Greening up the Porch

By Kate Riley June 2, 2011

I have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to spray paint, especially when I don’t want to spend any money on something new.  Long ago, I accepted the universal truth that paint in all forms is my very best friend.  It is the easiest way to change or reinvent an old thing, and make it something new PDQ. 

Case in point.  I’ve had a 5’ x 7’ outdoor rug for a few years, and the original border used to be deep red.  You’ll spy it in this porch scene and this one too from last year.  

I was over the dark red, and feeling something new, so I perused my spray paint collection and came up with a can of ‘Green Apple’ spray paint leftover from these painted pots, and my old rug was reborn. 

centsational girl front porch


The last time I spray painted the border of this rug, I didn’t use primer, but this time, it was necessary.  I tried to straight up spray paint the border green, but it looked muddy on top of the red.  Primer to the rescue!  I taped off the edge, then rolled a quick coat of Kilz low odor mildew resistant primer.  When dry, I finished it off with RustOleum’s ‘Green Apple’ spray paint. 

primer plus spray paint

Here’s another trick I use a lot with spray paint, I call it ‘The Cap Trick’.  It’s a very advanced concept, I’m a little nervous about sharing it, but here goes. 

If you ever spray paint something, and end up with spots that are uneven or areas that need touched up afterward, fear not.  Simply spray a small amount of the paint into the cap, then use a small paintbrush to touch up imperfections.  Hence the title: ‘The Cap Trick’.  Guaranteed to impress your friends at parties.   

touch up edges


I planned to do an entire grid pattern all over the rug with the paint, but then I got lazy and decided the outer stripe was enough, and went inside to read this Larsson sequel. I’m completely engrossed and it’s affecting both my patience with projects and the cleanliness of my house ~ funny how a great book does that to your life. 

DIY chalkboard pots mentioned here

cg front porch green rug


How pretty are cosmos?  They seem to know it too, with the way they parade their petals in the sunshine.  How can you blame them. 

cg white cosmos


Then there’s blue delphinium, (or ‘larkspur’) standing tall and proud, practically shouting “Look at me!”  Delphiniums are showy perennials, but I love them for their sassy attitude.  If you treat them right (meaning give them water and don’t kill them with too much sun), they will bloom for you again and again, year after year. 

blue delphinium white urn


Now I know why Claude Monet said, “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

blue delphinium on porch


I’m just going to come right out and say it, I have some of the prettiest hydrangea plants on the block.  These plants are ten years old and oh so happy where they live.  Soft morning sun + evening shade = gorgeous blooms every year.   

white bench green pillows hydrageas


People keep telling me to change their color to blue by adding aluminum to the soil, but I really like them pink, so I don’t listen.   

pink hydrangea in bloom


I find contentment in living with things just as they are.  

If something is beautiful as it is, don’t mess with it. 

If you want to change it, then do that.

kate front door


Sometimes it just takes a simple stripe of paint to give you a fresh perspective. 

centsational girl porch



Want to hear more ideas for adding curb appeal to your home? 

I’m talking about just that today over at…


beneath my heart header


Stop by for Eight Weekend Projects for Your Home’s Exterior, and say hello! 


P.S.  Those outdoor pillows on the porch are two years old.  Medallion print pillows from OSH, apple green geometric from Tar-jay.  Wish I had a link for ya, sadly I don’t. 







  1. Your porch is gorgeous! I wish I had your clone on this coast to help me beautify my porch!

  2. Hey CG, I love your Hydrangas too! I am a Peonies & Hydranga girl….had them in my wedding. The pink is beautiful and I am trying to find the right place around my house to plant a bush. Have a great day!

