Dreaming of Green

Uggg… Just looking at the forecast for the next few days. Tomorrow’s high is supposed to be negative five. Five degrees below zero, for a HIGH temperature, at the end of February… that ought to be illegal.

So I was practicing a little escapism here and looking through pictures of our landscaping from last September, comparing them to our yard photos from April 2010, and making plans in my head for yard work season 2014. And then I realized that I never posted photos of the completed fence or any of our other yard improvement projects from last summer.

If you need a little escape yourself, this is your invitation to come join me for a rather long post rambling about in a land free from snow and sub-zero temperatures…

First up, “The Bean”, a.k.a. the front yard flower garden April 2010:The Bean 2010And “The Bean” September 2013:DSC_4472Plan for 2013 was: Plant annuals in pots and replace dead perennials, re-mulch.

Actual Results: Did plant annuals and replace most of the dead perennials. Didn’t re-mulch.

Plan for 2014: Trim back lower branches of oak trees to get more light into the garden and add even more plants. My vision for this garden to be completely overflowing with interesting plants and pots and rocks and little garden vignettes.

The Front Side Yard 2010:Side yard 2010Front Side Yard 2013:DSC_4415

Plan for 2013 was: Have fence installed and put down grass seed, fingers crossed for a sprinkler system.

Actual Results: Check, check, check. Fence, grass seed, sprinkler system. And as you can see the grass seed/sprinkler system combo made a huge difference for our lawn.

Plan for 2014: Find and buy or possibly make fence post caps (for here as well as all the other corners and gates in the fence). We are also weighing the pros and cons of staining the fence. So that may end up on the project docket if we decide to go for it. After that I think it’s just routine lawn maintenance to keep everything looking good.

Front porch 2010:Front porch 2010

Front Porch 2013:DSC_4421 DSC_4471Plan for 2013 was: Replace lilies on the left side of the porch with azaleas to match the right side, plant hanging basket for shepherds crook, possibly get new pillows for front porch rockers that are a better match for the rug we got in 2012.

Actual Results: Accomplished all of the above!

Plan for 2014: Plant another hanging basket for the crook (begonias naturally), and add a few more accessories to the front porch. (Don’t tell Peter, but I’ve got a candle chandelier that I found at the thrift store last month hiding in the garage. I think it would look so fabulous over the chairs on the porch. We’ll see if I convince him.)

Side Yard 2010:Side yard 2010 2Side Yard 2013: DSC_4422 Plan for 2013 was: Rip everything out and start over (transplanting any salvageable plants), possibly add a magnolia tree (my current horticultural crush).

Actual Results: Didn’t do anything. *Sigh* Okay, that’s not entirely true, I did put up a trellis so that the Clematis would have something to grow on and might do a little better. Despite the weeds and lack of attention, it did have more flowers than it ever has, so let’s hear it for little victories.

DSC_2542As an added bonus, the fence now separates the side yard mess from the back deck mess, so at least it breaks the chaos up a little.DSC_4424Plan for 2014: Actually rip everything out and start over (transplanting any salvageable plants), but in case you were wondering we decided to nix the magnolia tree idea since there isn’t really room for it after all. I’d also like to take out the black plastic edging and re-edge with the same square bricks we used around the front porch.

Back Yard Corner 2010:Overgrown Rain Garden 2010

Back Yard Corner 2013:DSC_4430DSC_4426 Plan for 2013 was: Finish fence, grow grass, possibly add some sort of permanent fire pit. Build a bigger wooden sandbox elsewhere in the yard, dispose of turtle sandbox and maybe give away the play structure as well.

Actual Results: Fence got finished and we did add a fire pit (as well as some bonus landscaping)! We tried to grow grass with mixed results. The new sandbox did not get built, although we did choose and spot for it and plunked the turtle down there to help kill the grass. Play structure got quite a bit of use last year, so it stayed too, although in a different location.

Plan for 2014: Try to grow more grass seed and built a permanent sandbox more toward the center of the back yard. Also hoping to make some of these recycled bottle torches to hang on the fence.

Deck 2010:Deck 2010

Deck 2013 (feel free to avert your eyes):DSC_4434 DSC_4441Plan for 2013 was: Make a new top for the outdoor table Peter built a few years ago, including adding a hole to hold a patio umbrella. Try to keep the weeds from taking over completely while we look forward to rebuilding the deck (maybe next year?!?!).

Actual Results: … well, the pictures speak for themselves…

Plan for 2014: Short answer is… I’m not sure. Long answer… We decided that with Baby #3 set to arrive in late May, this was not the year to DIY a deck. I don’t really want to spend a lot of time landscaping, since we’ll likely redo most of it at whatever point we build the deck. But we’ve got to do something about those weeds. MUST. KILL. WEEDS.

Back Yard Garden 2010:Back patio 2010Back Yard Garden 2013:DSC_4464DSC_4448Plan for 2013 was: Remove maple tree stump, add raised garden beds along the side of the fence for a kitchen garden, then grow lots of new grass!

Actual Results: Stump was removed, beds built (and planted). We attempted to grow grass.

Plan for 2014: Put down more grass seed and plant another garden. We loved having a constant source of fresh veggies at our fingertips! We also need to clean off the cement slab behind the garage, since that sort of turned into a catch-all spot for pots and bags of dirt and the old fire bowl that we don’t need anymore. Anybody want it?

Side of Garage 2010:Landscaping 021

Side of garage September 2012:back yard garden 2012Side of Garage 2013:DSC_4462 DSC_4468Plan for 2013 was: Finish raking up loose rock next to the house into a smaller area to create a landing spot for the garbage cans just inside the fence.

Actual Results: Done!… sort of…

Plan for 2014: Figure out a way to neatly edge garbage can landing pad with square bricks and also keep the landscape fabric underneath from bunching up.

Mailbox Spring 2013:mail box spring 2013Mailbox Fall 2013:DSC_4399Plan for 2013 was: Jackhammer up the asphalt/cement pieces buried in the corner and plant some flowers ā€˜nā€™ things and make that corner worthy of the pretty, shiny, new mailbox.

Actual Results: Mission accomplished!

Plan for 2014: Fill in the gaps with more plants for a lush, cottage garden look.

So there you go, a very long and belated fall yard tour. Stay warm!

6 thoughts on “Dreaming of Green

  1. Elise , I loved your before and after pictures. You and Peter have done a great job. It was like looking at HGTV property make over, Weather wise, we have another winter mix headed our way this weekend. Just like an old saying. March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. I haven’t been to the center most of February because of the snow. They where closed a few days. Take care and stay warm.

    • Thanks, Pearl! I sure hope March goes out like a lamb around here, it certainly is coming in like a lion though. High for today is supposed to be -1. We’ve gotten a lot of snow here too. Say hello to everyone for me when you get back to the center again.

    • Thanks, Jennifer! Those weeds, oh man, part of the reason they get so bad is I can’t just put on gardening gloves and go pull them out. We’ve got some really nasty ones and I practically need a hazmat suit when I go to remove them. Seriously, shoes, socks, long pants, long sleeves and thick rubber gloves and I still end up with stings somehow. Uggg!

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