Deck Updates, Great Deck Cleaner and a Little Garden Whimsy

Welcome to the 488th Metamorphosis Monday!

Last week I shared some deck updates I was working on. In between all the big storms we’ve been having this past week, I’ve been working on spiffing up the deck for summer.


In this photo from last week, you can see the decking was super dirty from all the yucky stuff that had fallen from the giant tree whose trunk you can see there at the end of the deck. Also, the bottle tree was looking pretty ragged with rust spots appearing here and there, and the grill cover had seen better days.



Here’s how the deck is looking now. Unfortunately, it rained right before I took photos. I wiped down the table, but you’ll probably notice the deck, rails and grill cover look wet in the photos.

Deck Makeover for Spring


I brought out the seat cushions for the chairs but didn’t take time to bring out the back cushions. I kinda like how this dining set looks with just the seat cushions in place.

Deck Makeover for Spring and Summer


I also washed the deck flooring with 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner. The yucky stuff that had fallen out of the trees was really, really stuck onto the deck surface, so I used a stiff broom to sorta scrub the decking after I sprayed on the cleaner. It took two applications, but it worked great. If your deck isn’t under a tree and the dirt isn’t stuck on like glue, one application will probably work fine. This cleaner is available here: 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner.

30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner



Repainting the bottle tree was a bit of a challenge since it’s way too heavy to take down into the yard to paint.

Bottle Tree Before Paint


So I had to spray-paint it here on the deck, trying to not overspray. Here’s how it looked before painting with rust spots here and there. It’s held up very well considering it has been out here exposed to the elements full time for the past 7-8 years.

Bottle Tree Before Painting


So remember my fancy footwear from THIS post. After I sprayed the first coat of paint onto the bottle tree, I discovered the bottoms of my feet were completely coated in black paint! I didn’t realize as I was walking around and around the tree, spray-painting it, I was stepping in the overspray on the dropcloth beneath the tree.

I’m STILL trying to get all of the black paint off the bottom of my feet. lol I’ve managed to get most of it off now. Goof-off helped! Learn from me, wear old socks you can toss out, or at least put bags on your feet when spray painting something. When I went back out the next day to spray the tree a second time, I placed grocery bags over my feet and it worked great!


Here’s a photo I took after the first two coats of paint. I ended up using 2-1/2 cans of paint. I chose Rust-oleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze for the color. Before I painted the tree, it was a dusty, faded gray color. It didn’t fade out to that color, it was that color when I first purchased it.

I didn’t want to go solid black with the new color, so that’s why I chose the ORB paint. I went with the one that has the paint and primer, in one. (It’s available here: Rust-oleum.)

I really like the paint that has both the paint and primer built in since it cuts out the step of having to prime first. Two coats of paint, which took two cans of the ORB paint, pretty much did the job of covering the whole bottle tree, but I went ahead and used about 1/2 of the third can to touch up a few spots that I thought needed a tad more paint.

Bottle Tree Painted


Here’s how it looked after the paint had dried. Definitely like this color better than the dusty gray it was originally.

Bottle Tree After Painting


And here’s how it looked dressed out with bottles…still need more! I purchased a few more of the pink bottles at Old Time Pottery yesterday, so that helped fill in a bit more.

Bottle Tree Freshly Painted


A view from the other side…

Bottle Tree Freshened up for Spring


I usually keep a garden stool here on the deck so when I’m using an umbrella in the table, it gives me a spot to place the large geranium that’s usually in the center of the table. This is the garden stool I normally have on the deck. It still looked fine in this photo taken a few years back, but now it has badly faded. So I moved it to the garage until I can find time to paint it. Need to decide on a color, first.


In the meantime, I moved this green garden stool from the porch out to the deck and brought down a white garden stool for the porch.

Garden Stool or Garden Seat


I love garden stools and use them all over my house. They are one of the most versatile pieces you can buy for your home.

Green Ceramic Garden Seat for Screened-in Porch


They make a great side table for areas where a full-size table will not work.

Blue and White Garden Seat for Blue and White Bedroom


I have them stashed all over my house and keep finding spots for new ones.  If you’re in need of a garden stool for extra seating or to use as a plant stand or as a small side table, you’ll find tons of beautiful ones here: Garden Seat. Pier 1 has a pretty green one on sale here: Green Garden Stool. I’m tempted to buy another one to use in my master bathroom.