  3. I love it! The rug idea is great! I wish I still had mine,,,:) I like the two benches…it evens the porch out nicely…and the green is sooo inviting! I wanted to let you know, I am having a Chalk Paint Giveaway (2 cans)…Stop by and check it out…And I have a few finished projects…a slipcover with ribbon ties down the backs, a chalkboard I revamped and a new piece of furniture that orig. was $2300 that I snagged for $200…and the story about trying to get it home! lol :D lol

    Xo, Meme

  4. Nice balance … open yet cozy … filled with interest but not overcrowded … it’s very inviting!
    I too loved The Millenium series. I had it on my ipod in audiobook form and I’m glad that I did, that way I didn’t have to try to figure out the correct pronunciations of the character and town names.
    I’ve also watched the first two movies, the third is out but I haven’t seen it yet. I liked those as well … a lot of info was left out of the movies of course but I think the actress who played Lisbeth was great ;)

  5. Your porch looks so inviting. The flowers are gorgeous, and I love your rug update. The cap trick is awesome. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Love the green stripe! Your hydrangeas are drop-dead-gorgeous! Mine are so tiny, but T fried a couple of them with fertilizer and it’s been a rough road to get them to grow. :s

    Your front porch looks like a fabulous retreat. The perfect spot to sit and watch the neighborhood. I’m going to save the cap trick for another day. I’ve sprayed extra paint onto a paper plate before, but you have to use that paint really quickly before it dries up. :s

  7. The title of your post made me laugh…my maiden name is “Greening” – funny how it’s become a verb the last few years in this green world we live in! Porch looks great as do your hydrangeas!

  8. Oh so pretty, and I absolutely love those chalkboard pots, I am so doing that this weekend!!! Your house is one of those houses I would walk by and drool over!!!!!

  9. Your porch is so inviting. I recently added pillows to our front rockers and really makes them feel like front feel more welcoming. I’m also so jealous of your flowers. I’ve been killing all mine recently!

  10. I LOVE hydrangeas! I have 3 baby ones… 2 that I planted in my front yard last year and one I just planted in my backyard 2 weeks ago. I’m hoping that someday (okay in 10 years) they’re as big and pretty as yours!

  11. I’m glad you shared the ‘cap’ trick. Works great! Love the green. Your porch vignette is lovely. What a wonderful, welcoming greeting to visitors . . . and yourself!

    And the delphinium? I’m smitten. I had to save that pic for my ‘to be painted’ file. Just gorgeous!

  12. you have a lovely front porch. we live in a small townhouse with nothing no entryway….but i’m going to be putting a bookshelf out there for potted plants, shoes, and a few pretties.

  13. How pretty is this?! I’ve never even thought to spray paint a RUG … and an outdoor one at that. You’ve given it new life … a fun pop … truly becoming a focal point. LOVE it and the rest of your beautiful entry, as well. Thanks for sharing !! xo

  14. If I had a porch I would use this entire post as my inspriation! I LOVE the idea of
    painting a new borded on your rug- I might do that with our ugly kitchen rug…

  15. Your porch looks beautiful… thanks for sharing! I’m just starting to incorporate spray paint into my life and it’s exciting. :)

    Too funny about your Larsson book. I almost picked up “The Girl Who Played With Fire” last night off my nightstand to read, but I have too many things to do today and knew I would get sucked into it! I have to find a couple of free days between now and book club so I can devote myself. :)

    Happy Thursday.

  16. I love the space. Love the cap trick. I love the power of spray paint to change something in an instant.

  17. I love the colors on your porch. We spent easter in Petaluma where my sis in law lives, then headed to Sanoma to visit our uncle. I was in awe of all the flowers and how this years spring has made every plant so vibrant. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Love it! Purple flowers always go beautifully with white and green! I have been working on my front porch too, but it is a slow process for me :) Thanks for the great article!

  19. So lovely and I love all the pretty white flowers. Having a nice outdoor space makes it so easy to want to sit out and enjoy it. I did a bunch of gardening myself and work setting up our patio. The past week we finally had great weather and I have been out with my family enjoying it every night! I love how you did your entry, tho. Makes me want to come right over!

    Thanks for sharing!

  20. If you’re already engrossed on the sequel, just wait until you get to the third book! You won’t be able to put it down! Sooo good! Each book is better than the next! Glad you like it :)

  21. So what is your hydrangea secret? I live in the Bay Area, and my hydrangeas promptly die in the summer from too little water. Any tips on keeping them thriving?

  22. Thank you for the cap trick! I’m waiting for spray paint to dry on a project. I have some blotches and will be doing this as soon as my timer goes off to tell me the first coat is dry. Thanks!

