Growing up in Texas, I don’t think I appreciated summer as much as I do now. The weather was temperate during the winter, but summers were sometimes downright miserable. I remember walking outside with grand plans to go bike riding, or play tag with the neighbors, but instead, I’d instantly be overwhelmed by the heat and humidity. I’d walk aimlessly up and down my sidewalk before lethargically dragging myself back into the air-conditioned living room and settling into the couch.
Four summers in Chicago has changed my feelings about summer. No longer is it a time to hide indoors — we save that for winter. Instead, we spend our free time outside.
I’ll work poolside at Soho House, or meet Rob after work at our favorite local spot that boasts a sprawling patio and great views. But, more recently I wanted to focus on our own outdoor space, so I bought a raw wood garden bench.
I know, I know, I probably sound overly ambitious. There’s not a lot of room for a garden on our tiny patio, but I made it work. Since the plants need sunlight, the garden bench sits closest to the edge of the building, which also means that it will inadvertently get wet.
Between rainfall and watering the paints, the bench will get wet, so I waterproofed it with Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofer Plus Tinted Wood Stain in Desert Brown.
Guys, it was so easy.
Even if you think you have zero DIY or handy skills, you can totally pull this off. Thompson’s WaterSeal offers a variety of exterior wood stain products, but I chose Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofer Plus Tinted Wood Stain in Desert Brown because I love the color, it’s available at your local Walmart and works on any untreated, porous wood, so my new bench made from raw wood was perfect!
Step 1: Dress Appropriately
Wear clothes you don’t care about. Thankfully Rob had some old basketball shorts he let me borrow.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Plastic gloves (I had a pair from a previous project), drop cloth, well-ventilated area, lint free clothes and of course, Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofer Plus Tinted Wood Stain. You can get different wood stain colors, and if you want something more opaque, you can find that too!
Step 3: Stain Your Piece
You could use a brush, paint pad, roller, dipping or even a compression driven sprayer (for bigger projects), but years ago, my dad taught me to stain with a lint free cloth. I like this method because it allows you to work the stain into the wood grain, and gives you more control than a brush would.
Step 4: Let it Dry
You only need one coat. Yup, that’s right. You can add a second coat if you want the stain to be a bit darker, but I liked the natural look of my piece with one coat and let it fully dry before using it.
After it was completely dry, I set up the patio for use! I picked up some decorative pots from Anthropologie and planted a rosemary plant, succulent and a fun tropical plant that I thought looked cute! I love having fresh herbs on hand, so I plan on adding a basil and mint plant this week. Any other herb suggestions?
Now when we’re at home, we like to keep the door open to our small patio—our own mini oasis in the middle of the city. I love sitting out there and sipping a glass of wine, listening to the sounds of the city and unwinding at the end of the day.
During the day, I’ll take my laptop out there to get work done or have my lunch. Oliver loves sitting on the patio too—especially when the ambulances go by (he howls at them!). I’m also glad that I don’t have to worry about my adorable little garden bench getting ruined by rain or regular watering.
Do you spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer too? Do you have any spaces in your home that you consider a mini oasis?
*This post was sponsored by Thompson’s WaterSeal, as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Fox & She possible.