A Few Porch Updates & A Garden Seat Makeover

Welcome to the 493rd Metamorphosis Monday!

Did you go out of town for the July 4th week? This past week always seems like a big week for travel. This weekend has been a productive one for me as I’ve worked on a few things I’ve been putting off for a while. One chore I had been procrastinating on was giving the wicker seating group a good cleaning. I’ve had the two chairs and the settee (all made of outdoor wicker) cleaned in past when I was having the porch pressured washed, but the swing had never been cleaned since I thought it would involve disconnecting it from the chains so it could be carried out onto one of the decks.


I knew it was dirty but I didn’t realize just how dirty until I took a closer look. I rarely sit on the swing, I normally sit in the chair nearest the door that goes into the living room, so I was surprised when I looked closer.

How to Clean Outdoor Wicker



Cleaning Oudoor Wicker Porch Furniture


I thought I took photos of the system I came up with for cleaning the swing, but I guess I didn’t since I couldn’t find them when I sat down to write this post. It really wasn’t that complicated. I didn’t want to take the time/effort to remove the swing from the chains which would have involved unscrewing bolts that haven’t been touched in 10 years.

So to clean the swing, I spread a plastic drop cloth under the swing, along with a thick fabric drop cloth on top. The plastic drop cloth is visible in the photos above. The flooring is outdoor porch flooring, so it can get wet, but this helped prevent having such a big mess to clean up.

Then using a good scrubbing brush and a tub of hot water mixed with Dawn dishwashing detergent, and the occasional spray of Formula 409, I went over the entire swing from top to bottom. The excess water just dripped down onto the drop cloths underneath.

After the swing had been scrubbed from top to bottom, I used THESE cleaning clothes that hold a ton of water, and I rinsed off the entire swing with another tub of clean water.

For the two chairs that were only moderately dirty since they’ve been pressure washed in the past, I gave them the same scrubbing, then hosed them down in the front yard.

Washing Outdoor Wicker Chairs


That left just the settee which I picked up and carried out onto one of the decks where I scrubbed it down and rinsed it off with the hose from the backyard. Here’s how the swing looked after cleaning. Sooo much better!

Outdoor Wicker, Cleaned and Ready for Summer


Looked as nice as the day I first brought it all home! Clean and shiny! I love this outdoor wicker, it has really held up beautifully!

Outdoor Wicker After Cleaning


Here’s one of the chairs after cleaning.

Outdoor Wicker Chair, Freshly Cleaned


As mentioned, all the furniture in the seating area on the porch is all-weather wicker, so it has held up beautifully over the past ten years. I purchased all the furniture in the seating area (except the swing) here: Outdoor Furniture. The dining set where I set so many tables for Tablescape Thursday was purchased there, also.

Screened Porch Decorated for Summer


The coffee table is actual wicker, not “outdoor” wicker. It already had a shabby, peeling-paint look when I purchased it at A Classy Flea ten years ago for $23. Over the years it has continued to age a bit more, but nothing horrible. I like that it’s not perfect, love its slightly shabby look.

There was another little project I worked on this past week.

Comfy Seating Area on Screened Porch


Garden Seat Transformation

I always grow a geranium in this large pot here on the deck. Whenever I use the umbrella in the table…

Deck, Red Geranium, Bottle Tree


…I move the geranium over to this outdoor garden stool purchased at Home Depot many years ago. The garden seat has held up well, especially considering it has always been outside here on the deck, but over the years it has really faded. I was never that crazy about its original peachy color, once it faded, I liked the color even less.


When choosing a new color to paint it, I kept my umbrella in mind.

Pagoda Umbrella


Here’s how this same umbrella looks when paired with a table. This was taken at my son and daughter-in-law’s home earlier in the spring. So what color did I go with for the garden stool? Hold onto your hats, it’s pretty bold! lol

Pagoda Umbrella for Outdoor Table, Outdoor Dining 2


I decided to go with one of the bright blue colors in the umbrella. Quite a change from its previous pale, peachy color, isn’t it?

Paint Outdoor Garden Stool


This was the color I chose: Rust-0leum Ultra Cover Paint & Primer in the color, Gloss Deep Blue. I liked that it had the primer already included so I didn’t have to first prime before painting.

It took one full can to paint both the inside and outside of the garden seat. I wore a mask while spray painting the seat on a dropcloth in the driveway. Always do your painting outdoors where you will have plenty of ventilation and be sure to wear a mask to be safe.