  23. Hi Kate….if you’re interested or you think your readers will, I’m giving away a 5×7 rug on my blog.

    I luv what you’ve done with your stone patio and I luv the color of the painted outdoor rug.

  24. I love the rug but how do you keep it from getting muddy or how do you clean it? I have a sisal rug that would look great on my porch but as the mom of 3 young boys, it wouldn’t last a day without getting all grubby.

    Love your blog!

  25. Love the look on your porch.
    So funny … I just did a whole bunch of transplanting in my gardens last weekend and one particular plant that I moved about 3-4 plants of has not bloomed yet and just the leaves are showing. For the life of me, I couldn’t place what flower it was …. now from your picture, I recognize the jagged leaves and now I know what I planted :) thank goodness – one of my favorites and I love the colour paired with my white hydrangeas! thanks for the post and for the missing clue .

  26. I continue to love and appreciate your willingness to take what you have and see what it could be-reborn with your special touch. You have created real stories for all the pieces you do and then re-do,and likely will do again. Don’t you keep pics of most things from their previous lives? You could do albums for them-similar to what you do for your kids….from “birth” through all their developmental stages!!

    Please advise if you decide to kill one off down the line so no one files a “missing urn” report:)

  27. Cool. The newly renovated rug complemented your flowers and plants.

    I have 10-15 cosmos plants in my garden and front lawn. It’s one of my favorite garden plants. I love how simple their leaves are. I have the Southwestern Cosmos, Chocolate Cosmos, and the Garden Cosmos. However, I cut them when they reach over 1 meter tall – I have to obey the home estate regulation.

  28. I love your rug and have been wanting a new rug for out outdoor patio. Can you use sisal outside without mildew?

  29. Hey Liz, mine are on a drip system, plus they’re well established plants. They do need water, but not too much!

    Hi Janelle, I’m not sure all sisal holds up well in unprotected areas, I think it will mildew if allowed to get soaked with rain repeatedly, unless it’s specifically designed to be an ‘outdoor’ rug like this one is.

  30. Wow! Paint is my best friend too, yet I’d NEVER have thought of painting a rug. It looks great. Hope you don’t mind me asking – doesn’t painting it make the rug hard? I’d have thought it would stiffen when the paint dried in, but it certainly looks magnificent.

  31. Your porch is lovely and so welcoming! I love the new green stripe on your rug. Everything looks so fresh!

  32. You are right about those hydrangeas – they are beautiful! Thanks for the spray paint tip- it will surely come in handy!

  33. I grew my 2 hydrangea bushes from bare root. Have you ever seen them bareroot? It’s just a V of sticks. Anyways, they took years before they have blooms. Yesterday I noticed they finally have blooms, for this Spring/Summer season. They will bloom into the fall and then we’ll cut them down for next year. Mine are pink too but I was looking at some blue ones at Home Depot. I’m thinking of getting some delpheniums for the flowers in front of my porch. They are so pretty and like you said hardy. :)

  34. I love overall porch the white benches look like they fit perfectly. I have a feeling you spray painted them :) Where did you find these?

  35. last night I dreamed that I discovered your house and your porch at the entrace to my neighborhood. in my dream, i “recognized” your porch from this post, and I was amazed that I’d lived so close to you, as I’ve read your blog for over a year. I thought, “how did I not know that Kate lived in my neighborhood?!” i guess it *might* work, since Virginia is also wine country, LOL! what a letdown when I woke up and remembed you’re in much sinnier California!

  36. Love the Cosmos and truly the Hydrangeas. My Endless Summer Hydrangeas (which are supposed to be blue without any special food or care!) hardly had any blue blooms. I enjoyed the rainbow color. It sort of grew on me. hehehe.

    love your blog! thank you for all the inspiration.

  37. Your porch is beautiful!
    Living in Toronto, Canada, our porch season is shorter… so making it pretty is important!

    I’ve just found you and must say a huge thanks for your love of spray paint – I think I’ve caught the bug!!

  38. I honestly can’t remember if I left a comment on your porch before or not, but I had to include you in my Porch Inspirations today! Thanks for all the lovely inspiration you offer!

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)