2012 will be the year without a summer. Summer is supposed to be spent outdoors, on the lake, at happy hour, enjoying the sunshine. Instead, we spent most of our summer indoors, studying for the bar. Not my idea of fun.
But to make sure we were able to get some fresh air, Kurtis and I decided that we would do a little yard work this summer. And when I say do "a little" yard work, I mean some serious landscaping changes happened around here.
Here we are at the beginning of summer:
First up - we tackled the Green Monster. The lovely tree on the left got a little out of control. To be fair to me, it was out of control when I moved in from lack of TLC from previous owners. I knew from the day I moved in that the monster had to go. And now it's gone!
Next, we turned our sights on the front beds:
They were full of Lily of the Valley and some other perennial that just doesn't stop growing. These things were starting to spread all over. But before taking care of that, we first moved the rhododendron bushes to flank the left bed.
We also cleaned up the lilacs in the back of the house. And created a mini monster of stuff to take to the yard wast drop-off site. I believe we took 8 trips to the yard waste dump this summer. Yikes!
After the lilacs, we added an additional layer to the fire pit which gave it a little more substance. I wish we had kept track of all the yard waste bags we filled this summer, but of course, I didn't count them.
Next up: Hostas! Hostas are my absolute favorite (besides peonies and irises, of course!). Can they be any easier to care for?!
We cleaned up and expanded the hosta beds to give them some room to grow. Last year, my folks rescued a couple hostas from an old house that was being torn down and I was so pleased to see they survived the transplant!
During the hosta fixin', we also noticed a little bit of a situation:
What the hell?! We cut down one thing, turn around, and another green monster has taken its place!
So our next little project was easy to choose. Down came the ugly shrub, and in its place, we have a cute little path to the back yard! Our goal is to put in a couple stepping stones and keep that area clear. Just getting rid of that one shrub made such a difference, don't you think?!
One of our biggest projects was adding edging stones to all the flower beds around the house. Kurtis and I had talked about this project and headed over to Menard's to check out the stones. We had measured and knew how many we needed but I was planning on looking only on this trip.
Well, 30 minutes later, we were loading up K's car with 135 12 1/2 lb. stones. The original stones we had picked out were only 3 lbs. each. Proper planning for this project would have had us loading up Betty, my suburban, but instead the stones went into K's Jeep. I have never seen car ride so low! Luckily we made it home and unloaded the stones just fine, but can you imagine if we would have broken an axle or something else on K's car?!
The project was such a success! I just love how clean it made the beds look. Like they finally have a purpose and order. I like order. I like the grass to be where the grass is supposed to be. I like the plants to be where the plants are supposed to be. Slowly but surely, we are getting this yard under control!
After much discussion, we decided that front beds just weren't working for us. The never-ending mass of uncontrollable plants had to go. So we ripped out the beds, added some hostas, and put in the edging stones. Much better!
Both beds were a pain in their own special way. On the left, we dealt with all the tree roots from the Green Monster. On the right, we had about a foot deep of rocks. Why on earth would you only put rock in one flower bed? It just doesn't even make sense. But that is what we are dealing with here.
This bed is still in progress. The plants are all gone but we still have some rock to take out. Luckily, our favorite yard waste site takes landscape rock! This will probably be a project for spring if we don't get to it this fall.
The project I loved the most though is our red front door. We painted the front door red - I just love having a bright door to welcome guests! With our hanging flower pot (which will not be pink next year to avoid clashing with our new door!), and our amazing coleus, I think our front entry looks pretty cute. Obviously, we aren't there yet, but it's a good start.
But our summer finale nearly killed me. The Hedge. I hate this hedge with a fiery passion. The only thing good about it is my pretty cardinals find it homey. But this thing has gotten so far out of control. I need to scan the photo of the house from two owners before me - it's amazing. I'll try and get that up soon!
But we needed to tackle this abomination on our property. Turns out, the "hedge" is Buckthorn, an invasive species that was outlawed in MN in 1930s. It is illegal to import, sell or transport buckthorn in Minnesota.
Well, we attacked this hedge, rented a U-Haul trailer, and transported our buckthorn to the dump. Sorry I'm not sorry. The hedge looks great now on our side and hopefully our grass will grow under there in the spring. But this is another project that we have not seen the end of. We really need to top it, but that's an entire weekend project that I just don't have the energy for right now.
Sidenote: we also got our grass back after a summer of road construction!
So there we are. We've made some serious progress and I'm so proud of us for getting this much done while studying for the bar this summer. We know there are things that need to be done, but those things need time and money.
Have you done any landscaping projects lately?