I share projects that I'm working on and sneak peeks pretty regularly on my Instagram Stories, but I realized you all don't usually see little bits and pieces of what I'm working on until I'm sharing the finished product.  So today, I thought I'd share a few of our works in progress with you, too!

Last year our outdoor focus was on the patio, and since it's all finished up this year we're focusing on on our back yard landscaping.  We've done a few things here and there over the years, but that basically consisted of plopping a few knockout roses in a bed and calling it good.  The roses all got diseased last year, so we tore everything out and we're starting from scratch in the back yard.

We dug out an entirely new bed outside of our bedroom on one side of the patio,

and enlarged the bed that is on the other side behind the patio fireplace.  That's the side with the gate to the front and where we keep our trash dumpsters and firewood stack, so we're going to try to be strategic with our planting to hide those more unsightly things on that side a bit.  You can see that we've already stocked up on mulch, did you catch the 5 for $10 sale at Lowe's this week?

We've been working to kill the grass in the new beds and hope to bring in a load of good dirt to mix in this week so we can start planting, and I'm planning to use some of the brick from the old patio to line the edge of the bed.

I also need to get something planted in these pots this week.  Last year I had hibiscus in them, but I'm leaning towards planting some type of small evergreen tree in them so they'll have color year round.  I'll be checking out some options but if anyone has a suggestion for evergreens that do well in containers (in Oklahoma) I'm all ears!

We also replaced the bushes in our front flower beds last week.  I've had Indian Hawthorns in these beds for a few years but wasn't loving them there, and wanted to put in boxwoods to start a hedge.  These were a really nice size and I found them for only $15 each at Walmart.  I'll let them grow for a while and then start trimming and shaping them up.  We saved the bushes we took out and I'll use those in the new beds in the back yard.

The other project that I'm super excited about is our new front door.  We've been wanting to replace our current door for a while.

After starting a preliminary search for one, I realized that exterior doors are expensive!!  I totally understand the value of a good, solid door, but we don't really need a new door other than feeling like ours is getting dated, is pretty common for our area, and is not really our style.  We DO need new windows, which will also be a huge expense, so I thought I'd explore some options to save money on a front door.

I was completely ok with finding a used door that would be the right size for us, and was even getting excited about finding a plain, flat wood door and adding moulding to it myself (it's not hard!) in whatever pattern I desired.  So, we went to one of our local Habitat ReStores, and hit the jackpot on our first try!  I found this awesome solid wood panel door for $25!!!  One side has a pretty thick paint job that I'll strip or sand down, and there's a small crack or two to fill, but it's solid overall and I'm very happy with it.  It's about an inch taller than our current door so we'll just trim it a bit and hope that everything lines up right for installing it.  We propped it in place just to get an idea for how it would look-

I was not concerned about losing the glass in our door at all, in fact, I wanted a door with no glass.  With the sidelights and big dining room window right next to the entry, we have plenty of light coming in already.  Plus, with the oval window, most wreaths and door hangings always looked a little awkward.  And, now I can find a really cool brass door knocker to add to the front.

I've been ready to move away from black on the door as well, and here's some inspiration for where I'll be headed. Ann from On Sutton Place has so many similar things at her house that help me to see this color combo would work for me... similar brick, black planters and light fixtures... my shutters are black too and I think the blue will be a nice pop of color on the exterior.  Isn't her new Spring wreath pretty, too?

I also love this door which is a bit brighter blue, so I've got a few swatches to test out taped up on the door right now.  I'll probably paint the tan trim around our door white as well for a crisp look with more contrast.  (We're actually considering painting all of our trim white some day.)

Modern Masters is a company that sells specialty front door paint, that doesn't fade and dries quickly so you can paint a hanging door without removing it.  I found this free Front Door Paint app (for iPhone or Android) on their site to test out some of their colors.  I think the colors in the app are a bit off from how the colors appear on their website, but it still gives me a pretty good idea of what it would look like.  Imagine a brass handle and fun door knocker... I can't wait to get this project done!

Other than that, I've been cleaning out nooks and crannies in an effort to majorly declutter, and preparing for a huge garage sale!  This past weekend I hit the attic... does anyone else have an attic full of Lego boxes that your child won't allow you to throw out?  ;)  Hope to show you some progress on these projects soon!

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