Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DIY Landscaping: Phase 1

I've been a little afraid to post about our yard.  For fear we may give up, as we have so many times before.  When we moved into our home 8-1/2 years ago, we planted a few shrubs and I planted some woodland plants and flowers.  But we never really landscaped.  My husband seeded the front yard and grass grew for a while, but now the weeds have taken over.  It truly is the most unsightly yard.  Secretly, I was hoping my neighbors would submit our yard to the DIY Channel to get a free backyard make-over! 

Well, I live in the real world, and those kind of fairy-tale endings don't really happen in my neck of the woods.  So a few weeks ago, I sat down and drew out what I'd like our yard to look like.  My dream yard.  I have always wanted a fire pit. Not just an ordinary fire pit, more like an outdoor fireplace.  I've been pulling pictures from magazines for YEARS.  I've purchased some doodads that I'd like to decorate with way back when I was working in Savannah.  I can't really remember the first place I saw an outdoor living space, but when I did, I knew I wanted something like it in our yard.  

The thing that stands in our way is money.  It always is.  I have several established bushes and flowers I will be able to divide and transplant when the time comes, so that will defray some of the expense.  In the end, I figure with a lot of hard word, lots of sweat (which I totally hate and detest beyond words), a little inspiration and a lot of free stuff from freecycle and craigslist, we might be able to finish the yard of my dreams.

So far, we've been taking a few hours each morning and raking up the yard, moving dried leaves to a huge pile to recycle later into compost.  We've been pulling weeds and tree seedlings (are those called saplings?) from our hundred year old oak trees.  We deal with baby oak trees every year.  The roots can go as deep as 2 feet on just a little 6" seedling (sapling?).  

I've taken a length of twine and attached it to some rebar to help sculpt rounded beds around the house.  I used a shovel and dug up the ground to help create the edging I was looking for.  I've been scouring craigslist and freecycle for free bricks so I can place them as the edger and hopefully prevent the weeds from jumping over into the flower beds.  I'm still looking for free bricks.  

Since our yard is very wooded and there is no real possibility of true grass growing under the trees, I decided we'd go with spreading Monkey Grass (a.k.a. Lilyturf, Liriope).  There are a couple of different varieties and we wanted the spreading kind so it will fill in like grass.  My brother and dad did some work for a friend whose backyard was completely taken over by this stuff.  They offered to them and now I have a 5 gallon bucket full of it.  We're just waiting for some free fill dirt and then my brother can bring over his Bobcat to smooth out the yard, so I can plant it.  

I was inspired by a garden at Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.  Also, there was a garden featured on HGTV from Douglasville, Georgia.  The owner is Suzanne Hudson and her garden has been featured in many magazines including Southern Living.  

Eventually I hope to share the final results with you.  For now, you'll have to make do with my chicken scratch drawings.  

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Susie said...

I can't wait to see the finished product!!

Jenny said...

The best money we ever spent was extending and covering our back porch. It is like having an extra room added on to our house. We use it from March until New Year's Eve before closing it up. I am slowly landscaping around it and while it takes time, it is so worth the effort. Good luck with your project!

Melinda said...

Ohhh - this will be a really neat project when it's done! You're ahead of me - I haven't even figured out the plans yet. I do love the outdoor fireplace though!

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

I admire your drive! I don't have that desire to have the most beautiful yard on our block and we could never compete with our neighbors who practically camp out in theirs each day. But nature and beauty at my fingertips sure does sound good, along with a fireplace. (Although I'd prefer a pool surrounded by tropical plants in hot Florida.) I think your drawings are great and I wish you luck in making your dreams come true.

p.s. - and thank you for your recent comments on my blog. I agree with you totally! It could be WAY worse! That's why I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts -- b/c I know others will chime in and really help me put things into perspective!

Ott, A. said...

Stopping by from Tuesday's garden party. I am currently in the middle of landscaping the front of our house. I did half last weekend and will finish up the rest this weekend. (And then of course I can blog about it too.) Looks like you had a good plan to start with.
P.S. I awarded you "the Versatile blog" award and posted it yesterday. congrats!!!

Heather said...

Bravo! It looks like you have a large area that you are tackling... how exciting. Please keep linking to the garden party so I can watch your progress:)

Jenna @ Newlyweds said...

Love your plans looks great. I can't wait to see what you guys do, I just love outdoor fireplaces.

Jami said...

Oh, Candi, I so feel your pain with having to start from scratch and do all the work. I've never had a house that had a nice yard and we always had to do it ourselves (yeah...the lack of money thing). In fact I could hardly believe what we accomplished in our other house, though it took ten years. :-)

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing your progress- nothing like accountability to get things done. :-)

Thanks for linking up to the Garden Party!


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