DIY curb appeal, part 2

Hey there!  First off, I hope everyone had a lovely mother’s day!!  I know I sure did!

Remember how I said I was going to tell you all about our flower bed re-do in my next post and then I didn’t?  Yeah.  I’m blaming the sickness that descended yet again on my house.  This time, poor B was the only one who succumbed (poor kiddo got hand/foot/mouth AND an ear infection at the same time.  Let’s not talk about little sleep everyone got).  Poor kid has had 3 ear infections in the last month- so guess what we’re doing today??  Getting tubes.  Fingers crossed it all goes great and we can put a stop to all the ear infections!!

Anyway.   Last I left you our flower bed looked like this:

 

house with flowerbed

Oh wait…maybe not quite like that.  But do you see the area to the right of the driveway, and the evergreen trees (aka leyland cypresses) in that general area as well?  I’ve never liked that side of the driveway, so I’ve always cropped it out of photos.  Well, we (aka T) finally decided to make a change.

First those leyland cypresses came out.  They were giant (at least 30 feet tall), crowding all the other trees on that side and slowly dying from the base up.  It was time for those to go- so T went out there one day and cut them down!  It was amazing how removing those opened things up!

The flower bed used to have a skinny strip of grass in front of it (right next to the driveway)- not even big enough for the lawn mower.  I don’t know why it took us 4 years to decide that maybe that grass didn’t even need to be there, but after cutting those trees down, T dug the grass out so we could extend the flower bed all the way to the driveway.

There were already peony plants in the flower bed (I was delighted to discover that the year we bought our house) but the rest was just weeds.  I went to a local plant sale and bought some heuchera, columbines, creeping phlox and bleeding hearts (the bed is mostly in the shade).  We got another 10 yards of mulch delivered since we’d run out the last time we mulched, and here’s the end result:

front flower bed

You can see the stumps of the trees T removed to the right of the mulch pile.  And that tree that looks like we pruned it too much is a vitex that blooms in the early summer, and is doing great (although I have to admit, I was a terrified a little afraid that we’d killed it by pruning it back too far)

Soon after planting everything, our resident deer decided to munch on my heuchera (even though it’s advertised as deer resistant).  So now all the new plants are sporting a slightly more “industrial” look (tomato cages plus bird netting):

P1014908[1]

 

P1014913[1]

 

Hopefully they won’t need this extra layer of protection next year, but we’ll see.

 

Here are some pics of my favorite flowers in there:

 

P1014904[1]

Peony

P1014907[1]

Bleeding Heart

P1014910[1]

Columbine

P1014916[1]

This is an azalea, which isn’t in that flower bed they were blooming when I was taking these photos and I love them, so here’s a bonus shot of one!

 

That concludes my little tour of our flower beds!  I hope you enjoyed the pics- I’d love to see some pics of your outdoor spaces!  Feel free to share a link in the comments!

Some DIY curb appeal

**Linking up to Katie Bower’s spring photo link party!!**

Hey y’all- I hope everyone had a happy Easter!  We were pretty low key around here since we have no family in the area, but B did get to do his first egg hunt (actually 2nd hunt- his school did one the week prior, but this was his first hunt with us)!  I didn’t think he’d understand what to do with his basket, but he carried it around on his arm like a pro (probably because of all the practice he’s had playing with my purse- ha!)  Thankfully the weather was lovely so we got to be outside most of the day…

easter

Speaking of outside (and happy Earth day by the way!), we’ve switched gears around the house and have been taking advantage of the lovely (albeit a bit weird with temps in the 80’s one day and a frost the next) spring weather we’ve been having lately and putting in some work on the outside of our house, before the weather here gets too hot and humid.