Whenever I use the umbrella in the table, this is where the geranium will go. I like the contrast of the red flowers with the blue garden stool. I think the blue will look pretty with the umbrella nearby. I’ve never had the need to put the umbrella out this year. We’ve been getting daily storms now for what seems like weeks. The plants have really loved it!

Bright Blue Garden Seat as Plant Stand


Secret Weapon to Growing Healthy Plants with Lots of Blooms

Recently I was asked in a comment how I get my plants to grow so well, especially the ones I winter over in the garage each year.

Blue Garden Stool with Red Geranium


My secret weapon is Osmocote. Many years ago a friend who is a professional landscaper shared that tip with me. She said Osmocote was what all the landscapers used who did commercial work like the entrances to subdivisions/shopping areas, etc… Since Osmocote is a time-release fertilizer, each time it rains or the flowers are watered via a sprinkler system or by hand, a little Osmocote gets released into the soil. I’ve been using it ever since she shared that tip and love it!

I got a late start this spring, but when I finally got around to putting the plants out here on the deck, I first watered them with a little Miracle Grow in the water to give them a jumpstart. At the same time, I sprinkled a little Osmocote around each plant, pushing the little pellets into the surface of the soil.  I knew I wouldn’t need to worry about fertilizing them again for 3-4 months.

Osmocote keeps my flowers blooming all spring and summer…couldn’t do without it! You can purchase it here: Osmocote. I buy the large size pictured below because I use it in the garden as well as for my potted plants. It’s not the cheapest fertilizer, but then it doesn’t take very much and lasts a long, long time, so totally worth it!


When I brought this Foxtail fern out from the garage this spring, it was looking pretty sad. The center of the plant had died out. I fed it a little Osmocote and it has really perked back up after its long winter hibernation. Over the past month, it has continued to put on new growth. Here’s how it looked when I first shared it on June 4th in THIS post.

Flamingo Yard Art, Garden Whimsy


You can see how much more it has grown and filled out just since that post one month ago. Osmocote is awesome! Can’t say enough good things about it!

Foxtail Fern for Deck

Looking forward to all the great Before and Afters for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. Susan, your refreshed porch looks pristine, I could spend hours out there reading. The garden stool pops with its new color. Upkeep and maintenance takes a lot of time, but you do a great job!

    • Thanks, Pam! Seems like this has been the year to spiffy up a lot of stuff out on the decks and the porch. Hope you are enjoying this summer, it’s going by way too quickly!

  2. I love your outdoor spaces. That red geranium on the cobalt blue stand is an amazing combination. Thanks for hosting!

  3. I love your flamingo! And your garden stool transformation!! Psst, would you please come over and clean my outdoor wicker, you do such a professional job

  4. Mary Boger says

    Looking good! Love the swing.

  5. Porch looks party ready, and set for the second act of summer 🙂 Not to mention some great fall weather.

    • Thanks, Mia! Hope your summer if going great! Do you get to take walks in the park across the way? I would love to live close to a beautiful park, one I could walk to.

  6. Wow, Susan! You’ve been busy, and your efforts have certainly paid off: now take some time to relax on your fantastic porch and enjoy!! Love, love, love the blue color of your garden seat!

    • That sounds like a great idea, Rosie! Summer is going by way too quickly, we need to savor every moment!
      Thanks! That was kind of a bold choice but I figured if it didn’t work out, I could always repaint and go a bit darker. I love the cobalt blue, though. Happy summer to you!

  7. Outstanding on your outdoor “rooms!!” franki

  8. Susan, I just LOVE your porch. It’s so pretty and inviting. I just want to crawl into the photograph, and live there. I can’t believe you were able to bring your all weather wicker back to new by just a good cleaning. How long have you had it?

    • Thanks, Lisa! I’ve had it all around 10 years now, got it just as the porch was being completed in 2008. I’ve had the chairs and settee cleaned before when the porch was being pressure washed, but I always forgot to get the swing cleaned since I wasn’t sure if it could be easily removed to take out on the deck. Now I know I can just clean it in place. It’s tricky getting down inside all the little grooves of the wicker. Glad it’s the outdoor type of wicker, otherwise I’m not sure how I’d clean it.

  9. Wow, the swing cleaning is definitely noticeable! Love those microfiber cloths. I use them to clean my stainless surfaces for no streaking. Love the stool, and I also use Osmocote. After my courtyard roses bloom in May, I rake back the mulch beneath and sprinkle the pellets, cover back up, and water. Good Met Monday! Have a great week.
    Oh, and I love that foxtail fern. I’m having bad luck for the first time ever this year with my geranium annuals in the front beds….voles! It’s always a battle somewhere if not two or three…..

