How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel

How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel

Hello friends. It’s Jessica, from Decor Adventures with some easy tips to get your home ready for the cooler months ahead. I’ll show you how to winterize your rain barrel, which goes perfectly with Brittany’s recent guides on ways you can keep your home warm this winter and how to protect pipes from freezing.

Rain barrels have been growing in popularity and are now a common way to save money on water use for your landscaping. They are also great for corralling water way from certain areas of your property. If you have been looking for a rain barrel, check the local environmental non-profit organizations in your area. They often sell them at a discount.

Now that winter is approaching, those barrels must get properly put away so they can last for many years to come.  We’ve been using our barrel for five years to collect water from the 1-car garage and help water the garden all summer long.

How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel

Here are a few tips on how to winterize your rain barrel:

Connection of a rain barrel to the gutters of a building can be via a few methods:

  • Gutter diverter – an attachment you can connect to a downspout to easily close off the water supply to the barrel and return it to a straight downspout once you aren’t using the barrel over the winter or when it gets full.
  • Flexible gutter – connects the downspout from the gutters on the garage to the rain barrel. These are also called flex-a-spout or vinyl elbow at the home improvement store and are very handy for diverting water in a non-straight path.

[Read more…]

Lowe’s Spring Makeover Tour

Lowe's Spring Makeover Reveal Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you been following all the Lowe’s Spring Makeovers? There were 10 in all, and each one is truly a miraculous transformation. If you remember, there were 10 bloggers who were sent to 10 different areas that were hardest hit by this past winter. We all combed through hundreds of applications to select 10 homeowners who deserved a fantastic makeover. There were challenges; there were lots of Lowe’s heroes who stepped up to help with those challenges; and there were lots of happy tears in the end. You’ll definitely enjoy reading each story and seeing the reveal!

If you’re ready to start the tour, grab a cold drink and head this way—>>> [Read more…]

Lowe’s Spring Makeover – The Heroes Who Made it Happen


**This project and post has been sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. They are a company that works hard to give back to the community. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to make a difference in one family’s life. Thank you, Lowe’s!**

Working in Massachusetts to give a deserving family a Spring Makeover was a rewarding experience! It was two solid days of labor; hoping for no rain; running for more bug spray and tears (happy tears.)

I could not have accomplished this massive project without my fellow DIY bloggers:


Beckie from Infarrantly Creative and…


Jenn from Build-Basic.

And, there is no way we would have finished in two days without the help from all the Lowe’s Heroes (and volunteers) who came out to help us!


These kind folks gave up their time (and muscles) to help transform a barren front yard into a paradise.


Here’s some behind the scenes photos: [Read more…]

DIY Firepit and Seating

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Firepits are very popular right now. You can purchase a simple firepit at your local home improvement store, or put in a little sweat equity and create a DIY Firepit with Seating.

When we had several hardwood trees taken down in our yard, I asked the tree guy to cut some of the base pieces of the tree trunk into 18″ segments to use as stumps to sit on.

Then I set about creating a DIY firepit and seating in our back yard.


  • Shovel
  • String
  • Stake
  • Stick
  • Rocks or fire ring
  • Sand
  • Bag of drainage gravel
  • Slate, stepping stones or pea gravel
  • Mulch or crushed stone
  • Stumps or seating
  • Wood to burn


Begin by locating a level location to build your fire pit. Take note of any overhanging branches and trim them away from the firepit area. Hammer the stake into the center of your firepit area. Attach string and make a loop in the string at 6 feet. Insert a stick into the loop and walk around pulling the string taut while dragging the stick in the earth to mark a 12 foot diameter circle. Create another loop at 4 feet and repeat marking an inner circle. Finally, create a loop at 1 foot and drag the stick to mark the firepit ring area.

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Dig a hole in the 2 foot firepit ring area. Remove any roots from the dirt. Dig about 12″ down. Fill the bottom of the hole with gravel. Add a layer of sand on top of the gravel. Line the 2′ firepit area with a fire ring or rocks (or both).

DIY Firepit and Seating | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour sand around the 8 foot diameter circle and set your stepping stones or pea gravel in this area. [Read more…]

How to Install a Birdhouse on a Post #DIYCourage

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Hey y’all! I’m back with another easy tutorial. This is another #DIYCourage project sponsored by Duluth Trading Co. Do you love birds? Want to add some birdhouses to your property without attaching them to trees? Today I’m going to share a super simply DIY project that will make the birds happy and make you smile. Learn how to install a birdhouse on a post within an hour.

