A thought on my 2023 garden…

Tips for making and keeping a bountiful garden.

This post contains affiliate links and sponsored product mentions.

I like to think of every season as a new opportunity to grow and expand, each presenting unique opportunities unlike the last. The garden is the perfect example of the unpredictable circumstances that life presents us with. Temperatures fluctuate, rainfall differs, and pests cycle through-all factors in how your garden will flourish or fail. For example, two years ago my cucumbers gave me jars of pickles to share with family and friends…last year the temperatures were a record high, rainfall was a record low, and my plants shriveled before they had the opportunity to produce a single flower.

I’ve tried a few times to start a garden journal, recording what/ when I planted or what I did well, all tucked into a neatly bound book. I have failed miserably, resorting back to the chaos: “If it survives to see another day, then it’s a keeper”. Honestly, I believe every gardener has to share this sentiment on some level or else we would all lose our minds striving for perfection in a stacked race against nature.

Now that our home is complete and life is starting to form some sense of routine and regularity for the first time in years, I wanted to set focus on making my garden truly functional to our needs. The past couple of years has been about getting my toes wet, and learning how my environment affects certain things I like to look at or eat. Now: I want not only a pretty garden but a bountiful one as well.

Let’s dive into ways to make a garden both of these things.

1.) Invest in a good quality soil and compost mixture. Strong plants start with healthy soil.

2.) Spend 10 minutes in the garden daily. This not only will keep you on top of any issues that may arise, you may also find yourself feeling lighter and calmer after spending some time in the dirt.

3.) Plant what you enjoy. This will make the above easier.

4.) Minimize clutter with a Hose Reel by HoseLink. I absolutely love how adding in my 82′ Retractable Hose Reel (in Beige) minimized the visual clutter of tangled hoses. These hoses also come with quick-link connections for simple, hassle-free watering. The Retractable Garden Hose Reel is a wall-mounted unit featuring a high-quality spring-loaded hose that automatically rewinds on command, making watering a breeze and cleanup even easier.

5. Make use of vertical space! By utilizing trellises and archways, you can maximize any garden space. Think outside your norm and plant vining vegetables like squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers to reduce pests and disease!

Make your garden work for YOU, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and change things up as you learn. Happy Gardening friends!

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna

Coop Maintenance

Because we built our coop on the larger side and allow our birds to free-range, my maintenance schedule is very reasonable and easy to incorporate into our lives. Note that chickens are animals, and no coop will be clean all the time, but keeping a coop clean and free of moisture is vital to your flock’s health. Chickens poo where they roost, so keep this in mind when building a coop/placing roosting bars.

Everyone’s cleaning schedule looks a bit different based on their flock’s needs, but below I have outlined what works for us:


My chickens have an auto door that opens and closes on a timer to allow them to free-range during daylight hours.

Remove eggs

Check Water in run

Fill feeders in run


Add a new layer of shavings to the coop (or as needed). Replace any nesting pads that are spent.

Scrub any poo-covered “touch” surfaces- now that I have added a ceiling to prevent my hens from roosting in the rafters, poo should stay out of the storage or contact spaces.

Add in dried herbs to freshen the coop. Or apply a coop spray.

Sprinkle First Saturday Lime and/or diatomaceous earth on surfaces to prevent unwanted buggies.


I completely remove the shavings, leaving behind a small amount of the old so any existing good bacteria stay incorporated.

Add a new layer of mulch in the run


Deep clean the coop with a pressure washer to remove any unwanted substances from walls, spray with a white vinegar/dish soap spray then scrub, rinse, and allow to completely dry.

Sprinkle First Saturday Lime and Diatomaceous Earth on surfaces

Apply a thick layer of new shavings

Replace nesting pads.

Remove mulch from run (I place it in my in-ground beds) and lay a new, thick layer of mulch.

I find this schedule pretty easy to follow, and adapt as I see fit for the health of my flock-but I hope this helps give an insight into what to expect when owning chickens!