We usually mulch our front and back flower beds yearly, although we skipped last year due to the crazyness that being a new parent brings with it!  Also, we usually (stupidly) wait way too long and mulch in the summer which is just ridiculously sweaty- this year we were on top of it and ordered 20 cubic yards at the end of February.  We got so much mulch because we decided to mulch our backyard after trying (unsuccessfully) for several years to get anything resembling grass to grow back there (mulch is the new grass right?)

boysmulch

My boys, happy with the newly mulched back yard

mulch2

We changed the path leading to the garden from gravel to mulch

mulch3

We get a lot of erosion here due to rain water, so T added in a 4×4 post (half buried in the ground) to create a tiered effect and stop the mulch from washing down the hill

Then we got 5 cubic yards of gravel, so we could extend the gravel path in the above photo, as well freshen up the existing graveled spaces

gravel

T is such a hard worker. I just spread the mulch/gravel and take the photos

B enjoyed “helping” with the mulching process- I’d gotten him his own shovel and he was thrilled to help his daddy load up the wheelbarrow:bmulch

And wear his daddy’s work gloves around:

2014-03-22 10.03.55-1

Believe it or not, we blew through all 20 cubic yards of mulch and had JUST enough to do the front beds, minus one…

mulch4

Ahhh, freshly mulched = happy plants

 

Which actually worked out well because we decided to modify that bed, so we were able to wait to mulch it.  I don’t have any photos of the bed before we got to it (bad blogger), probably because it was nothing much to look at so I always cropped it out of my photos!  Just a narrow long bed with some peonies in it (that I have managed not to kill despite doing absolutely nothing to them- we inherited them with the house, which was a fun surprise the first year they came up!) and a narrow strip of grass/weeds.  Boring!! If you look at the below photo of our house, it would be to the right of the edge of the driveway (and under the snow):

house with flowerbed

T was the driving force behind the bed re-do, and we are both so happy with it now.  It just makes so much more sense.  I will post more about it in my next post, because that much work deserves its own post and this one is long enough as it is!!  I will leave you with one more pic of B, probably my favorite of him to date:

2014-04-07 20.53.47

Pure joy at being outside, in the wheelbarrow!

 

Crowded

Based on this photo, can you tell what’s happening soon?

If you guessed carpet, you’re correct!!  That’s almost all of our upstairs furniture crammed into the office- the only things that didn’t end up in there were our dressers, because we need to get into them for clothes.  The office has actually looked this way since Thursday evening, even though they’re not installing until Monday- a friend of T’s came over and helped move all the heavy stuff downstairs after work.  Why such an early move?  Well, this bedroom was the first room we I painted, and let’s just say I didn’t do a very good job.  I was in a hurry and so there were some spots, mostly on the ceiling, that needed a second coat, but we didn’t want to do it without moving the furniture out- so we just dealt with it.  The carpet install forced us to get into gear and finish those touch ups.  Plus we had a couple of squeaky spots in the floor that needed to be fixed which got taken care of today too.  We can hardly wait for the new carpet!

You’d think that painting/floor fixing would take up all our weekend time, but we are champion multi-taskers.  T did some of this today:

Yup- more gravel shoveling.  This is off our driveway and used to be dirt- we lined the right side with rocks from the yard and the left side with more landscape timbers that have been clear-coated so they match the fence. 

Here’s the current state of the gravel pile in the driveway- still quite a bit more to shovel!

I also got my garden cleared out and fertilized because it’s time to plant!  Yup, you read that right.  I had a mini panic attack when I realized that it was time to get started, but I managed to get things cleared out and bought some cow manure to fertilize the spots of the garden that I’m planning on planting now.  Last year I think I started a few cold weather crops too late and they suffered because of it- mainly my peas and broccoli.  This year I’m determined to get some good yields, so I’m starting those now (along with some fava beans, carrots, lettuce and chard).  If you want a handy website to visit- check out sproutrobot.com.  You can sign up for weekly reminder emails on what to plant when- you just put in your zipcode and it tells you what you should plant for your area.  You can also pay a fee and they’ll send you seeds when it’s time to plant them.  Pretty cool. 

Phew- I think that’s all I’ve done this weekend.  What have you been up to?