Although the landscaping was badly outdated and damaged, the yards at the house were surprisingly in not-the-worst shape. Considering some of the weed forests I've seen in this neighborhood, what the yards looked like before was downright presentable!
The house had a sprinkler system already hooked up, but the previous owners had never used it. I.E. it went untouched for 15 years. When Nate tried to turn it a giant jet of water exploded from under the deck, and everywhere else was just as chaotic. We tried our best to hand-water the yards, but ended up turning each of them into a crispy field of weeds. So not only did we have to re-do the landscaping but we had to install completely new yards.
Oh, and N killed the tree. :)
This was the best picture I could find of the front yard before anything had been done to it. The front garden had been constructed with railway ties, and the side of the steps was built with misshaped stones. The front garden also housed some horrible bushes. I hated those bushes.
In the Spring of 2011 when the grass grew in a little more I did some preliminary turd polishing. I knew we were going to be redoing everything but I wanted it to look at least a little bit presentable.
I planted flowers in the lower garden and added some patriotic garden stakes I found at Michaels.
On the side of the house I tried out used tire mulch and put in some pretty flower pots that my mother-in-law had gotten us,
When it came time to re-do the front garden N had a hell of a time trying to get those bushes out. He decided to enlist reinforcements (i.e. tie the bushes to the Wagoneer and pull them out), and really, this is one of the least redneck things I've seen happen in our neighborhood.
We decided to go with these large pavers because they matched the brick on our house and were easy to work with. This is a progress picture- N eventually added another layer. He also took out the rocks from the side of the steps and put pavers in there as well.
Then it came time to trench the yard for a new sprinkler system. At this point N had been gung ho about "just sprinking grass seed down on the lawn to fill in the patches." After the trenching he realized we were going to have to re-sod.
Our wonderful friend Mikey came over with his skid steer and helped us remove the trees from the side of the house. (We needed more parking.) The trees had surprisngly small root balls and probably would have blown over in the wind sooner or later. We've seen that a lot in our neighborhood.
Then Mikey dropped off the rock that we had picked out- he got us a great deal on it!
In addition to rocking the extra parking space on the side of the house, N also used the rock to trim the front yard, and along the shed in the backyard (which you'll see in the next post.)
Have you noticed something missing in these picutres? N KILLED OUR TREE! The 30 year old ash tree that shaded the front of our house from the blistering summer sun! He hit a root when he was trenching the sprinkler system and it turns out that root decided to take the whole tree down with it. We had our favorite tree trimming company come out and remove it. Stump removal costs thousands of dollars, so we decided to go at it ourselves with Mikey's help. It was a difficult process but Mikey and N eventually got it out!
Later in the summer came time for sod! That is my gorgeous rear end and my mother-in-law helping. She was a god send helping us sod both yards!
And the results! Unfortunately we've had a couple of very small areas die, but overall the sod took very well. We might try and patch the areas in a few weeks, but with everything else we have going on right now we'll see if we get to it.
But do you want to see my favorite part of all the work we did outside?
Our fountain!!! I've always wanted some kind of water feature in our home and our big front garden (that is now one level instead of two) was the perfect place to put it. First we burried a small but deep plastic pond in the garden. Then N went to a stone yard and picked up a bunch of random pieces of flagstone. We arranged and rearranged the stones until we found a layout that worked, and we put a pump in the pond, and ran the tube up to the top of the rocks. It turned out great and I love hearing the running water outside.
This picture is from last year when I planted a few flowers around it. This year I tried to fill the entire garden with flowers.
And a finishing touch!
A new light fixture and a plague I special ordered (I can't remember where from though.) After all the work we've done on the house this was a perfect finishing touch on the outside.