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna

2022 Summer Garden Tour: Inside Our Chicken Coop

It has been one year with our cozy chicken coop (click to learn more about the process)! We have adjusted, we have learned, and we have made some adaptations to the coop. While I answer a lot of questions over on our Coop FAQ page, below I am highlighting a few more questions and sharing pics of our beloved chicken coop to date (with some winter decor and all because life has been a little too hectic to worry about changing our coop decor)!

This may contain affiliate links

As always, be the first to see updates on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

I’m wearing some of my favorite overalls and they are linked HERE.

Why chicken wire and not hardware cloth?

My chicken wire is extremely sentimental to me: it was on the chicken barns of my family farm. My father and grandfather were commercial chicken farmers; and when my father passed, my sister and I decided to liquidate the barns. I salvaged the rolls of wire from the debris and to me, it feels like a piece of home.

If you have large predators, yes hardware cloth will be a more secure option. We do not have large predators and I have found that on the rare occasion we have had a snake (once) they prefer to enter through the open chicken door.

What type of siding did you use?

Multi-Use Primed Grey Engineered Panel Siding (0.34-in x 48-in x 96-in) This is pre-primed, so ready for paint!

What type of bedding do you use?

We use pine shavings inside the coop and untreated local or cypress mulch in the run.

How much did the coop cost to build?

We did not keep perfect records of the receipts for the coop-bad practice on our side. But, after tallying it up we roughly spent $6000 on our coop, (give or take) not including any decorative lighting or electrical runs. We saved on a lot of costs by doing a majority of the labor ourselves and salvaging windows, wire, and doors.

Most of the cost came from our cement base and the standing seam metal roof. (We also built during the height of cost increase, so give or take on today’s cost).

What does maintenance look like?

Personally, I think chickens are extremely low maintenance as long as you are able to keep their coop clean of dampness, most bacteria or fumes won’t accumulate. While everyone’s cleaning schedule will vary based on flock needs-you can find a more detailed outline of my cleaning schedule HERE!

What are your favorite coop features?

I absolutely love our coop, so it is hard to pick just one! My personal favorite features are:

  • the walk-in ability for easy cleaning
  • cement floors (easy cleaning)
  • storage space
  • electricity for lights and fan
  • easy access to nesting boxes

If you had to change/add anything, what would you do differently?

One of my biggest regrets was not finishing the ceiling-which I recently completed. My hens would roost in the rafters and poo into the storage side-making it difficult to touch anything without getting flakey poo on myself. That problem is now solved!

If I had to “change” anything, I would have made the run even larger. But now that we have the lama crew, my chickens are safe to free-range with added protection.

To learn more about our coop, click HERE.

Thinking about adding chickens to your home? Tap HERE for some things to consider!

Want to see more of the Summer 2022 Garden Tour? Check out the posts below!

Introducing the Tour

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna

Introducing the Summer 2022 Garden Tour

The garden is finally at a stopping place. A state of rest for the hot summer months. Now is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the last 18 months of projects that have made the garden what it is today.

In reflection: I cannot believe it has been 18 months yet only 18 months since we began staking out the chicken coop that started it all. It was bitterly cold and windy, but on New Year’s day 2021, the garden was started with stakes and string- the beginning of a dream come true. But dreams are not handed to us-they require work and often growing pains. Hard lessons learned and time traded-in. I have no regrets because the garden process has been filled with so many memories and sweet lessons in both skill and life.

I’m excited to launch my Summer 2022 Garden Tour. I will be highlighting the following spaces week by week here on the blog and on my Instagram using a mix of static photos, and video content. I cannot wait to take you along.

Overall Layout and Components

The Greenhouse

Our Cozy Chicken Coop

In-Ground Landscaping

What I Grow in Zone 8a Summer

This week: We dive into the basic Q&A of the overall layout and garden components.

To explore ideas that inspired my garden, click HERE

What Growing Zone are you in?

I am Zone 8a!

To find out what growing zone you are located in, click HERE for a link to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map and input your zip code.

