Moving into my new place in Denver meant I had to give up one of my favorite things about living in Florida: outdoor space. I went from a sprawling backyard with enormous garden, chicken coop, and big patio to a tiny upstairs stoop and a shared courtyard. It’s an undeniable downgrade, but I love my new city digs — the only solution is to work with what I’ve got!
When the folks at Sierra Trading Post asked if there was anything I needed to help settle into my new place, I was a little confused. How could a gear company help me with household needs? Well, I quickly came to find that Sierra Trading Post is secretly a killer place to score home goods! Crazy, right? They have everything from small kitchen appliances to decorative throw pillows — and they ended up providing the perfect solution for re-vamping my small outdoor space on a budget.
The first thing my patio area needed was somewhere to sit. The Picnic Time folding travel table with chairs was a great choice for the main piece — it doubles as camping furniture too! The lightweight folding table is surprisingly sturdy, and the two small accompanying chairs fit perfectly in their tiny stoop nook. A seating area outside has led to new habits of eating lunch al fresco, reading in the sunshine, and taking more breaks from sitting inside all day. I have left the set outdoors for a few months now, and it’s held up well through rain, hail, and even a few late-spring snow storms.
I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much greenery — so I ordered a few planters to give me an excuse to buy new plants. The matching plastic pots were quickly filled with young tomato plants (which have since all been relocated to my second-story windowsill to protect my veggies from greedy squirrels). My four little tomato stalks aren’t exactly impressive, but they still help fill the void of not having a garden anymore. I love that taking care of my plants gives me another reason to spend a bit more time outside each day.
Bonus: If you’re an addicted plant collector like I am, check your local thrift stores for cheap pots and planters — then head down to the local farmers market to snag some plants like these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes I got in Denver!
PS: How gratifying is that feeling of getting dirt caked under your fingernails while gardening? Ugh, so good.
My tomato plants all started out on the main stoop near our front door, but I quickly came to realize two things: first, that squirrels are really sneaky little sons of guns who cannot be trusted; and two, that having a touch of green in your bedroom just makes every day a little bit brighter. After Randall, our resident bushy-tailed kingpin, managed to swipe my prized baby green heirloom and felled my biggest plant, it became pretty clear that I needed to move my tomato plants off the stoop. They live in my windowsill now — and I love it.
I wake up every morning amongst the trees — okay, it’s more like amongst four foot-tall plants that might never give me a real tomato, but I still love it. It’s like I have a little slice of nature surrounding me at all times. When you live in the middle of a big city, even the smallest touch of the wild can make you feel more in touch with the outdoors. Try it, get a plant, put it by your window, and see how quickly you fall in love.
As much as I adore sunshine and daytime adventures, I also wanted to make my outdoor space more inviting at night. The Pine Top Mounted Solar Stair Lights set offered an affordable way to add a little brightness and decorative style to the otherwise plain steps leading up to the stoop. The miniature solar panels on the lanterns provide a reliable charge and perfect little glow, but my lack of patience with proper installation (read: instead of screwing the lights into a wall, I just propped them on random steps) led to the lights getting knocked off the staircase by squirrels. I shattered two solar panels, but the rest are still working despite multiple two-story tumbles.
For less than $150 total, I managed to entirely remodel my second-story stoop, create a living space that my entire household actually uses — and now I have a badass little micro garden dangling off my bedroom windowsill. All it takes is a little imagination, a little dirt, and a little help from Sierra Trading Post. Need some inspiration? Check out Sierra Trading Posts’ Pinterest page!
Full disclosure: Sierra Trading Post provided me with the supplies to re-vamp my little urban outdoor space — but my opinions here are 100% my own, especially all the stuff about how much I hate my neighborhood squirrels. I should have never fed them those tortillas!