Posts Tagged ‘landscaping’

Daddy’s Helper – Raking Leaves

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

I love it!  My two men working hard out back.  Oliver likes helping out, especially when it involves his daddy, the outdoors, and a shovel.

Kids want to feel useful and contribute to their families.  If you give them the “tools” to succeed, it’s amazing what they will accomplish.  In this case, we gave Oliver a real short-handled shovel and a milk crate to fill with leaves.

He worked hard, until his face was red and his nose was runny, and he filled his milk crate to the brim.  He was so proud.

He was busy for a long time and enjoyed himself.  Even better, it didn’t cost anything for all this fun and the yard got cleaned up!

Curb Appeal Always Includes Flowers

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

We met with the realtor yesterday and he did a walk through of the house to let us know what else needs to be done before we list.  He sympathized with our renovation fatigue and said this:  The bottom line is curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal, NO CLUTTER, and cleanliness. 

One of the best ways to amp up your curb appeal?  Flowers!

Adding flowers to your landscape seemed like a no brainer.  Here’s a lesson learned – save it for the end.  Don’t add your flowers until you are ready to sell.  Otherwise, you will have to devote too much time and effort into maintaining them and keeping them alive before you sell.  Case in point, we bought a ton of flowers at the end of May thinking that we wanted them to become well established before we listed.  I had visions of huge blooming mounds of marigolds and geraniums dancing in my head.  Two months later? Over half of those flowers are deader than a door nail.  With regular temps in the 100s, little to no rain, a crazy busy remodeling schedule, and two kids to raise the poor plants went the way of the dodo.

Our second attempt is looking good.  Lowes has hanging planters of flowers for $5 each.  The planters are stuffed with many plants and they are blooming like crazy.  I plan on planting an entire pot at a time in the ground.  For the yellow ones, the flowers are so dense I will subdivide each pot into two separate “plants”.  In the end, I actually saved more money by purchasing the hanging baskets than if I bought individual flower plants.

OMG, I have hostas in the front yard!  With all the junk we had piled on our driveway and the weeds a mile high, I was never able to tend to my front of house.

I gave all the shrubberies up front a buzz cut, pulled out the rotted fencing, weeded and mulched the flowerbed and dropped my pots in the ground.  It’s not a bad start.  I have one more layer of plants that I will add in between the bushes and flowers, but that step isn’t critical right now. 

As for my own advice about waiting to plant until the end?  You heard it here… We are 2 weeks away from listing – at least, that is what we are pushing for.  The realtor will be back next Tuesday to check on progress and the following week to hopefully post the house.  Fingers crossed!

Freshen Up Planter Box 1

Friday, June 24th, 2011

In 2007, the hubby built these wonderful planter boxes around some of our trees in the yard.  Since then, the stain has faded and the soil has eroded somewhat.  As a part of our curb appeal project, my mission is to refresh the boxes with more dirt, new stain, fresh plants, flowers, and mulch.

It’s been tough finding time to do this with 2 kids and a million things to do.  Yesterday, we pulled together as a family and tackled it while Evelyn took her late afternoon nap.  Even Oliver helped out bringing flowers from the back!

The hubby had already translplanted the mums and hostas from this box to the side yard.  I then raked the box clean and turned over the existing soil a bit.  The hubby threw in an additional 6 shovelfuls from our “excess dirt” pile from other projects. I split 2 geraniums to make 4 plantings and also planted a host of marigold flowers in between.  I’ve been told that marigolds will keep the mosquitos away.  I am crossing my fingers that it is true.

Luckily for me, I scorched and destroyed my favorite little sauce pot on the stove earlier this week.  The pan is absolutely perfect to use as a scoop to dig soil out of the big bags.  I added several pot fulls of Miracle Grow potting mix to each planting section and worked the soil in with my hand trowel.  When I planted each plant, I tickled the roots apart and nipped flower buds off to encourage new growth.

The last thing I managed to do before I passed out from 90+ degree temps and high humidity was to mulch with large pine bark nuggets.

While I was busy planting, Oliver helped clean up the random bricks in the yard.

Look at that form!  Children naturally know the proper way to move heavy objects.  How come we forget that as we grow up?

This morning I was able to duck out and restain the boxes while Evelyn slept.  The hubby had already power washed the box when he did the porch earlier.  I took a stiff broom to brush off the dirt and went at it with the stain.

Here’s our little box all complete.  Looks much better!  I will hit up the other boxes next week.  I have one little one up front and a monster one in the back.

Project Costs: $24.50
Time: 4 hours
2 Geraniums – $10
1 flat of Marigolds – $10
1.5 bag Pine bark mulch – $4.50
Stain – leftover from original project

To save money on labor costs, hire a toddler to help.  They work for cookies…

Landscaping Side Yard

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

On the kid’s side of the house, there was a huge, unruly, thorny, and ugly holly bush that had grown out of control.  When Oliver scratched his face on the thorny leaves while running past it, the hubby took a pickaxe to the roots and buh-bye holly.  Getting rid of the holly left a big crater in the ground and the house seemed a little bit naked.

