Saturday, October 5, 2013

Landscaping Overhaul

I have been meaning to blog about our landscaping for the past few weeks, but just haven't gotten around to it. I have a cold and feel crummy, so we just decided to hunker down today, hang out at home, and stay cozy & warm. It snowed here early Friday morning. Yuck...snow...the first week of October. It's gone already, but it has still been chilly. I don't think our decision to keep the heat off helped with my cold either. So tonight, the heat is on, and I'm laying on the couch under a blanket- blogging. Finally. 

We had decided that this summer we would re-do our front yard landscaping. But due to my year round teaching schedule, our trip to Cancun, and family visits for most of the summer, we didn't get started on any landscaping until August. Here is the only before picture that I have. I totally forgot to take more close ups. 
Our house had basic, old fashioned landscaping. The bushes were scraggly, there were ugly rocks, and we had one tree. 

Well, sadly, that one tree did not make it through the big early May snow storm we had and we were asked by our HOA to have it removed. Sad day, especially when it was our ONLY tree. Well, good thing it wasn't really that big and we didn't really love it's location- smack dab in front of our front door. So we had it ripped out and we laid sod where it was so that Mark wouldn't have to mow around a tree in the middle of the yard anymore. 

The next step was ripping out all of the bushes. 
I really wanted to start completely fresh. So Mark got to work on digging them all out. 

You can tell we really didn't spend much time on our yard for most of the summer. Look at all those weeds! I think because we knew we were going to take it all out that we didn't really care what it looked like in the mean time. 

We had A LOT of rock. Mark and I attempted to remove it all, but we really overestimated our abilities. Well, more like my abilities. I lasted about an hour before I was making phone calls to hire someone out for the heavy lifting! Ha! 

See that small section to the right? 
That's the only area we, or more like- mostly Mark, cleared. The rest of the rock was shoveled and hauled away by some hardworking landscapers for a couple hundred dollars. Well worth every cent! 

Oh, and this picture does show the pretty pots we planted early in the summer. I did want something pretty and welcoming as people entered our home. 

Mark's hard work.

Look how much cleaner it already looked with the bushes and rocks gone. 

And check out our new tree...
Mark and his Dad built this side bed and planted our new tree. It's a baby, but we hope with lots of TLC it will be a tree we will enjoy for many years. It will be fun to watch it grow. 

In the photo above, you can also notice our fence. We had it power washed and re-sealed this summer. You can really notice how much cleaner it looks next to our neighbors, who's hasn't been cleaned in awhile. They should be the same color. ;)

We kept the shape of the preexisting flower beds. But we bought some new bushes and plants. 
Because we waited so late in the season, most stores were limited in their plant selections. So we bought a few, but we decided to wait on finishing all of the planting until we have more options next Spring. We want to make sure that we love everything that we buy, we don't want to plant just to have it done. 

This bed is pretty much done. It is the only area that does not get much water from the sprinkler system, so we needed to be sure to plant hearty shrubs here. We chose a few grasses and ground covers. All of the big rocks are from Mark's Oma's house before it was sold. So it's nice to have a little piece of her with us in this way. She had a beautiful yard! And we're working on making ours the same. 

I think I've just been too busy, because I totally forgot to take other pictures of the yard before it was  damaged by rain and snow storms. Ahhh! We had days and days of rain and flooding, along with some hail. That combined with frost and snow, hasn't been the best for our plants. But I guess the moisture is good for our dry climate. 

So here are a few pics that I snapped this weekend...
You can see that we still have many areas that we can plant in. And we still need to run drip lines. But our grass and especially the small circle we sodded have done really well this year, despite a HOT, HOT summer. 

This past Spring we actually started the front yard improvement by adding the wooden rocking chairs you can see on our front porch. With these and our bench, we have room for us all to sit and chill out in the fresh air. I had always wanted a front porch big enough for rocking chairs and now I have them. The rockers were well used this summer for sure!  

Here is a view from the side. We will plant some annuals in the area around the tree. 

We are really happy with the dark brown bark Mark picked out. 

On the other side of the house, Mark made a crushed gravel pathway towards the gate so that he can get the mower down. We have a walk out basement and will eventually want to pour a stamped concrete path down the side to a patio below. We would also like to extend our deck and add some stairs. But that all will be when we win the lottery! Ha!

Another project I had in mind to spruce up the front yard was updating our poor mailbox. Here is the before...and here is the after...
I had planned on spray painting our old one, but a brand new one at Home Depot was only $17. So I decided to save myself a little time and just get a new one. Then Jill made me the fun vinyl to put our address on it. Thanks Jill! It turned out super cute. 

 I sanded and re-stained the post. And here is the finished product...

Our neighborhood is full of kids and it is such a front yard neighborhood. Which we love! We all chat and watch each others kids and pet each others dogs. It's homey and safe. It feels so good now to have a fresh, pretty place to all come together.
We can't wait to put the finishing touches on it and to continue to increase our curb appeal next Spring. 
But then we'll just have to move on to the backyard...which is also in need of a desperate overhaul. 
Oh well, such is the life of a home owner. 
We are so thankful. 

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