Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Front Lawn Landscaping - Our Yard Gets a Facelift

Remember how I've said one of the things I really dislike about the house we rent is our yard?  And how I'm bound & determined to fix that, or at least improve my feelings toward it, this year?  Well I have started taking steps to love my yard a little more.  Granted, I haven't started on the backyard, which is the worst, but that's because it's still too wet to mow- Brendan tried to do one row last week & the mower kept sinking & getting stuck.  So since we can't mow it, this means it's too wet to rake, too wet to aerate, and too wet to let the dog run around in, and too wet to deal with in general.  Every day it doesn't rain I'm happy, every day it rains I feel like we've taken two steps back...

But, ok, I must stop whining about the back yard & show you the AWESOMENESS that has occurred in the front yard!  When you see this you will proclaim that I am a landscaping all star & that I should change my life's work in favor of trimming bushes & laying mulch.

Not really, but, seriously, I think it's pretty awesome.  See


And after:

I must admit, my parents came to help.  And we got pretty muddy.

It was a muddy, long, thoroughly enjoyable day. Is it odd that I found this enjoyable?  It took the three of us 4 hours to accomplish this.  That 12 man/women-hours folks!  Here's the step-by-step:

1) Dig - sod-y, root-y, muddy, HEAVY!  This was the hardest part.  Good thing it was first on the to-do list.  My dad brought his wheel-barrel over & we'd load the dirt & weeds into it & he'd take them to the back-yard & dump them into the lowest spot in the yard (the place where all the water from seemingly the entire neighborhood congregates & takes weeks to dry after it rains).  Once it does dry, I'll rake out that dirt to fill the low spot- at least a bit- to hopefully help it run off a little better.

2) Trim bushes - This was actually harder than it seems.  My arms got tired.  Plus those two bushes on the far right of the house are ALL GIANT thorns.  Like one-inch long thorns.  I wish I was kidding.  I still have one in the palm of my left hand & it's a week & a half later.  I don't know what that bush is, but I'm angry at whoever decided it was a good plant to put in.  It's not like it's a rose bush or anything pretty... just thorny!!

3) Pick up bush clippings - Otherwise known as "get stabbed by thorns from stinkin' bushes 800 times".  Also, spot bush that I previously didn't know existed.  It appeared dead, so my dad gave it a little pull & it just pulled right out of the ground super easy.  It wasn't getting any sun since it was directly behind giant stab-y bushes, so it had to go.

4) Head to the Home Depot!!!  - My favorite place :)  Purchased big roll of weed block & tons of mulch plus some plastic edging.  I got inexpensive, light colored mulch.  It smells amazing!  I also bought a weed-whacker while I was there, 'cause we needed one, and a little garden shovel so I can start planting in the garden soon!!!  Woot!

5) Back home, dig little trench for edging - My dad did this.  He put the edging in too.  He just dug a little into the ground where it was going to go there along the walkway to the door & stuck the edging in, then scooped the dirt back in around it to hold it there.  He also moved some rocks that were doubled up in places on the right side of the house so that the rocks would go all the way around the bed on that side.

6) Lay weed block - This is what my mom & I did while Dad laid the edging.  It was kind of hard.  Getting that weed block under those bushes was a little complicated.  Plus I had crappy scissors that weren't cutting very well.  That's a problem.  My recommendation is this: Get good scissors.  Yea.  They tell you to use those little stakes to hold it down, but I don't think they are necessary & didn't use them.

6) Pour mulch everywhere! - Make sure it covers all of your weed block & that you don't have pieces of black weed block poking through your mulch.  Mulch should be laid thick! 

And then, voila!  You instantly have the best landscaping on the block... or just decent landscaping such that your house now looks like someone may actually live there.  Hooray!  Every time I drive up I smile now because I don't have to look at all the weeds.

Now I know that there are quite a few holes - plant-less holes - in our little beds.  I assume plants used to be there & died.  I have ideas for these spaces, but you'll have to wait to see them once I've done them, because I don't want to spill the secret :)  It's gonna look even better in a couple of months!

Have you done any big yard projects lately?  I love spring & have so many things planned!  Have you ever had to clean out a bed that looked as bad as ours?  Haha!

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