The new grill cover looks so much better than the old one that was so badly faded. I purchased this grill cover here: Grill Cover. It’s a “universal” style so doesn’t have any branding on it, which I really like. If you have a long/wide grill like mine, I’m pleased with how this one fits my grill. Best to measure before purchasing a cover since grills come in so many different sizes.

Deck Cleanup for Spring


A Bit of Whimsy for the Deck

A few weeks ago I came across something in Marshalls that sparked a memory and had me laughing. It reminded me of this card that I purchased for a friend several years ago. His birthday is in February and mine is in January. When January came around that year, I opened up the card he had bought for me and immediately burst out laughing. He had purchased the exact same card I had bought for him for his birthday the following month!

We couldn’t believe that we had each purchased the exact same card to give to each other! So we started a fun tradition of giving each other that same silly card year after year, writing a new birthday message inside each time. We kept that up for many years until we both managed to misplace the cards. I found one of them in a drawer recently, so we can get the tradition going again. lol

This is the card and inside it says: “Am I naked? Is this my front yard? Who are these people? And why are their necks so long?”  ๐Ÿ™‚


So when I came across this guy in Marshalls recently, I had to buy one for myself and one for my friend who just added a new deck to his backyard. He’s been traveling so I haven’t had a chance to give him his gift, but I think he will get a kick out of it…a little whimsy for the garden, or in my case, the deck. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you need a flamingo for your deck or garden, I found one that’s pretty close to the one I have here: Flamingo.

Flamingo Yard Art, Garden Whimsy


Remember this sad fern I wintered over in the garage? It looked so bad when I brought it out this spring, I was tempted to toss it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.


It’s making a happy comeback, so glad I didn’t give up on it! Amazing how fast they grow!

Fern putting out new growth


So that’s where we are so far, still need to add some flowers to the other end of the deck, will work on that soon. Happy spring (almost summer) to you!

Deck Makeover for Spring


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

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Metamorphosis Monday

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  1. Thanks so much for hosting each week!!

  2. Susan your deck turned out great. I am in LOVE with your bottle rack lady!! It is certainly a show stopper. I have a large one that sits on our kitchen counter that I actually use for washing glasses. Next time I see a huge one though I will have to snatch it up.

  3. I really like the color you picked for your bottle tree, much nicer than gray or black. And that flamingo is darling! (as is the birthday card – what fun!) Have a great week.

  4. Your bottle tree is such fun, and I have been dying to buy a metal flamingo, so cute!

    • Thanks, Jenna! I love the color he adds to that side of the deck. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you get your flamingo…can’t help but smile each time I see him.

  5. That ORB color is so pretty, especially where the sun is hitting it in one photo. And what a comeback for that fern! Similar story here: my husband unintentionally bought me the same card 3 yrs in a row. He just thought it was really funny, and didn’t remember it the year before. And I intentionally reused the same Valentine’s Day card several times before he caught on.

    • Thanks, Mia! Glad the sun was hitting that spot because it looked so dark in many of the other photos.
      That is so funny about the card…at least you know he’s consistent! ๐Ÿ™‚
      That’s pretty funny about the Valentine’s Day card! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thanks for hosting, Susan! And I have to let you know that I was so inspired by your umbrella post that I went out and bought three new ones and now the yard looks fabulous. Amazing what a little bright beauty can add!

  7. Gwendoline F Healy says

    Susan, another brilliant article to help us out around home and garden. Thank you again for sharing and also for your great sense of humor.

  8. Kathleen says

    Love the birthday card story. It reminded me of when my Dad and I traded a card back and forth. Lovely post; busy as usual!

  9. Charlotte says

    The deck looks great! I like the new color on the bottle tree too. You have to let us know your Friend’s reaction to the Flamingo, what a funny story!

  10. Oh I love the flamingo! He’d look great welcoming my guests to the Alice in Wonderland theme fav things party. If there’s time, I may have to make a mad dash over to Marshall’s to see if I can nab one.

  11. Snowflake281 says

    โ€œYucky stuff?โ€. That must be a technical term I guess! Good job Susan! Well worth all the effort you put into it.

  12. That deck cleaner looks like a good one! The bottle tree turned out looking great- perfect color. Love the flamingo- I bought one but itโ€™s just a flat surface. I think they are a fun accent- says summer for sure!

