Sunday, December 4, 2011

When staining something is a good thing

Back in September (yes, it has taken me this long to post this project- for shame), we visited our good friends, the Trouts:

Tim, Chanelle, Abby, & Chris
We had a fabulous visit taking in an Iowa Cubs game, Des Moines Farmer's Market, and the Body Worlds Exhibit. All were fascinating events. Abby and I attended grad school together and Chris was later able to get a job at Tim's place of employment. We shared many a Trout-White date during the two years they lived in Oxford. We were also able to catch up with Abby's family including Abby's mom, dad, aunt, and cousins in addition to Chris' close friend, Matt. Monkey and Sullivan were sad to miss out on a great trip to see their buddy, Shelby:

She's a bit younger here, but this shows her spunky, take-no-crap attitude!

Chris and Abby have lived in their house almost a year now. Like us, they have been doing home improvement projects to update the look. The most recent adventure took us to the back yard:

While in Iowa, Tim and I helped to stain their fence. Chris did a lot of the hard work already, cleaning the fence with a pressure washer. This was a big project on their to do list, so they were happy to have an extra set of hands.

You can see that the stain makes a HUGE difference! The right side of this photo looks brand new while the left gives it a worn look. This project took more stain than we anticipated because the wood soaked it up. Our basic tools included old clothes (this gets messy when things splatter), paint thinner (to clean up the splatter on the concrete), large paintbushes, and a few gallons of stain.

There was a large bush adjacent to the fence. Chris and Tim were initially puzzled by this obstacle until Tim had a great suggestion: place a tarp between the fence and bush, then gently pull it back to leave a small space to paint. It was still tight, but this maintained the healthy shrub and also allowed the fence to be painted.

The most difficult part was the landing and steps. You can see me in the above photo reaching across the surface for coat number two. Abby did all of the detail work painting the lattice at the bottom. Underneat the stairs was particularly tricky, so Chris got down and dirty to get that part (not pictured).  We also stained the small retaining wall around the concrete and mulch. Since it was late in the summer, they didn't plant anything here. Plans for next year include several hostas in the beds.

The Trouts also have a wood bench that sits atop the landing. The bench got the staining treatment also. Two coats on the entire project seemed to do it quite well. Abby, Chris, and Tim are hard at work while I take photos:

 Check out the before and after:



Wow! What a huge difference an afternoon makes! This is a great project that anyone can do. It totally transforms the look of the yard with some time, paintbrushes, and stain. Thank you Trouts for a great Iowa visit!


  1. That looks great! I am impressed!

  2. What a huge difference! I like that they put you to work when you visited, haha! :)