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

My sons and I love watching the birds come to our kitchen window feeder. We want to make our yard a welcome place for all birds. We wanted to add more birdhouses to the yard by adding a two-story birdhouse. We already have two birdhouses (one that is a little wacky and made with knives), but I’ve always admired the two story birdhouse condos that house eight nests. When I saw one at the Southern Ideal Home Show (with a discounted price tag) I snatched it up.

(contains some affiliate links)

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl


Select a location to install your birdhouse. Try to find a spot that will get a decent amount of shade during the day (to keep the birdies from getting too hot.)

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Twist the post anchor into the ground. When it becomes difficult to turn, insert the pry bar for added leverage.

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Set your 4×4 post into the anchor.

[Read more…]

WORX Hedge Trimmer review

WORX 56v MaxLithium Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

We have a very wooded and heavily landscaped lot with lots of mature bushes. Some of the bushes were starting to achieve monster proportions. Do you see the resemblance?

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

This is why I needed a bad boy hedge trimmer on my side. WORX sent me the 56V MaxLithium Cordless 24″ Hedge Trimmer  to try out. It turned out to be the perfect tool for our yard. Previously I tried the 20V MaxLithium Cordless 20″ Hedge Trimmer, but it didn’t have the muscle I needed to power through our landscaping. The 56V WORX hedge trimmer definitely had the power to cut easily through all our shrubs and bushes. But, the extra power is the result of a large battery which does weigh more than its 20V sibling. However, I’d much prefer a little extra weight because the trimmer can cut through bushes and shrubs much faster (saving on arm fatigue in the long run.)

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The WORX 56V MaxLithium Cordless 24″ Hedge Trimmer requires the assembly of the handle and shield when you first remove it from the box. You will need a philips head screwdriver.

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The battery pack should not be in the trimmer during assembly. Simply slide the shield into place (just above the blades) and secure it with the screws shipped with the tool.

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The handle requires some outward force to snap over the trimmer.

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The handle is secured with one bolt on one side.

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

Snap the battery pack in place and you’re ready to tame that jungle you call your yard.

WORX 56v Hedge Trimmer Review | Pretty Handy Girl

Trimming the pampas grass used to be a tedious job using manual hedge shears and I inevitably lost the battle with lots of scratches. [Read more…]

Lowe’s to the Rescue for a Spring Makeover – Apply Here!


Can we all agree that Winter was a big fat bully this year? He stayed around longer than he was welcome and wreaked havoc on our homes and yards.

According to the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI)* the following cities were declared the “10 Bleakest Cities of 2015″ after suffering through the harshest winter conditions.:

  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • New York City
  • Portland, Maine
  • Providence, Rhode Island

Lowe’s and I want to come to the rescue of a few homeowners in those cities. We want to swoop in and discover creative solutions to spruce up and/or improve their homes and communities. We want to bring a Spring Makeover to a deserving homeowner. Do you live in one of the “10 Bleakest Cities of 2015?” Or do you know someone who does? Keep reading!

11 bloggers and Lowe’s volunteers will fly in and complete makeover projects that have been neglected or delayed because of extreme winter conditions.

Did your landscape plants die under the harsh winter conditions?

Landscaping 101: Tools, Planting, and Adding Color to your Landscaping | Pretty Handy Girl

Maybe your front door took a hit from old man Winter. Tell us all about it and maybe we will come give it a facelift.


Or maybe you spent so much time shoveling snow outside that you didn’t get to finish those indoor projects.


Hey, maybe you just need some beautiful curtains put up so you can conjure up warm sunny days when the weather outside is frightful.

Installing Blinds and Window Treatments | Pretty Handy Girl

These are the bloggers heroes that will be coming to your rescue:

All Things G&D | Beneath My Heart | Brooklyn Limestone | City Farmhouse | DIY Playbook | The Golden Sycamore | Home Stories A to Z  |Just A GirlLiz Marie Blog | Our Fifth House | Pretty Handy Girl  and Lowe’s Home Improvement Volunteers!

Although I wish we could bring on a big fat extreme renovation project at your home, we’ll have to dial it down to a project that can be accomplished in two days (allowing for time to eat and sleep.) Selected projects should be easy refresh projects such as: landscaping, outdoor rooms, painting,  and easy interior updates.

**If you live in one of the “10 Bleakest Cities of 2015” please submit a deserving makeover project between Monday, April 13 and Friday, April 17th.

