They say friends will help you move, good friends help you move bodies. I say good friends help you do significant yard work!
We, along with some fabulous friends and family, attacked our front yard this weekend and knocked out a good sized chunk of the needed work… last weekend, Jamie and I were chatting and I mentioned that I'm a little concerned about MAx's birthday party; if all invitees attend, we're looking at 30 adults and 14 children in our teeny house… I lamented the fact that we had no real useable outdoor space… we *have* both front and back yards, but neither of them are “done” The back is a mud and weed pit (we have plans for pavers to make it useable) and the front is (was) a rotting deck and gravel and tan bark.
As we talked, we decided that we could pull off a front-yard renovation in a weekend or two, and with a little extra cash floating around thanks to our tax refund, we decided to stimulate the economy, enlist some helpers and GO!
Technically, these before photos are slightly cheating; Jamie wanted to see how easily the existing brick edging would come out, and it was *so* easy he just went at it! So these pictures actually show the work started, but only by about 30 minutes and Jamie on his own! LOL
From the front gate, towards the house. Don't let the happy green fool you… those are weeds covering a layer of packed dirt and lanscaping rock. And it's prickly!
Looking from the front door towards the back of the garage.
From the front door, towards the gate, to the left of the walkway.
OK, so that's what we've had as a front yard for the 4 years we've lived here… we keep the barbecue and patio furniture out front, but we've never *liked* it. It's so pleasant out there, the house blocks wind and traffic noise, there's nice shade in the evening so it stays warm and cozy… it's a nice little spot, we just didn't enjoy our time out there as much as we could have. With Max getting ready to be mobile, it was really important to us to have an outdoor place for him to play… we have such limited time to just hang out, we didn't want to have to commute to a park just so he can get out in the sun and roll a ball around! Well, I'm thrilled to say, Max now has some outdoor space!
A few “Work in Progress” pics…
Standing in the front door, where the deck used to be…
Rebuilding the new “scotch and cigar” deck… it's only 5′ instead of the previous 12'… just big enough for a couple of adirondack chairs and a table to hold your cocktail. I can't wait to sit out here on a warm summer evening with my boys, after a fabulous barbecued dinner, with a nice cool drink, watching Max play.
Back towards the house from the front gate, demo pretty much finished. Notice the giant gawd-awful junipers by the front door and on flanking the gate are GONE! Woo hoo!
Taking a quick break for a cutie photo shoot… Faith wasn't really interested, as you can tell…
Our 1.8 TON load to take to the dump… so. much. stuff.
And here are the afters! Keep in mind, we're not TOTALLY done; we've got some stuff to finish next weekend, but I think you'll agree it's a significant improvement!
Freshly rototilled, just waiting for the new sod…
And a few hours later, voila! A lawn!
I didn't get a good before picture of this, but you can see where it is in the photo above… it's the top left corner, just inside the front gate. It used to be tan bark edged by brick. Actually, everything was edged by brick… we pulled them up and repurposed them into this! A mini-patio for our garbage cans. Now that the juniper is gone, this area is *huge* I think we may get one of those plastic upright cabinet things for her to store yard stuff in… not sure yet. Anyway, I'm really happy that we were able to reuse the existing bricks, for both environmental and budgetary reasons! Not bad for Jamie and Scott's first masonry experience!
Jamie taking a well-deserved test-run of the new deck… we actually got these chairs from a neighbor last summer… he was giving them away, so we snagged them! I'm going to paint them a nice shiny white soon… probably next week.
So, you ask, what's left? Let me show you… it's just a couple of things and we're going to take care of them next weekend and maybe the weekend after if needed…
First, the planting area around the base of the tree… you can see it here where the bricks are stacked up; it's that whole corner area. We need to get rid of the boulders… I want to do some planting there, but I'm not sure what at this point. I'll probably go to one of the nurseries here in town (there are tons for some reason) and see what they recommend for our area and our situation.
And here's what I'm really excited about… this is the other side of the walkway… we're going to build up a planter box that's about 2′ tall, and I'm going to plant a kitchen garden! We're using the Square Foot Gardening method and I'm really excited about it! This is next weekend's project, so hopefully I'll have some stuff planted soon! I'm sure you can expect lots of blogging about it as it progresses and (hopefully!) we start harvesting the yumminess!
Well, that's “all” we did this weekend! I'd like to (again) thank everyone who came and helped… we really and trult appreciate it! We owe you all a picnic lunch on the lawn! (In a few weeks, when it's OK to walk on it! LOL)