a clear finishing spray to make it more durable.  So pleased on how it looks!  Almost like new!


So in the weeks after we painted the frame, we pondered what kind of cushions to make.  We decided early on that we wouldn’t put the cushions back like they were, the frame would have to be further disassembled and we liked how the cushions were removable on Mom’s new swing.  So ‘to make’ or ‘to buy’ cushions.  I wish I could say that we made cushions, I know you want me to say we made them – but alas no.  We decided if we found some quality cushions we liked, it would be much cheaper than making new ones.  It also helped that we didn’t see any outdoor fabric that really wowed us at a price we were willing to work with.  This is a secondary swing after all.

So during a shopping trip to Paducah (where we made our executive decision about the make vs. buy), we stopped by our local Menards on the way home.  Now I’m not a big Menards fan (I’m sorry Marion), but we did find something we could agree on!  It was part of their replacement chair cushion line and it had a striped pattern that contained black (to match the frame), tan (to match the deck) and green – so it was pretty perfect!  The one down side is that they didn’t have a cushion for our swing, so we had to buy two chair sets and some accent cushions (to tie into the bistro set and the other swing).

So, since we aren’t sewing the cushions to the frame, what to use for strapping?  Alas, long ago are the days of buying any color chair webbing from your local hardware store.  Even online we had troubling finding something that wouldn’t clash with the frame or cushions.  The closest we came is a black strapping that you had to boil to make it stretch for a snug fit on the frame.  Doable…but if we could find something else…

What about wood?  What about wood indeed!  Once we settled on the fluffy Menards cushions, having wood for the frame didn’t seem like a bad choice.  Real or fake wood, the eternal question.  After chatting with a guy from Menards (with a huge Napoleon complex – yes fella, us ladies can use tools), we opted for real wood because of the widths we needed.

20130903_192344We measured the frame and decided an 8ft piece of 1×12 and 1×6 would give us the coverage and support we needed and the flexibility of working around the frame.  We are an equal opportunity home improvement store buyer, so we got the wood at Lowes (it also helps that they cut the wood so it fit in the car).  White pine with no knots was the wood of choice for this and it was really easy to sand down the corners and edges (go Mom go!).  Afterwards we wiped them down with mineral oil to pick up the dust.  Let dry.

20130904_163012Another perk of using wood is that it could also be stained to match the deck! Off to ACE to buy some rum raisin stain.  We then set up work space in the barn on a dry day and put two coats on all the boards.  This took a couple days to ensure proper drying.

To mount the board to the frame, we used these connectors that are normally used to attach wiring or tubing to walls.  20130914_175553These measure 7/8 and are made of plastic.  We used two brackets on each end of the board (about 3.5 in from the edge) and two brackets in the middle for support.


Here is the finished swing!  So pleased on how it turned out and it will look great next spring.20131110_144345 20131110_144516 20131110_144354


Herb Bed Redo: Picture Update

My first Pinterest inspired project!

Benton-20120517-00503So in 2012 we put in an herb bed on the south end of the garage (see pic at right).  We thought this would be a good location since it would be close to the house – and for the most part we were right.  However, we underestimated how big the plants would get (regardless of the hot summer) and before you knew it they were growing into each other.  In the fall we experimented with various methods of drying herbs and packaged more then a year’s worth of seasonings in the freezer.  It was a great experiment and when some of the herbs lived through the winter, we were forced to rethink the herb bed since we wanted to try some new kinds like tarragon, parsley and cilantro (technically we grew this in 2012, but it didn’t do very well).

We agreed that we didn’t need two types of basil, so we just got some starts of traditional basil this year from a friend and left it at that.

20130526_091410In the meantime, during one of my late-night Pinterest sessions (cause we’ve all been there from time to time) I came across this use of stepping stones and herbs.  ‘oh what a fun idea’ I thought and went to bed and …promptly forgot the whole thing.  A couple weeks later, Mom and I were discussing the flower bed and the square area that had the porch swing last year and large container plants on stepping stones.

20130704_190247With the swing on the deck and not as many container plants to put out…we had stepping stones with no use.  LIGHTBULB MOMENT!

We placed the stones on a diagonal to the edges of the mulch bed and they fit perfectly!  What luck!  This left us with 6 large squares, 4 triangle areas and one large space for planting. The picture at right is early July.

The large area in 2012 contained oregano, thyme and coxcomb flowers.  We  moved the thyme into one of the triangle spaces and left the oregano in the large space to be joined with dill and cooler/longer growing crops such as leeks and garlic in  the late summer/fall.  The coxcomb were left to grow and transplanted later.

20130728_195436So the large squares hold: Sage, cilantro, basil, tarragon and flat leaf parsley.

Small triangle spaces on the ends hold: Thyme (traditional and German), curly leaf parsley and rosemary.  Picture at right is from early August.  You can see the leeks coming up in the far section of the bed and the dill is going strong.  Have to keep an eye out for caterpillars though! The garlic we planted didn’t make it, will need to plant more established plants next year.

20130502_172050But what of the old bed you ask? It still has some herbs, such  as lavender, another oregano plant, bunching onions, lemon balm and chives.  These all survived from last year and we decided not to move them this year.  Along the back we planted some spare gladiola bulbs to add some height and color later on in the summer.

Next year this bed, based on what plants winter over, will not have the oregano and lemon balm.  They will be added to the rest of the herb bed.