What is the overall dimension of your garden area?

Our garden is approximately 45 ft x 45 ft

What are the dimensions of your Greenhouse?

While I will go into more detail regarding the Greenhouse in a further post, it is approximately 10 ft x 16 ft plus some for the entryway.

What are the dimensions of your Coop?

While I will go into more detail regarding the Coop in a further post, the enclosed Coop is 10 ft x 10 ft. The Run is 12 ft x 9 ft.

The new duckling run addition is approximately 10 ft x 10 ft.

What is your ground cover and what did you use underneath?

I chose crushed limestone for my groundcover. Crushed limestone compacts better than pea gravel and I personally liked the color variation more. Underneath, I used tar paper (for roofing) and landscape fabric to assist with run-off or drainage near the in-ground beds. I will say, the landscape fabric areas are where I have to do the most weeding-something to consider.

To read more about our groundcover… click HERE

What color are your stepping stones?

These are Oklahoma Gray flagstone

Did you build your raised beds? Will you add more?

Yes! Each box is 4 ft x 6 ft.

You can read more about the raised boxes HERE. And YES I plan on building 4-6 more boxes in the future for more edible crops growing capacity. Little bits at a time.

How did you make the arch trellis?

Using a cattle fencing panel and some t-posts!

Tap your 4′ t-posts in (I only needed two because we secured to the box side with metal strapping (as you can see in the image above) and then bend the fencing into an arch-securing with wire or sturdy zip ties!

Our fencing was already on property, so we used what we had. But, I would say this 12′ fencing builds about a 6′ tall arch if placed on the ground with the ends approximately 3′ apart.

Did you build the fence?

I did! And you can read more about them (and snag a tutorial) HERE.

What stain color do you use in the Garden?

Thompson Waterseal Timber Oil in Transparent Teak

The fence is Olympic Mystic Black Solid Color Exterior Stain and Sealant

What direction does your garden face?

The Greenhouse door faces North.

The Garden gets 6-8 hours of sun in the summer, with morning shade until about 11 am in the summer due to surrounding trees.

Do you have a dripline or automatic watering system?

Yes! Without an automatic watering system, my plants would not survive. I will cover this more in my segment about the garden boxes. 😉

Any other questions about the garden layout? Send me a message or DM on Instagram and I’m happy to answer them!

Want to see more of the Garden tour? Check out these posts:

Inside Our Chicken Coop

Talk soon,


Greenhouse Sink

I have a functional greenhouse sink! With running water and a drain and it’s beautiful! Below I answer some of the FAQs and go over some of the steps I took to transform the free stainless steel sink into the pearly white sink of my dreams!

You can find videos of my Q&A on my Instagram highlight: Q&A Greenhouse

This post contains affiliate links.

How to Paint a Stainless Steel Sink:

Materials (click for links):

Brass Faucet

Brass Drain

Stainless Steel Sink


Appliance Epoxy Paint


The Process:

1.) Begin by cleaning the steel sink- I used Bar Keeper’s Friend and 0000 steel wool. Rinse and let dry.

2.) Scuff the sink with 180 grit sandpaper

3.) Lightly coat with primer. Once dry, sand with 220 grit sandpaper then apply another light coat of primer. (This gives a smooth finish). Repeat until the sink is covered evenly.

4.) Lightly coat with appliance epoxy paint, sanding with 320 grit between coats. Apply as many coats until evenly coated.

Most common question: How does it hold up? So far, it has held up great. This is epoxy paint similar to what would be on a refrigerator, so it is pretty durable. I did have to touch up some spots after we dropped it and it scraped on the asphalt…so it will scratch if you drop it.

Q: How did you run the plumbing?

We connected our faucet to a garden hose! This works in an extremely similar way to your indoor plumbing-the faucet stays on and the water flow is turned on/off from the sink handles! (We only hooked up to one handle because there is only one water temperature). Designs By Studio C has a great blog post showing step by step on how to hook the sink to a hose.