  13. Susan , how do you keep the bottle tree from getting broken. Where I live in Texas we get hail storms pretty regular with everything from pea to softball size hail, I would be terrified of this breaking all the pretty glass bottles, do you move it inside during a storm?

    • We have the occasional hail storm here with hail from dime size to quarter size. So far none of the bottles have ever broken. I think it’s because most are so thick. If they did, they are mostly just bottles from beverages I’ve purchased, so not expensive, but so far I’ve never had one get broken. The tree is way to heavy to move, even without bottles on it, so it stays on the deck, full-time.

  14. Susan, your deck looks fabulous! It’s so clean it sparkles! I love your bottle tree. I have thought of getting one that sticks in the ground, but I imagine our Southern stormy winds would keep the bottles broken. Do you bring yours inside in stormy weather or is the base broad enough to keep it upright? I also love the color you painted it. I overwinter two ferns in our garage every winter and they are pretty straggly looking when they come out. But before you know it, they are full and beautiful. When I turned 50, my brother planted 50 pink flamingos in our front yard. What a surprise when I woke up! Ever since, I have held a soft spot in my heart for pink flamingos. I love yours and would love to find one like that to stick in my garden. It would remind me of a fun birthday. If Atlanta is like Memphis, you are burning up these days. We have had heat indices in the 3 digits. However, it isn’t bothering me since I slipped on a wet flagstone in my backyard and broke my ankle. I can’t walk yet and hope to have a walking cast in about another week. My backyard has been beautiful and I hate that in about three weeks time, I will have missed some of it. I have my husband go out every now and then and take pictures of anything blooming and bring it in To show me. This too, shall pass!

    • Thanks so much, Martha! Actually, I haven’t ever had a bottle get broken. I think most of the bottles are so thick, especially on the bottom, they don’t seem to be phased by bad weather. The tree is really heavy, even without bottles on it, so I don’t ever move it other than to occasionally drag it to a new spot on the deck. We haven’t had a lot of hail storms in recent years, but it has been through a few and came out great.
      I couldn’t believe how fast that fern recovered! I think it’s worth wintering them over although they do make a bit of a mess in the garage.
      It’s been hot here but I don’t think we’ve hit the 90s. Today was so nice, I had the doors open until mid-day. It never got really, really hot here. I hope you see a break in the temps!
      Oh, I’m so glad he can take pics for you so you don’t miss seeing this year’s blooms! Hope you recover quickly so you can get out and enjoy the garden in person! XXX

  15. Susan, your porch-deck is swoon worthy, and your bottle tree looks great.

    For you and your readers who might be contemplating paint vs. powder coating on outdoor furniture or dรฉcor, I have two old wrought iron jardineres. (One was especially old. It may have even qualified as a garden antique, but I am not sure.) It had some areas with substantial rust. I was especially fond of it’s age and charm, and fearing it might not withstand too many more years of paint, I made the rather expensive decision to have them both sand blasted and powder coated. I also had an old glider which was rather unattractive, but very comfortable, powder coated a few years ago and it really brought it back to life. I have to say they all turned out fabulously. I’m so pleased. I will now be able to enjoy them for many more years to come, and the best part is I’ll never have to paint them again!

  16. BonnieBee says

    Sooo funny… this weekend we also used the 30 SEcond Outdoor Cleaner on our deck top rails, our arbor and swing, our stone walkway and our entire drive way… it is a miracle that you can just spray it on and rinse it off and it all looks brand new… so much easier than scrubbing every thing… my new favorite cleaner!!! Who knew cleaning could be fun and easy!!!!!

  17. Linda Slayton says

    Where did you get your bottle tree?

  18. Judy Lee says

    What was the bottle re originally?

  19. Thanks for hosting MM, Susan. I spray painted my feet and shoes once. You have really been working and you have lots to show for your time and energy.

  20. Is there something you can use to clean a grill cover? Mine is in good condition, it is just full of pollen! Everything you do looks beautiful!

    • Ummm, not sure. I wonder if you could take a brush and some dishwashing detergent like Dawn, wet the cover with a garden hose, wash it down…then rinse it off with the hose. I think I’d try something like that.