You will be asked to:

  • To be eligible you must meet the following criteria:
    • Be looking to fix up a space within their residence
    • Makeover project should be able to be completed within 24 hours
    • Must live in: Boston, MA | Buffalo, New York | Detroit, Michigan | Hartford, Connecticut | Louisville, Kentucky | Nashville, Tennessee | Newark, New Jersey | New York City | Portland, Maine | Providence, Rhode Island (or surrounding suburbs of those cities)
    • Must be the owner of your home.
    • Be outgoing, energetic, and fun with unique stories to tell.
    • Be comfortable being on camera and/or interviewed by local media
    • Be in need of expert design help from one participating blogger.
    • Be able to make quick decisions in order to keep tight timelines.
    • Be available for a 2 day period to complete the makeover (between April 20-May 22).
    • Allow photos of your home to be shared online
    • Must be 21 years of age or older to apply
    • Complete the online application form and agree to the terms.
    • To apply visit:
    • We will only contact eligible participants

Important: To Submit your Home, Please apply using this survey form!


If you don’t live in one of the “10 Bleakest Cities of 2015” you can still get inspired to improve your home at


Get plans and directions to create many projects including this painted trellis planter:


Or discover 8 Great Ways to Update Your Deck:


With Spring finally here, Lowe’s is looking to help people move past winter by giving you ideas for a quick makeover!


As always, you can also visit the Lowe’s Creative Ideas website for more DIY Project Ideas!


*The winter severity index analyzes the intensity and persistence of cold weather, the frequency and amount of snow, and the amount and persistence of snow on the ground based on historical context.

**Applicants will be selected after consulting with Lowe’s and all 10 bloggers. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Lowe’s. I was compensated for my time. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.

How to Build a Temporary Pergola

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

This tutorial to build a temporary pergola is perfect for a wedding, photo shoot, for some shade, or for your garden if you are okay with it not lasting forever.

My sister and I constructed it for our Thompson’s WaterSeal Bali Dream Deck to provide some romance and shade from the hot Bali sun.

Bali Dream Deck for Thompsons Water Seal | Pretty Handy Girl


Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

  • 2 Trellises (with double vertical construction)
  • 1 Trellis
  • 4 – 2 1/2″ wood screws
  • Drill bit
  • Drill
  • Clamps



Dry fit your trellis pieces together to create the pergola shape. Make note of where the top trellis intersects with the two side pieces.

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes through the top trellis piece at the four intersecting points.

Build a Temporary Pergola with Trellises | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes into the top outer pieces of the vertical side trellises (where they meet the top trellis.) [Read more…]

Heart Shaped Topiary

Heart Shaped Topiary | Pretty Handy Girl

The season of love is upon us. Have you embraced it? Or are you struggling to find something cute but not cutesy. Or something non-red or pink? Today I have a tutorial to show  you how easy it is to create a heart shaped topiary. Keep it for yourself or give it to the one you love. As the vine continues to grow, the heart will be embraced by the leaves and fill out.

In late Autumn, we had a final blue bloom on our hydrangea bush. I clipped it and brought it inside before the impending cold snap arrived. To keep the hydrangea company, I put a few snips of variegated ivy into the vase too.

Heart Shaped Topiary | Pretty Handy Girl

Over the winter, the ivy grew a healthy root system. Ivy is an easy plant to root. Simply put some clippings in water and keep it watered. After the ivy has rooted, you can create a beautiful topiary plant for a kitchen window sill.

Heart Shaped Topiary | Pretty Handy Girl

Begin by collecting your materials.


Heart Shaped Topiary | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Ivy with roots
  • Copper water line or thick wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pot
  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Potting Soil
  • Trowel
  • Water

Optional: string, floral wire or a twisty tie

Instructions:  [Read more…]

WORX JawSaw Product Review

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirlWORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

A few months ago WORX sent me their WORX Lithium Cordless Chainsaw with Extension Pole for a product review. Our property is very wooded and we have so many trees that I’ve lost count. I do know that they need pruning and maintaining on a regular basis (at least every six months.) I knew our yard was a good test environment that would put the JawSaw through a rigorous test on our hardwoods and ornamental trees.

Recently one of our smaller trees died and needed to be removed. I charged up the JawSaw battery and snapped it in place after it was fully charged.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

As is always the case, as I got closer, that little tree didn’t look so small. I honestly doubted I’d be able to use the JawSaw for this task. But, I was pleasantly surprised when the jaws fit around the trunk.

