Monday, April 8, 2013

Backyard Landscaping Project

For the entire time we have lived in this house, our backyard has pretty much looked like a mess.  There were planter beds bordering the yard but the only thing in them were weeds which we did a pretty poor job of keeping under control.  For a long time, we also had a huge hole from where we had dug out an huge dead tree and the planter to the side of the cement patio was a dump area for the old flooring we tore out a year ago when we redid our floors.  It was ugly.
A few weeks ago the weeds were so bad that the borders of our yard were looking like a complete jungle.  One day while I was outside with Clara enjoying the sunshine, I couldn't stand all the enormous two- and three-foot tall dandelion plants so I started picking them.  Then I decided to clear a little patch that was particularly bad.  And after that I started spending around 30 minutes to an hour each day outside pulling weeds all the way around the yard until I had completely filled our huge yard waste garbage can twice over and gotten all of the weeds out.  I didn't do it because I liked weeding or gardening or anything - our yard was just so hideous that I literally could not handle it any longer. 
Once all the weeds were out and I had complained loudly to Paul about how weeds are the worst and I hated them, we decided to at least go get some weed barrier fabric to cover the now-weedless planter areas.  And while we were at it we decided to get some black mulch to put on top as an additional measure to prevent against weeds overrunning our backyard again.  And lo and behold, our yard started looking pretty darn good.  So pretty much on a whim, I went to a local nursery and picked out a whole bunch of plants and spent a few evenings with Paul doing some "landscaping" in the backyard.  I tried to pick out fragrant plants that are supposed to attract hummingbirds and butterflies and we already have a hummingbird that visits on a daily basis. 

I wish I had before and after pictures, but as I have explained, this all happened on a lark and wasn't exactly planned out.  But we think that the final result looks nice - maybe not professional, but at least clean and tidy and weed-free.  Now we are just hoping the plants take root and don't die.  These photos might be boring, but I know my mom will at least be interested in the change in our yard and I can't promise how long it will look this pretty.  And I have no idea how long it will take for some of the plants to fill in so it won't always like quite so sparse (although for my taste, less is more when it comes to plants/landscaping).

The callalilly is perhaps my favorite flower and this plant has always been in the yard.  We just transplanted it to this location and it is thriving. 

This is our shade garden since we get very little sunlight in this corner of the yard, especially once the fig tree leafs out, which it is already doing.

To the far left of this picture you can see the planter boxes that Paul built for me for Christmas.  More on that in a second.

Here are a few collages with each of the plants in the planter beds:

1. Red Butterflies Milkweed (upper left)
2. Gardenia (bottom left - this will get pretty big eventually and have white flowers all over it)
3. No idea what the bottom middle picture is
4. Elberta peach tree

The only plant in the collage above that I can remember is the bottom right, which is called Jack Spratt.  We have two of them.
1. Upper Left - no idea
2. New Gold Lantana - upper middle
3. Coleus 'Vino' - upper right
4. Bottom Left - no idea
5. Coleus 'Henna' - bottom middle
6. Blackcurrant - bottom right

Paul planted our garden.  In the back box we have four tomato plants, green beans, peas and lettuce.  In the front box we have red and orange peppers, basil, cilantro, cauliflower, green onions, carrots, zucchini and squash.  We are also growing watermelon, corn, raspberries and strawberries, and we have a golden delicious apple tree, a fig tree, a peach tree, and Bing and Rainier cherry trees. 

Here is a green bean plant that just sprouted.  So cute!

Our peas are coming up all in rows!

I can't say I love yardwork or gardening.  In fact, to be totally honest (and not to hurt anyone's feelings, especially my parents who love gardening and are actually about to become certified "Master Gardeners"), I really sort of loathe working in the yard.  My eyes and nose have been itching non-stop ever since I started this madness thanks to springtime allergies and even with my gardening gloves I feel like I can never get all the dirt out from under my fingernails.  I am SO glad to have the project done, even if I had a hard time appreciating nature while doing it.  Most of the time I was cursing nature, if truth be told, as I was sneezing and itching and sweating and feeling super gross working in the dirt and being repulsed every time I came across a fat pink worm.  Yes, I am THAT kind of girl, okay?  But I am looking forward to lots of fresh produce later in the summer.

Now we need to think about what should be done about our dandelion infested front yard.  Ugh.


  1. It looks so clean and neat. Nice job! And I am THAT girl too. Do not enjoy it one bit. Maybe someday... Or maybe not.

  2. The collage with the Jack spratt- the one in the lower left corner looks like Dusty Miller to me, and the one on the top right looks like it could be boxwood!

    Great job! I am a lazy gardener. I hate the mess. If I had a hose to help me clean up I'd be much more willing.

  3. i could not see the bing cherry tree in the photo but did see the peach tree. i like where you put your trees at more away from the house they'll also grow better that way i looks like you have a white birch tree.


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