    • Aren’t they awesome! I can’t believe how much water they hold! I would love to see your gardens, Rita…they sound so pretty!
      Ugh…Voles! Are they eating the plants themselves…or just digging all under them?

  10. Love all the pictures Susan and your garden stool makeover turned out perfect. Girl, I am so jealous over your beautiful porch! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  11. Love you porch!! Thanks for hosting! Have a great week!

  12. Thanks so much for hosting each week!!

  13. LINDA PAGE says

    I have that exact terra cotta garden stool that you painted blue. Good job!! Love the flamingo!!!

    • If it ever needs painting, it really takes the paint well! I’m glad I didn’t donate, I almost did at the start of spring when I saw how badly faded it had become.

  14. I need a new porch swing. I love your wicker one!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

    • Thanks, Susan! I measured and took a chance ordering that one from a place called Wicker Paradise when the porch was under construction. I remember being surprised at how much the outdoor wicker swings cost back then when I was shopping for one online. I can definitely recommend this one though. It looks just like the day it was first hung out on the porch and it’s been 10 years!

  15. Donna zoltanski says

    Good job girlie! It is a great feeling to complete a project. I hope you can sit and enjoy it all now. On my way to buy osmocote! Thanks for the tip. I love your porch l. Where did you get your flamingo?

  16. Kathy Shearer says

    Your porch is lovely! Don’t you just love having everything clean! It is a lot of work, but so worth it!! Thanks for the tip about Osmacote! We used to use it, but have been using another fertilizer. We have some geraniums that are struggling so I am definitely going to try it.

    • Hope it works, Kathy. I hope you don’t have voles like Rita was mentioning. She having problems with her geraniums this year due to voles.

  17. Kathleen says

    Shiny clean; so nice and bright. I love blue so I like the new look of the seat . . . especially next to the bottle tree. I need to remember to fertilize!

  18. I’m a serious blue and white lover! Your garden stool looks awesome. Blue with white wicker—-a match made in heaven!

    • Bev, you and I would definitely get along great…I’m a huge blue and white fan, too! I was thinking as I finished painting the garden stool, if I had been planning to use it on a patio/porch where the color scheme was blue and white, it would have been fun to paint all the little balls going around the top and bottom, white. Have you ever traveled to any of the Greek islands? I so want to see Mykonos and Santorini! Blue and white heaven! 🙂

  19. Hi Susan! The porch furniture looks brand new! The porch and deck areas look lovely. I love the outdoor furniture at your son and dil’s home. Any idea where they got it? I would love to start putting plants in the garage to winter over. Do you take the geranium in the house or do you put it in the garage with your fern. As always, thank you for all your tips and for always being so attentive to detail. You cut my work load in half! Deena

  20. Thanks again for the party, Susan!

  21. Cyndi Raines says

    Love the new color on the garden stool. We need to power wash the front of the house again. Living on a dirt road, it can get dirty fast. Thanks for the tip on the plant food. With the high 90’s that we have been having, it’s been a job keeping everything watered! Hello Summer! ☀️

    • I love summer so much, it’s going by way too fast, Cyndi! That’s so cool that you live on a dirt road, sounds romantic and peaceful!

  22. I just checked and I have a bottle of osmocote, but I think I use too little on my houseplants. How much did you use for the foxtails?

    • I sprinkle it all around the plant and then push it into the surface of the dirt a little. You may want to start out with a little Miracle Grow in water just to get them kinda going because the Osmocote is a slow, steady feed since it only gets into the soil when the plant is water/rained on. I buy those little individual packets of Miracle Grow at Home Depot because they are so easy to mix into a watering can or gallon jug. I just use the MG once or twice at the start of the growing season, after that the Osmocote does its magic. It says on the bottle that you can’t over fertilize your plants, I guess because it is slow release.

  23. Susan, I love your home. I would not sell it until I needed an electric scooter !
    Even then, you should convince your son and DIL to move in with you.
    The blue on the garden seat is so much better. Blue and white is my favorite too. Buying cleaners is a challenge for me because I have asthma. Recently, I read something on eHow about using Dawn and peroxide and it works wonders.

  24. Love the blue color for your garden stool. It looks better than new.
    A dear friend of mine who was a Master Gardener always recommended Osmacote. I’m out, this is a good reminder to get some more.

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