To work the JawSaw, you have to push the button with your thumb and pull the trigger at the same time. To start the saw moving, you push the handle in towards the shaft.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

The blade easily cut through the tree trunk. And within about fifteen minutes I was able to cut the tree down and cut it into manageable pieces.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

Next I added the pole attachment to trim branches up to 12 feet high. The pole slides into the slot near the black handle. The handle snaps into the handle clamp on the pole. The JawSaw handle needs to be pressed into the shaft and the red bar is inserted into the bottom to lock it in place.  The power pack slides into the battery slot on the JawSaw. The battery pack is then inserted below the handle on the extension pole.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

The pole extension has a 12 foot reach, but you will need to position one hand on the black shaft to operate the JawSaw.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

After positioning the JawSaw “jaws” around the branch…

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

…pull back on the black shaft to set the blade in motion.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

The JawSaw does all the work for you while you remain safely on the ground. I also like the JawSaw because it gives the user a safe distance from the blade. With a regular chainsaw kickback is always a concern.

Logs and branches can be cut directly on the ground because the “jaws” blade guard holds the blade just above the ground. You can’t do that safely with a regular chainsaw.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

The only negatives about the JawSaw is that you will need to have a battery charged ahead of time (but I much prefer the cordless vs. a corded yard tool.) And you are limited to a 4 inch cutting diameter.

Using the JawSaw on the extension pole is a bit awkward, but I don’t have the strongest arm strength. However, once the jaws are around the branch you don’t have to support the saw the entire time.

WORX JawSaw Review | PrettyHandyGirl

Overall, this is one yard tool that I’m happy to have in our tool shed. It is invaluable for safely removing limbs and cutting up small trees. I highly recommend the WORX Lithium Cordless Chainsaw with Extension Pole for tree trimming and small tree removal over a chainsaw.



Disclosure: This is a product review for the WORX JawSaw Cordless Chainsaw. I was provided with the tool at not cost to me. However, I was not swayed to write a positive review or write anything at all. This is NOT a sponsored post. As always I am very particular about the brands and products I choose to showcase on this blog.  

How to Compost – Magnificent Garden Soil

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you compost? Oh my gosh, if you don’t, why not?!!! It is easy, it’s great for the environment and it will result in amazing nutrient rich soil that surpasses anything you can buy from a store! Some of the additional benefits are that you will reduce the amount of trash you produce and keep things out of the landfill.

Now, I totally understand if you are living in the big city in an apartment and really don’t have space for compost let alone potted plants. But, if you have a yard, you really should be composting! It’s easy, it takes very little time and my little gardening BFFs (aka worms) do all the work for you.

How to Compost - Secret Gardening Formula | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s right, they eat up all your kitchen and yard waste and turn it into beautiful black soil. How do they do it? Well, if I tell you, you have to promise that you won’t get grossed out. They poop it out. LOL. Yup, compost is decomposition and worm castings (a nicer word for worm poop.) Please don’t run away, find out how easy it is to create this magnificent garden soil.

Here’s the basics for how to compost and get top quality soil for your garden and landscaping for FREE! [Read more…]

3 Step Little Red Wagon Planter

3 Step Wagon Planter Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Container gardening is easy and great for instant color gratification. But, it’s especially fun to find “unconventional” objects to use as a planter. You may have noticed my little red wagon planter in the Landscaping 101 post. My 3 Step Little Red Wagon Planter is sure to bring color to your landscaping while also providing some fun and whimsy. Plus, it’s easily rolled to a new spot if you want to change your view. But, the best part is, you can make this planter in 3 steps!


  • Drill
  • Large drill bit
  • Little wagon or other container
  • Rocks
  • Soil
  • Plants
  • Hand trowel

Instructions: [Read more…]

Landscaping 101 – Tools, Planting and Adding Color


When we bought our first home 13 years ago, we were lured by the idea of having at least half an acre of land. Little did we know that it would involve LOTS and LOTS of yard work. Over the years we’ve learned several tips and tricks to creating beautiful landscaping that will last for decades. If you’re a new homeowner (or still trying to find your green thumb), here’s the Landscaping 101 course to help you hit the ground running. I’ll be sharing which yard tools are essential, how to pick the right plants, how to plant them, and how to add color to your landscaping. Plus, stick around because I have a True Temper giveaway to fill your shed with new yard tools! Pull up a stump and lets dig in! [Read more…]

25 Ideas for Tabletop Gardens and Terrariums


As the weather changes and the flowers start to wane outside, it’s a great time to focus on bringing natural beauty indoors. I’ve gathered some beautiful and unique ideas for creating your own tabletop gardens. For those with less time to water, may I suggest trying one of the succulent or cacti gardens. Regardless of the plants you use, I love the wide variety of creative containers used for these mini-environments.

