Going Yard

May 29, 2011

..A trait that I've picked up from my parents is a love of yard work.  I love to mow and I used to think I was a little odd for loving it.  I was brought up to believe that the husbands did the yard work.  Well, I have come to find that I'm not alone!  Several women I know love mowing.  I have a theory about this:  lawns stay mowed -- for a while, anyway.  I can spend all day cleaning this house but by bedtime it's back to the cluttered mess it tends to stay.  Therefore, lawn mowing gives me a kind of satisfaction that housework doesn't.  It's also pretty awesome that no one talks to me while I'm mowing.  That's my quiet time every week or so that is most always uninterrupted.

I have big plans for our yard.  Unfortunately, I do not have a big budget for it.  I am notorious for starting a project, starting another, going back to the first, then starting another, then realizing I have two projects started and not finished...  So, when I give you this little tour, you must keep that in mind.

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Let's begin with the front.  This is our driveway and the east side of our yard.  I wonder if I should have something lining the drive at some point?  That sounds like a lot of work and I kind of like the clean lines of the grass meeting the concrete.  You can see the rock retaining wall that separate the "top yard" from the "bottom yard."  On top of that wall is a ledge that is lined with boxwoods (that aren't really growing).  More on that later... 

This is just to the west of the first picture.  Again, there's the rock wall.  We have these four large trees that I think need some landscaping.  My idea would be to create a large bed in between them that conntains lots of shade plants.  I think some color would be nice in there, too.  It will be a few years before I finally make way to this, though.  There are more pressing landscaping matters at hand!

This would be one of those pressing matters!  The rock wall doesn't go all the way across the front.  It stops right here and then we have this hill that I just can't do anything with.  There are other rocks on the hill, but they tend to slide down.  Every fall, when I'm pretty certain all snake danger has passed, I deal with this.  Last fall I used some landscaping timbers to sort of terrace the rocks.  It has helped.  The problem is getting something to grow in there to keep the weeds out.  Those "trees" on the left aren't really trees -- I don't think.  They die every winter and come back in the spring.  They have an almost grape-like fruit in the summer.  I used to think they were muscadines, but I'm not sure.  For now, they are left alone because I don't think I could control them anyway.  What to do with this hill?  I'm thinking about planting some pampas grass (which I don't really like) in front because you can see that I can't mow up close.  Oh, and my weedeater is dead : (

These are my corner boxwoods on the ledge.  I'm slowly working my way along the ledge and weedproofing the space between them and in front of them.  And this grass?  Ugh!  I put out the Weed & Feed this spring, but it didn't do much.  The weeds are finally leaving and my good grass is coming back out.  This scraggly grass is difficult for me to accept because my dad's grass is like carpet and I think mine should be, too!  Seriously, you can walk barefoot in his yard and not worry about a sticker or anything rough.  It's lush!

Here's a side view of that corner.  My cannas down below should finally bloom this year.  I'm hoping they'll spread good in the years to come.  I have a few lilies on this corner (hope they'll spread as well) and my sweet potato vine.  I love sweet potato vine!  Once it gets good and hot, that vine will just take off and trail over the edge so nicely.  LOVE it!

Mailbox garden.  The grass is difficult to keep out of that bed.  Don't judge me because it's not trimmed up nicely!  Honestly, I forget all about this bed most of the time.  The snapdragons and petunias and alyssum are relatively maintenance-free.  At least it gives us a little color.  With a rock house and a rock wall and a big yard, we are really just brown and green!  In the future we'll have more "pop."

The backyard is a mess.  When we moved in, the landscaping the builder had put in back here was really nice.  There were 10 small trees planted in front of the ledge, but because this is all clay, they died after the first year. There was also a bed of rocks leading all the way to the edge of the yard that meets the woods. I'm using those rocks to go in the front ledge instead of mulch.  We're left with the little mounds that are finally leveling out and a lot of weeds where the rocks used to be.  I think we're just going to have to have a load or two or dirt delivered to start fresh back here.

My plans (every spring; hasn't happened yet) are to put raised beds in this corner. 

This is the west side.  My plans?  Pool.  Jamie's plans?  Not so much.

Here's my faithful friend, my grandpa's old wheelbarrow.  This must be at least 40 years old.  Last summer, Gram let me bring it home to help with my rock hauling.  I can get all sentimental about using this, but I won't right now.  My grandpa had an amazing garden and orchard every year.  I took many rides in this wheelbarrow when it was still shiny!  I like to think he would be happy to know I'm using it to work in my own yard. 

Well, I haven't shown you the top yard beds.  They're going to look great once I finish them!  Remember those three projects?  There ya go.  It's cooled off some, so now I'm out the door to water and work a little more.  My yard isn't a showplace yet...but one of these days...you bet!

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