Materials I used:

Teflon Tape (seals the threads)

1/2″ male to 1/2″ male nipple

1/2″ female to 3/4″ female connector (this connects the hose to the faucet connector line)

Faucet connector line (1/2″ to 1/2″)

Q: Where does it drain?

We ran the drain right out the back of the greenhouse, and down an exterior pipe that waters my trees! (There will rarely be anything that is used in this sink that is not garden/plant safe).

Q: What materials did you use to make the drain?

I wanted so badly to use brass drain pipes, but life got in the way and I used PVC then spray painted the pipes gold to coordinate with the sink faucet! (sand pipes with medium-fine grit, clean with rubbing alcohol or acetone, then apply spray paint in light coats).

Keeney 1-1/2-in Plastic Slip Joint End Outlet Continuous Waste

Charlotte Pipe 1-1/2-in x 1-1/2-in Hub x Hub 90-Degree Schedule 40 Elbow

Charlotte Pipe 1-1/2-in x 2-ft PVC Pipe

Oatey Handy Pack 8-fl oz Purple and Clear PVC Cement and Primer (only use on parts that do not have threads)

I absolutely love my greenhouse sink. This space gives the option to rinse off after an afternoon in the dirt and gives easy access to a water source for all those newly potted plant babes. And to think that my sink was FREE! it was already on the property when we bought it, and I’m so glad I was able to give it new life.

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna

We Bought Lamas! (and here’s why)

Our new farm additions are finally home, and I am so excited to share them with you all! Lama’s (alpaca and llama) were not originally on our radar. I had llamas growing up and to be quite honest, I didn’t like them. They weren’t interacted with and always seemed a little too rude for my taste, so when we made the decision to get a llama (and consequently 2 alpaca) I was a little apprehensive.

But as soon as they unloaded the trailer I knew this was right and that they were home. Everyone: meet Cleo (white alpaca), Calliope (brown alpaca), and Hercules (llama).

Cleo and Calliope are huacaya alpaca and are approx 4 and 6 and have the possibility of being pregnant due to running with intact males on the farm. Hercules is a 2-year old gelded male llama (which means he cannot sire any babies) and will be great at his job.

You can follow along with our journey and see more videos/photos on Instagram: @theroostingplace


Why Lamas???

Here’s the big question: why lamas? Well, it’s storytime ladies and gentlemen:

Our property has a one-acre pond that is fed by a creek. Because of this, during the winter months (Jan-Mar) we are frequently visited by a lone coyote that travels the creek, probably to travel to his breeding grounds. Usually, it’s fine, we had a mutual understanding to leave each other alone. Except for this year, Mr. Coyote decided to break that understanding and started to linger a little too much. While he never caused any tangible problems, he began hovering closer to the little house and eyeing our barn cat Kissa.

So we decided to look into a guard animal before we added any other small friends to our little farm. Personally, we aren’t in a place that warrants a large guard dog (LGD). Apart from hawks, our main predator is the lone coyote, so we couldn’t rationalize purchasing a puppy and putting it through training right now-we just aren’t in a place for that.

Our next thought was a donkey. Which was honestly my husband’s first choice. But after researching we decided against a donkey due to the fact that the suggested grazing space per donkey (remember you need at least 2 for companionship) was 1/2 acre. Our massive pond lies smack in the middle of our property, and at the moment we can only fence off 1/2 acre for grazing and felt like even if we supplemented with hay that 2 donkeys weren’t in our cards.

So we researched further and learned that llamas are amazing guard animals- their natural disdain for unwarranted dogs and innate loyalty to their herd make them a prime candidate for our little farm. And you can graze up to 6 llamas (or 8 alpaca) on a 1/2 acre of land!

After a lot of searching, we found a small farm northeast of Dallas that raises llama and alpaca for sale. Originally we were going to get two llama and call it a day, but when we were informed that this particular farm also had alpaca, AND the female alpacas were cheaper than the female llama (plus the possibility of being pregnant due to running with intact males) we were sold.