  21. Hi Susan, where did you purchase your bottle tree? Iโ€™ve never seen one with a self sustaining base. They all have a pole that needs to be stuck in the ground.
    Enjoy the diversity of your posts.
    Thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Cyndi Raines says

    Deck looks great! Like the new paint on the bottle tree very much, it kicks it up a notch. Summer projects = hard work, but do give great pleasure when completed. Good job Susan!

  23. Beatrice says

    Susan, sorry you had to go through that painting hassle. For future reference, and if you or your readers have any other rusty metal, there is a German product called Brunox epoxy rust converter. It wins awards every year for its effectiveness, but you have to order it from a non-US source like We swear by it and use it by the quart on all the classic cars. One application (a nice thick gel you paint on) turns the metal smooth and dark and stops rust for years. No muss, no fuss, no plastic-bag feet. If you then want a colour, you can spray with just one coat of simple Rustoleum, as Brunox is also a primer that can be left or painted.

  24. Hi Susan,

    Would you please tell me the name of the hyndrangea you planted behind your mailbox? I printed it out to save and put it in a good place – so good that I can’t find it.

    Thank you

  25. Patricia says

    Susan, how do you keep your geranium plant so gorgeous and healthy? I love geraniums and they grow easily here in California, but my potted ones tend to get straggly and are never as lush and green as yours. Any tips? Fertilizer?? Love your blog!

    • I fertilize mine with Osmocote, which is a time release fertilizer. I sprinkle a little into the pot and it keeps my flowers fertilized for approximately 4 months. A landscaper told me about Osmocote many years ago and I’ve used it ever since! You can get it on Amazon here or in Home Depot. Most garden centers will have it, too. Each time it rains or you water your flowers, they get a little dose of fertilizer.
      I also pinch off the dead blossoms/stems as soon as they are no longer blooming. I’ve found mine bloom a lot more if they are in full sun. I just moved the large one on the table over to the smaller table at the other end of the deck since it’s in partial shade part of the day. I think it will bloom a lot more if it gets more sun.

  26. June Hollingshead says

    Hi, Susan. I loved your birthday card story. One year, my twin brother and I gave each other the same birthday card, and THEN, when he and his family sat down for dinner, his son gave him the SAME card that we gave each other! True story! Thanks for all of your wonderful posts. Can’t wait to get out to my sunny Florida porch tomorrow to “spif things up a bit”!

  27. Great deck update Susan, it was great before and absolutely lovely after. Love the bottle tree update especially.

    Thank you for hosting today, always appreciated.


  28. Your beautiful deck and screened porch have given me the incentive to have one built. Looking back, are you glad you chose a wooden floor??? Did you ever give consideration to composite???

    • Yes, I do love my wood floor. The only way I would do composite is if it looked like wood and the boards could be butted up against each other where a bug couldn’t get through. That’s why I didn’t go with decking like so many folks do because bugs can get in unless you screen underneath the flooring. I’ve been on garden tours where people have done that underneath their screened in porches and I didn’t like how it looked. If your porch is down low, not a story up like mine, you might not mind the screening underneath. I just didn’t want to have to worry about bugs coming up between the boards so I went with tongue and groove YellaWood porch flooring.

      • vicki long says

        I felt you had done the research, and could give a honest/informed opinion. Getting a personal reply from a blogger is a rare treat these days! Thank-you for your time!!!!

  29. BeverlyO says

    Hi Susan,
    How many gallons of the cleaner did it take to clean your deck?

    • I only mixed up one batch using 8 cups of water and 8 cups of the cleaner…you use it on a ratio of 1 to 1. That one batch did the job, but that particular deck isn’t that big. One section of that deck is around 12 ft by 12 ft and the other half that houses the grill and a small bistro table is approximately 6 ft by 14 feet. I still have a lot of the cleaner left so I’ll be able to mix up more batches when I get around to cleaning my other deck…and the deck steps.

  30. My lime green garden stool purchased from Ballardโ€™s aeons ago was halved in a move last year. I 2 adore garden stools and have several in different styles and different colors like Tiffany blue, grey, ivory, navy, melon, but NOT lime green like yours on your deck. Will u keep your eyes peeled out for another one like yours and advise me? Since u r a devotee of flamingoes check out the boxwood ones from Grandin Road and the metal ones @ Frontgate. Theyโ€™re pricey until I order them @ 25% off, free shipping and fortunately for me, no tax. Not so fortunate for u! Thnx 4 your help…. I really miss my lime green – the color of avocado- seat!

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