When last we left off with back deck, it looked like this. (Yeah, we lived with that astroturf for the past eight months. Yikes.) This post has a wider shot of the roughly 7x20' space. It's small, but there's plenty of room for a round table and chairs and a grill. So with the warmer weather enticing me with promises of barbeques in my near future, and my new shop-vac giving me the necessary boost of courage, I pulled that nasty astroturf up, scraped up the flaky glue and loosened concrete with a planing shovel and a wire bristle brush. Then in was time to vacuum.

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Some of you guys had questions about shop-vacs since I mentioned mine in this post. They are very, very powerful vacuums that you can use to suck up anything - water, spilled paint, sand, sawdust, rocks - and the mess deposits into this big rolling bucket that you just dump out when you're done cleaning. But the filters are pretty basic, so I wouldn't recommend using them in your home for regular cleaning. They're almost too powerful for that. But they're amazing for messy outdoor projects. This is after literally one swipe of the shop-vac:

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And here's what the floor looks like now. I scraped up as much of the glue as I could for now. We might still rent a wire brush drill bit to clean it up more, but the concrete is a little fragile, so we'll probably just skim right over everything with a fresh layer of concrete before I paint.

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I also picked up some new boxwoods for the back deck recently. Two big ones for the matte black  planters I bought at Target last summer. And two smaller boxwoods for these new urns I picked up at Lowes last week. I love the chalky black finish!

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I used my favorite pair of pruners to trim up the new plants. 

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I rounded out the big ones and squared off the smaller ones. I'm hoping they fill out this spring so I can shape them a little more.

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I love seeing the shot of green outside the doors in our living room. And I love that the green is not astroturf. :)

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