New electric + ipe planter

This post didn’t come together well. First, we lost all of the pictures showing the building process, and now, I’ve rewritten the intro to this post so many times that I’ve finally given up.

Here’s what you need to know. We didn’t run electric from the firehouse to the carport (i.e. future garage) before we laid the concrete for the patio/parking pad. Doh! That left us looking for an aesthetically pleasing way to run the necessary conduit across the patio. Our solution: Hide the conduit under a gorgeous, custom ipe planter.

Viola! I love it! (SQUEE!)


First we had to remove an unnecessary fence post. (You can see it below in the middle of the fence.)

I should back up and explain that we hired a contractor to install the requisite posts for the fence. Given the sheer size of the yard and the brick laden soil, we felt it was well worth the money to farm out that piece of labor. Something got lost in translation and we ended up with this totally unnecessary and barely-bolted-to-the-ground post between our back door and the carport. We knew we would take it out eventually, and we didn’t even bother drilling into it when we installed the cor-ten. Instead, this piece of fence is attached to a post that is secured to the firehouse on one end and directly to the carport on the other.

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Anyways, back to the post. A little brute force left us with a clear stretch of fence. The ghost mark from the post will eventually rust and be less noticeable.

Then Aaron installed plastic conduit from the junction box on the firehouse (where he ran electrical outside last year), over the back door, and then across the gap from the house to the garage. Here’s where I would love to insert all of the process pictures that were accidentally deleted.  Sad face.

What’s hiding under the ipe is a box made from treated lumber that sits on legs to raise it off the ground and level. Running beneath that is the conduit, which is attached to the bottom to offer some extra support.

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The planter also has a small bump by the garage door to allow the door to open entirely.

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A middle support beam offers extra stability.


I am totally smitten with this piece. It’s a gorgeous, custom piece that demonstrates my husband’s craftsmanship. He made this from scratch, drafting the plans, working with the slope of the patio, carefully layering on the ipe (the lines of the ipe match up to the ipe on the garage for goodness sake!) It’s not the first thing he’s constructed (or even the largest, see the viewing room) but it’s so beautiful. Honestly, I feel so lucky to have a man who can create a custom piece that would have cost thousands of dollars to have someone else conceive, design and build it. Geez! Sorry for the love fest… Long story short, I’m in love (with the planter and my husband.)

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Obviously it will make a bigger impact when everything is in place, but I didn’t want to wait to tell you about it, especially because it will be apparent in some of the wider shots of the patio. Plus, we really needed to get this project done so  we could get rid of the extension cord that’s been powering our garage doors for… um… months. #renovationrealities


In the spring, we’ll line the inside with landscaping fabric and fill it with dirt to create a home for herbs and vegetable plants. This will give me lots of space to expand my existing, potted herb garden. Since this planter sits against the cor-ten, which gets quite warm in the summer, we’ll have to see which plants thrive in which area. We’re also considering trellising a column of ivy up the side of the firehouse. All of which will bring some life to this space and break up the brown tones.

I can’t be the only one with an inordinate amount of love for a seemingly random home project. What are you crushing on in your abode?

  1. Dude, I’M in love with your husband about now! This is gorgeous!! Really nice solution to a tricky problem. I’m excited to see how it looks next year, all prettied up with green things, and maybe twinkly lights? (I might be itching for some sparkle now that our days are getting so short.)

    Kudos, Aaron!

    1. Haha! It’s like the flu. It’s going around 😉
      We may already have some lights….

  2. Great solution to an electrical problem! We’ve got electric lines running across our backyard like too-high clotheslines, and they need to be buried at some point. We’ll have to dig up the backyard to do it, so I’m envious of your “make it pretty” electric-hiding project. Can’t wait to see what you plant in it. Kudos to your husband for a beautiful piece!

    1. Thanks! The more I tried to write about it the more I realized how much I love this piece. We never would have installed it if we had run the electrical. When life hands you lemons… 😉

  3. Wow, I’ve been following your blog for a couple months now. This is beautiful! I can’t wait to see what you grow here. It will make the walkway to and from your garage just beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Andrea! I’m excited to fill it up in the spring 🙂

  4. I just heard about your blog from one of my readers. She’s been following our remodeling project (a repo we bought last November) and thought I might enjoy seeing your project. So impressed! I love the idea of a firehouse. I always thought it would be fun to live in something other than a traditional house. When I have a chance, I’ll go back through and see what you’ve been doing.

    I love projects like that, too. They add a touch of class and uniqueness.

    We’re in the process of refinishing our wood floors. A couple of weeks ago we did Phase 1 and now we’re finishing Phase 2. Oh, so much work and so much dust! But it’s almost done and the floors look fantastic. My husband is a master, too. He can take something really ugly and make it beautiful!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Isn’t it awesome to have husbands that can get things done? I’ve started telling all my unmarried lady friends that they should put “handy” near the top of their list 😀

  5. I am in LOVE with that new planter! Envious of your husband’s carpentry ability. You are SO lucky.

    (For some reason, your posts aren’t showing up in my AOL reader so I didn’t know I was SO behind. Catching up!!)

  6. […] finished the planter between the firehouse and the garage last year in time to film our episode of House Hunters: Where […]

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