We spent a little more than we intended-but their faces are too adorable and hopefully the presence of a large animal roaming will allow us to range the chickens (remember, we have hawk).

Cleo and Calliope

Lama Fun Facts:

Llamas are amazing protection animals.

Llama and alpaca take up less grazing space because they have padded toenails. These are more gentle and do not tear up the root systems as quickly.

Llama and alpaca are excellent foragers and help clear brush.

Lama only need a shelter large enough to protect from inclement weather, they mostly will sleep outdoors

Lama pee/poo in a community toilet pile.

Shop this look on LTK: Link HERE

My workboots are from Xena Workwear nad

“But what about the spit!?”

Lama spray/mist as a form of communication, typically this act will be a way for one to show dominance over another member of the herd. It’s a very common activity and warrants saliva which is similar to what you or I would sneeze.

What many people “fear” is true spit. Lamas are ruminants, which means they have 3 stomachs. This allows them to regurgitate the contents from their first stomach and “chew the cud” to further break down the nutrients. The cud then moves into their second and third stomach compartments, which will contain the acids used to digest the foliage they ingest. True spit is regurgitated from these compartments, which is why it is so disgusting. (stomach acid, broken down grass, saliva…eww.)

However, as nasty as it is for us, it’s also extremely unpleasant for the lama to perform this action, and only happens in situations of extreme distress or threat. Typically, the abuser will receive a warning spray and body language that suggest a change in action before they resort to the act of true spit.



Llama and alpaca need to be shorn once per year and have their toenails trimmed

Be aware of deworming schedules (this differs by owner and area)

Supplement with hay if there is no grass/foliage to forage.

Provide minerals (NO COPPER)

Overall, these animals are timid, kind, and extremely simple to care for. You can build a bond over time, but they are not known to be “cuddly” animals and equate to having cat-like personalities. We are extremely happy to add them to our little farm and excited to see how their personalities shine over the next few months.

Cleo and Calliope

Talk soon,


Greenhouse Progress

There are so many repurposed treasures in this space: the wood wall (made from an old fence on the property); the brick pavers that I found on Facebook Marketplace (which I stained to become the pink floor of my dreams); the estate sale lockers/birdcage (that I paired with another Facebook find to create into a fairytale chandelier); the doors that were found inside a barn that was on the property…

My sweet friend Emily at EMphotography captured some beautiful photos of our in-progress greenhouse that brought me to tears. I wasn’t able to capture the true tones of these pavers with my good ‘ol iPhone and Emily came in and blew me away with the gems she captured.

We have so many more things to do until the greenhouse can be dubbed complete, but these are the moments we work so hard for. These are the details that make my heart sing. This is what makes me happy.

Greenhouse Brick Pavers

Brick pavers are precious to me. I love the aged feel they give to a space and how connected to history I feel when I walk down a row of them. So much that before I began building the greenhouse when I found a few pallets of gray concrete pavers on Facebook Marketplace for a steal of a price I knew I needed to buy them. And until now they have been sitting in a pile collecting leaves and dirt, minus the few here and there that I pulled for garden bed edging.

Now they have a forever home right here in my greenhouse. But they didn’t get this far without a little TLC. And the process made so many people (including myself) doubt and question everything the moment I started staining the pavers pink. But there are no regrets.

Photo: EMphotography

“There is no perfection, only beautiful versions of brokenness.”

-Shannon L. Alder

Here’s how I did it.


  • Cushion sand
  • concrete pavers
  • Valspar Concrete Stain (solid) in Red Sandstone and Garnet
  • White (S) Mortar
  • Hydrated Lime

First, begin by leveling your cushion sand. To me, this is one of the most difficult parts and I did not do it perfectly (I’m totally okay with that). We used a laser level to run string line grids and then leveled the sand to the same-ish height from the string line.

Lay your brick pavers in whatever pattern you choose. I did a 2×2 “woven” pattern. I used extra sand to level individual bricks as I laid each one. You will want to wear some form of gloves or you can kiss your fingertips goodbye.

