Apartment Curb Appeal


We live in a small apartment complex with a carport at street level, a flight of cement steps up to a common patio area and the doors to four apartments.  Metal stairs leads to the second floor and four more apartments.

The cement patio, with adjacent gravel roof over the carport,  inexpensive screen doors, an emergency ladder by our door and a chain link fence around the perimeter, is not the most welcoming space.

In the years we’ve lived here, neighbors have done what they could with plants in containers to soften the starkness.  I’m not much of a gardener and certainly a handful of pots on a paved courtyard don’t make much of a garden, but it does help to make the entry to our home more inviting and welcoming.

Lately I’ve become a little blind to the space that I walk through on the way to and my car, and it had gone from appealing to neglected.

Behind these pots, for example, was a mess of dried leaves, spiderwebs, cat hair and dead bugs.

Neglected Plants

The plants had seen better days.  Someone with more gardening skill (and patience) than I could probably have pruned the geranium and whipped it into shape.  I just see it, all leggy, and feel guilty.

There was a lovely collection of pots of dirt and one badly root-bound pot of spindly mint.

Pots of dirt

The larger boxes have bulbs in them and in the spring it is very pretty with daffodils blooming.  Now, not so much.  I’m still not sure what do do with them in the interim.

Then there was the dead rosemary plant.  I’d had two rosemary plants and the larger, healthier one had been mortally wounded when an upstairs neighbor dropped something over the railing as she was moving out.  It broke both the terracotta pot and the plant.  I gave it a dignified burial.

This one had gone from pathetic to pretty much a dried stick in a pot.

Dead Rosemary

Coming home from work and seeing that dried stick in a pot has been disheartening.

Finally – our door mat: the landlord layered a new one on top of the old one, and the combination didn’t offer much of a welcome.  Now both of them were worn out and ugly. It was time for me to give my garden some attention.

Not so Welcome Mat

A trip to the garden section of a hardware store got me started with a selection of succulents that were on sale.  From what I’ve read about succulents, they are a little more tolerant of some neglect.  I moved all the pots, swept the whole area and got to work potting succulents.

Hello, Aloe

Pieces of abalone shell look nice in between the plants.

Succulents with abalone shell

I love going out the front door for a pinch of rosemary so picked up two healthy new rosemary plants.  I  expanded my options and got thyme and mint as well.

Healthy Rosemary

Rosemary and Abalone

I like how the variegated ivy looked so I put it in the pot with the thyme.

Thyme and Ivy

I found a pot on sale at OSH in a pretty shape and color for the mint. An anonymous neighbor contributed something that might be cilantro that the local kitty is very interested in.  Maybe it’s fresh catnip.  I picked up a lantern and candle at IKEA.

Blue Square Pot

A lavender plant also caught my eye.


Over the course of several evenings after supper and some time on the weekend, it started to pull together.

Plant with driftwood and shells

A neighbor gave me some faux terracotta pots to use, I bought a few new ones and re-used ones I already had.  I put all the new plants into pots, and re-potted the healthier plants.

I was a bit more selective with the pieces of driftwood and abalone shells I’ve collected over the years.

Curvy Driftwood

I think the wood and shells make the patio surface look a little like a beach.

Wood & Shell

I love how the rosemary looks – so healthy!

Spider Plant

The rust on this stake is just the right color for this happy dachshund.


The finishing touch was at the top of the post: a new Welcome mat.

Angled Welcome

The view from the front door is so much better now.

Front Door View

More welcoming, don’t you think?

Kitty at the Door

A few days after pruning and re-potting, this plant has some tender new leaves.

New growth

I’m already thinking about getting a small table and chairs but I think I’ll wait until next spring.

Garden Gloves

Thank you for stopping by.


Filed under Life

10 responses to “Apartment Curb Appeal

  1. Margaret Melsh

    Looks great, Dianne! Wish my new apartment had an entry area.

  2. An updo with a few new things and others refurbished makes a world of difference!…makes you smile when you look at it…doesn’t it!

  3. wow! it really went from neglected to welcoming! 🙂 it’s nice that you added new plants and a new ‘welcome’ mat too! 🙂 you must feel better when you step out of your house now! 🙂

    • I do, thanks Ingrid. I feel like I really started something and have more ideas for things I want to do, like a small table and chairs and probably an umbrella too, but not until next Spring or Summer. I also want to make a little sign for the door but not sure when or what that will be.

  4. Pingback: Prettier Patio Part II | dianne faw

  5. Pingback: Plants in the Patio | dianne faw

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