We bought an azalea to replace the holly bush, but it looked so lonely all by itself.  We hatched a plan to landscape around the bush over the weekend.  The hubby turned over all the dirt and sunk black plastic landscape edging.

Oliver loved this part!  He got to dig in the dirt with daddy and actually turned dirt over all by himself.

I went around the yard to scavenge for plants to move.  Two years ago, we saw an ad on Craigslist for free liriope.  The lady had it growing out of control in her yard and she said we could have all that we could dig out and carry.  Well, we hauled quite a bit away from her yard and used it here and there at our house.  At the time, I had split each liriope plant into 2-4 clumps and planted them with hopes of transplanting them later. 

Well, now is later.  Those little clumps have grown into large healthy plants and were ready for us to dig up, divide, and replant.  I also dug up some hostas from a planter box and had a few new flowers to add to the mix.

Water break!  The temps were in the 90s, but Oliver played and played like it was nothing.

I used pine bark mulch to tie everything together and voila, project complete.  We are doing something similar on the opposite side of the house where the chimney is at.  This will match the work we’ve done on the front of the house.  

Project costs:  $55
Azalea bush – $8
2 Geraniums – $10
13 Impatiens – $10
4 bags Pine Bark Nuggets – $12
20+feet edging – $15
2 Hostas – free
6 Liriope – free

Planting Holly Bushes

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

After having our weekends derailed by rebuilding the porch for the past 2 weeks, we have finally planted our holly bushes.  These were the bushes that we had on our February “To Do” List.  We faithfully checked our local garden centers all through February and they didn’t get any bushes in until some time in March.  Home Depot had small holly bushes on sale for $2.50 each.  Lowes had the same bushes for $6 each.  We ended up buying 18 bushes from Home Depot to create a hedge along two sides of fencing in our “back 40”.

Evelyn got to charm daddy while mommy checked the placement of the bushes.  She was so excited to be with him she barfed all over and had to go inside!  That’s baby love for you…

We planted the bushes 4 feet away from the fence and 4 feet apart from each other.

Here’s one of the reasons why we need the hedge.  We have dogs on pretty much every side of our house.  Oliver likes to go up and poke his hands through the fence at the animals.  Not a good idea.  Currently, we have a couple pieces of plywood and a shredded tarp tacked to the fence.  We chose holly because 1) they are fast growers, 2) they are nigh indestructable/drought tolerant, and 3) they are prickly and hopefully will be good child deterrents.

Evelyn changed into one of Oliver’s outfits and rejoined the party.  This might be Oliver’s old jumper, but Evelyn is just as cute in it!  It’s for 6 month’s old and is already too small for her.  She’s growing as fast as those holly bushes!

Oliver had a piece of mommy’s pop tart – a rare treat.  He actually carried it around the yard savoring it with tiny nibbles for a good 1/2 hour.  (His hair looks much better, doesn’t it???)

We ran out of hollies faster than I thought.  We did make it to one of our neighbor’s wood panel fence, so that’s not too bad.  Our plan to shut out the world is in motion.  Only one length of fence open to the public is left and then we can potty train Oliver outside bare butt without anyone watching! (just joking … or are we?)

How do you screen out unpleasant views from your home?

February Yardwork: Trimming bushes and trees

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

According to Gardening in the Carolinas, it is time to whack back our shrubberies and trees.  It was a blustery day with temps in the 50s.  The entire family bundled up and went outside for some sun and a lot of fresh air.

The hubby did most the whacking and I got sidetracked playing with the kiddos.

OMG! He is adorable!  I’m sure the hubby could have used a hand cutting off a 30 foot limb while standing on a ladder using a bow saw, but look at those eyes!  Who could walk away from this?

And if her brother wasn’t cute enough, Evelyn kept cooing at me.  She didn’t like the wind too much, but loved staring at the bushes and trees.

We put Oliver to work hauling branches.  This lasted all of 10 minutes until he figured out it wasn’t a game after all!

Here’s the hubby struggling with that limb.  Needless to say, the day ended with him going to buy a chainsaw.  There are times to be frugal and save the money, but then there are times to be safe and do the job right.

Oliver can’t wait to see how everything looks after we finish with the trimming tomorrow.

Have you started working outside in preparation for spring?  Depending on your climate and what zone you live in, you might need to get outside right now to trim back your bushes and trees before they start to bud.  Check out a local gardening book from the library or search the internet to find out what should be trimmed and when.  For us, our legustrum bushes, holly, and trees need to go now.  Our azaleas have to wait until AFTER they bloom in the spring since the flowers grow on last years branches.

More on this landscaping project to come…

Project 52: Glimpse Into Motherhood

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