Once your pavers are laid, here is where you start staining. I used my two colors to mix a middle shade for variation, but you can do as little or as many colors as your heart desires. I found that using a paint roller is quicker, but you will still have to go in and touch up edges/add your variation colors by hand brushing.

When your stain is dry and you are satisfied with the color placement, simply pour your mortar on top of the pavers and use a broom to push the dry mortar into the spaces between your pavers. Lightly add water after you have swept the mortar into the cracks and use your broom to push the “sludge” into the cracks. Here, if you want a clean brick look, take a sponge and clean each individual brick. If you want a messy mortar look, leave it alone to dry.

Add another layer of mortar in the same method as before if needed to fill any extra gaps.

Once your mortar is dry, use a brush or large broom to scrub your bricks and rinse off the excess mortar remnants.

You may choose to leave your bricks as is, or if you want a more delicate look, you can apply a limewash treatment. Limewashing will give your bricks a “chalky” finish. I did not use limewash paint on my bricks, but a traditional wash composed of 15-20% hydrated lime to 80% water ratio to make a slurry that was then rolled over my bricks and allowed to dry. Becasue lime is a mineral (calcium hydroxide) the limewash will flake off in time and will need to be reapplied if a sealant is not put on top. I chose to not apply a sealant as I want my brick look to “weather” over time.

Right after application of the wash

Apply in thin coats, and let it fully dry in between to see how light it gets. If it is too dark you can always scrub or power-wash the excess off.

So what did this cost?

Overall, the total project (160 sq ft) cost me:

  • Cushion sand (1 yard) $20
  • Valspar Solid Concrete Stain (2 gal)-$50
  • Concrete pavers (facebook find)-$100
  • Mortar (3-50 pound bags)- $35
  • Hydrate Lime (80lb bag) $12
  • Misc brushes and tools-$30

Total: approx. $247

Finding the pavers on Facebook Marketplace was a huge cost saver here, and I have so many leftover from buying several pallets (used for garden bed edging). But if you cannot find any on Facebook, concrete pavers typically run about $0.60 per brick ad are about 4″x8″ in size. To buy pre-colored red ones, you are looking at about $0.75 per brick (buying them pre colored takes away from customizing your color).

You can use this calculator to help determine the number of bricks you will need for your specific project size!

My greenhouse is now ready for all those final touches (filling missing window panes, potting benches, lighting, shelving..etc) and I’m so excited to watch the full character of this greenhouse come to life! But most importantly… PLANTS! Spring is in the air and aI cannot wait to fill this space with all my little plant babies.

To see more greenhouse photos taken by my good friend EMphotography, check out the blog Greenhouse Updates.

Talk soon.

God Bless,


Deck the (unfinished) Halls

No, the greenhouse isn’t done, and my to-do list is so long it is rolling out the door and down the driveway. But I decorated anyways.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to do things that make no logical sense to anyone else and take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally. Taking a pause and decorating the (incomplete) greenhouse checked off all those areas for me by giving my body a break (to be honest it’s been asking for one), my creativity was able to flow freely, and I was brought joy by plugging in those sparkling lights. Take care of yourself during this season, you need it.

This little corner has me excited about the possibilities for next year. To look back and see how far we have come and to watch the progress. But, all in its’ own time-we’ll get there. For now, we enjoy the now.

You can watch this progress on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

I knew this was going to be a temporary and short-lived endeavor since I’ll have to keep working on the greenhouse, so I focused on natural elements while incorporating some alternating textures like burlap and ribbon.

I also could help but incorporate my newest, and most comfy, lounging outlet: a hammock chair! Again, pulling natural elements this chair is the perfect addition. Along with my legumes canvas art for some added texture (when in doubt-add texture!)

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”

― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

Autumn at the Coop

Fall in Texas is hard to come by, and pretty short-lived. But I’m so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers.

For more updates, follow along with me on Instagram: @theroostingplace

To learn more about our DIY Coop, please click here.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost-“Nothing Gold Can Stay”