Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wayfair Green Thumb Challenge

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with and All opinions are my own.

I’m normally hesitant to take part in blogger challenges and competitions, but I jumped at Wayfair’s and’s offer to participate in their “greenthumbchallenge for three reasons that will shock most of you to the core. (Nope.)

One, I love gardening and live in Southern California, which boasts the perfect environment for outdoor living. Two, I genuinely like Wayfair and like working with them--they're one of the very few sponsored posts I'll write. Three, The William Morris Project. What's that? Oh, yes. Completing this porch was one of the many projects on my intentional home list. Here's how I envisioned it way-back-when.

Front Porch: A place to sit and watch little boys ride bikes, play in leaves, and catch bugs.

Keep that goal list in mind when you see the after pictures. I think the new porch looks great, but I'm drawn to natural and practical. It's a front porch, so you won't see rugs or bar carts in my after pictures. You won't see pretty baskets that are meant for indoors. You won't even see plants that photograph well but will soon die off stage. What you'll see is what you'll get if you drive by my house tomorrow or the day after.

Here's a before picture, since I don't think I've ever share a picture of our front porch. There was not a chair, stool, pot, or plant to be found. The two pots you see in the picture are ones I moved from the backyard in preparation for the green thumb challenge.

I faced two challenges while putting together our porch: the blistering west-facing location and California’s infamous drought. I knew that with a porch facing west, I would have to choose plants that could tolerate the heat for at least 6 hours a day when the sun is at its highest and hottest. The drought posed a different set of problems. We have strict water use regulations, and potted plants/hanging baskets require regular watering, especially in a climate as hot as mine. I decided to use (mostly) drought tolerant plants.

Here is what the porch looks like now. True story: it rained the week I took these pictures. We are in a drought, it never rains, and I made a big deal about southern California outdoor living, but I was the knucklehead running in and out of the house trying to take pictures during breaks in the rain. Oh well; we need the water.

The main plantings are drought resistant. The others...not so much. Those reflect my inability to turn down anything in yellow.

The red flowering plant is salvia. It requires very little water once established and attracts bees, butterflies, and especially hummingbirds. Some people may be reluctant to use plants that attract bees--I hear you, I'm allergic to bees--but they play a critical role in our agriculture and, for whatever reason, are disappearing.

The domed topiary-like shrub you see next to the chairs is a sweet-pea shrub. They don't attract wildlife, but they do make a cute, long lasting cut flower.

I always wanted a window box, but nothing requires more water or does as poorly in the inferno-like environment of our summers. I chose to fill our new box with portulaca. It didn't look like much when I planted it, but this hardworking plant requires little soil and lots of sun. If you're curious, the potulaca should eventually look like this, but here it is 3 days after planting at sunset.

For seating I went with classic adirondack chairs in dutch blue, which I accessorized with these pillows.

I know what you're thinking, and you're right. Those chairs aren't dutch blue. They are a gray, powdery blue. They're fine, but they aren't dutch blue! Something to keep in mind if you buy the same chairs.

Last, are the hanging plants. I chose succulents for all four of our hanging baskets. I made sure to choose those that do well in full sun, but I'll be honest and admit I'm nervous about their outcome. Hanging baskets are tough for my neck of the woods, and putting them on a west-facing porch is all but saying "I like to kill plants for fun!" I bought them because I want them to last, and so far they are growing and responding well to the sun. We'll see how they do.

I can't believe the front porch is done. I turn onto our street every day on my way home from work and see our hanging baskets doing their thing, hanging. I pull into the driveway and see plants! In pots I've had for years! I'm feeling "proper happy," as Mikey likes to say.

Do you follow me on Instagram (I'm @themrskendall)? I'm going to be posting an image that shares details on how to enter for a chance to win a Wayfair gift card and landscaping services from


  1. This looks seriously great, it looks SO you! Your Before Porch was an embarrassment to the neighborhood and the world. ;)

    1. Haha! Yes, you're right. I could barely carry my Geronimo balloons with pride.

  2. Well done! I love that you kept in mind the challenges and long term goals of working with a drought-heavy area, and the fact that some plants just can't handle so much heat!

    1. Thanks! We'll see how the do. So far they all seem to be doing really well. August/September will be the true test.


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