Let’s get started with some beautiful tutorials for planting a tabletop garden:

1. Easy Terrarium in Minutes! [Read more…]

How to install landscape bed black edging

Jaime here from That’s My Letter to share an easy project that will make your landscaping look clean and neat.


We just moved into a new home with tons of landscaping, it’s full and lush and mature AND lacks definition from the grassy yard.

edging 6

With help from the folks at True Temper® I installed landscape edging using the round point shovel and black plastic edging to create that defining line between grass and plantings: [Read more…]

How to Grow an Incredible Crop of Tomatoes


Last spring we completed my raised bed stack stone garden.  It served as an incredible place for me to try my hand at growing vegetables.  I planted green peppers, strawberries, onions, basil, oregano, jalapeños, and 9 tomato plants. Yup, you read that right N-I-N-E tomato plants in three different varieties.  To be fair, most of the plants looked very sad and I really thought half of them would die.  Much to my surprise they not only lived but they thrived to insane proportions and produced over 2 bushel, which is equivalent to over 100 lbs of tomatoes.  That’s a whole lot more than I expected!  I was knee deep in tomatoes and quickly taught myself how to can tomato sauce.

Last year I chose to stake the tomatoes using 5′ plastic garden stakes and garden support tape.  It worked great for a little while but when the tomatoes got to a certain size, the stakes started to bend from the weight of the plants.

This year I am doing things differently to make sure my plants get the full support they need for their growing bodies ;-).

Planting and Staking Your Tomatoes [Read more…]

How to Recover Outdoor Pillows and a Mini Patio Makeover #LowesCreator


When Lowe’s challenged me to give an outdoor spot a mini-makeover, I knew exactly where to turn my attention.

Our small paver patio is where we sit on warm spring days to eat lunch, take a break or sip wine after dark. The winter months wreak havoc on the furniture and the pillows I neglected to bring inside.



Cleaning the furniture was as easy as a quick sponging with a Mr. Clean magic eraser.


Then I hosed them down and was done in less than 10 minutes. The pillows weren’t as easily cleaned. I tried to wash them, but they were still a little dingy. So, I headed to Lowe’s to look for new ones.

As I entered Lowe’s with my complimentary gift card in hand, I found myself wandering down the curtain aisle again. (Do you gravitate to this aisle too? With all those colors, patterns, and textures it’s hard for me to stay focused on my shopping list.) [Read more…]

Outdoor Planter from an Ice Bucket #LowesCreator


Being a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blogger is one of my favorite jobs as a DIY blogger. I love walking the aisles of Lowe’s, with my provided gift card in hand, dreaming of finding mundane objects to transform into amazingly beautiful objects. For example, what do you get when you cross an ice bucket with a stove pipe connector?


[Read more…]

Easy Potted Clover for St. Patrick’s Day


Valentine’s Day is in one day, right? So, what am I up to? I’m getting ready to celebrate the return of spring and St. Patrick’s Day of course.

In North Carolina, the trees are starting to bud and a few have flowers. I’m super excited for the arrival of spring. In addition to the flowers, the weeds have also started to pop up. But, there is one weed that I don’t mind sticking around for a little while.


Although clover is technically a weed, it is also is a beneficial plant for your yard. It encourages bees to visit and help pollinate your flowers. Clover also produces nitrogen which is good for your lawn. And finally, it is a low growing evergreen plant, which means more green in your lawn. [Read more…]

Fall Leaves Garden Flag with Google+ LIVE Video Tutorial

Hi, Y’all! Did you know it’s Fall Y’all! Yup, the weather has finally turned in Raleigh, NC. To celebrate this colorful season I’ve created this beautiful garden flag using a few simple supplies from the Dollar Store. Scroll down for the full material list.

If you want to watch the tutorial in my Google+ LIVE hangout, view the video below.

We will start promptly at 10am PST (1pm EST). But, don’t fret if you miss it, you will be able to play the video at your convenience later.

(If you are viewing in your email, click HERE to view this post on my website.)


Joining me is the fabulous Sandra of Sawdust & Paper Scraps and Sharon from Mrs. Hine’s Class. It’s going to be a lot of fun so stick around.

[Read more…]