A ho-hum patio outside this Memphis homeowner’s sunroom window became a little oasis after she popped the lids on a few gallons of exterior paint and applied some DIY know-how.
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A pro's $5,000 estimate to paint all the vinyl siding on Emily Rone's ranch-style home persuaded her to do it herself for a fraction of the cost. What she discovered she needed most: patience. "Finding windows of time between rain and work and while it was still daylight was tough," she says. But her diligence paid off.

patio with black patio furniture and umbrella
Credit: Emily Rone

Emily's siding wasn't in need of repair, so her prep—spraying it with a hose—didn't take long. She primed and painted her entire house a few hours at a time over the course of a month.

She recommends starting your color search with a walk around your neighborhood. Don't be afraid to knock on doors to ask for the names of paint colors you like. Next, sample three to five paint colors by applying them to small sections of siding on all sides of your house. See how they look in different light.

To save time, skip painting window and door trim if it's in good shape and works with the siding color. Instead of taping off the trim, hold a large putty knife against it as you paint to keep the brush from touching it. Painting in direct sunlight can make the paint dry too quickly, so aim for dawn and dusk or work in the shade.

patio with outdoor dining area
Credit: Emily Rone

Besides freshening the siding, Emily, who shares home improvement ideas on her blog, Emily Rone Home, revived the concrete patio with porch and floor paint. The planter was a weekend project. And now when she enjoys her new dining spot, she uses a tablecloth that is, fittingly, a painters drop cloth.

Half the single-story house is covered in brick, which Emily left unpainted, so paint and supplies cost only about $130. The planter rope, pots, and plants: 50 bucks. "Do your research and ask questions; read and compare tutorials," Emily says. "And don't be afraid to think outside the box to make a project fit your space."

outdoor hanging wooden plant display
Credit: Emily Rone

A planter suspended from hooks serves as wall art and can be filled with live plants or faux ones, like this assortment from IKEA. Below, Emily breaks down the steps to make your own hanging planter.

Step 1: Break Up Pallets

For the 48-inch-long planter boards, Emily used wood from free discarded pallets. She took apart the pallets with a pry bar and a hammer, taking care not to split the wood by prying too hard."It's not easy and is physically exhausting," she says, "but I'd say the DIY is worth it."

Step 2: Plan Holes

For rope holes, mark each corner of the boards 1 inch from the side and end. For pots, trace circles onto each board to fit your pots. Emily made four 3½-inch-diameter circles on each board for 4-inch-diameter terra-cotta pots.

Step 3: Cut Holes

Drill rope holes using a drill bit the same diameter as the rope. (Emily used ½-inch rope.) Cut the holes for the pots with a jigsaw. Sand the boards, "just enough to take away the risk of splinters," Emily says.

Step 4: Hang DIY Planter

Mount two steel ceiling hooks into an overhang, about 46 inches apart. Loop a length of rope over each hook, then thread through holes in boards, making an overhand knot in the rope under each board as you go. If necessary to get the desired length, tie lengths of rope together. Adjust the position of the knots to level the shelves. Insert pots in holes.

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