Front and Back Yard Renovation

Can you ‘renovate’ a yard?  I’m not really sure.  I just know that we’re renovating everything else so I figured it was a fitting title. 


So yet again, I wrote this post MONTH’S ago and I thought about not posting it but since we’re faaaar from done I figured what the heck…

In addition to all of the master bath/bedroom updates that we’re working on we’re also tackling the front and back yards.  Years ago we had the foundation repaired and in doing so, we lost all of our front yard landscaping.  I can’t blame all of the disaster that is our yards on the foundation work though… some of it was just sheer lack of want to and/or funds (or both).  We’ve put together a list of the items that have to be completed.  Here it is…

  1. Remove blackberry & other weeds as well as trim & shape groundcover around pecan tree.  (Hubs removed the demon blackberry vine a few weeks back… he’s been shaped since this photo was taken…)
  2. Shape groundcover around the 3 oak trees into a circle (it’s rather amoeba-looking at the moment and there’s a Morning Glory vine that has invaded one
  3. Widen holes in bird houses (we actually had a poor sparrow get wedged in the hole and for a while we thought he wasn’t going to be able to get out)
  4. Re-sod missing patches in front yard (hubs threw down some rye seed for the time being.  We’re hoping it’ll fill in the holes and basically keep the dirt in place until the St. Augustine can grow back.  Update: we’ve been invaded by some sort of weed.  The lawn guys from TruGreen had to come out and told us that we need to start bagging our lawn clippings AND we need to have the trees trimmed because the lack of light is causing our St. Augustine to grow black spot mold.  Yippee.)
  5. Add ornamental grass to back yard (we bought this super nifty ornamental grass this weekend.  It’s PURPLE!  I love it.  Also – we pulled those weeds.)
  6. Replace dead Japanese Youpon Holly (This hedge has been here forever and for some reason, we lost the back quarter of it during last year’s drought.  So, we bought a new one this weekend.  He’s just a sprout now but he’ll grow)
  7. Figure out what to do with the 4’ x 4’ patch that used to have our vegetable garden. (For the time being, we ripped everything out, put down a layer of weed block, then covered it with mulch.  We’ll plant perennials in the spring.  Hopefully.)
  8. Plant perennial color in the two large beds at the front of the back yard.
  9. Put paver stones down on master bedroom side of house.
  10. Pull up pavers on garage side of house – re-level and add weed block and reset pavers
  11. Repeat # 10 with the patch of pavers where the grill sits
  12. Reorganize garage side of house (it currently stores trashcans, terra cotta pots, tomato cages, and various other garden necessities)
  13. Remove and replace raised-bed bricks & walkway in front of house (this is a major undertaking that will require a jackhammer, a large industrial-sized trash bin, possibly a back hoe, and some large sweaty men… volunteers welcome)
  14. Bring in new dirt & plants for front yard beds
  15. Repair/replace pergola in backyard

Our plan is to tackle this little by little as we find time (ha ha) and money (bigger ha ha).  There’s no rush on any of this (either the house or the yard) but our goal right now is to have it all done by October 2013.  We’d like to be able to celebrate the holidays with friends and family at our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas next year (and not have the house a disaster when that happens).  So for now, that’s our goal.  I have no idea if we’ll reach it as we’re just getting started but I’ve got my fingers (and toes, and eyes) crossed.

Boys & Their Toys

We (and by ‘we’ I mean the Husband) got a new toy at our house. 

Now that mom has moved out we no longer have a yard guy (by choice) and the hubs is in charge of mowing the lawn.  That means we need a mower.  It’s just waaaay too much lawn to cut with scissors. 

This is what we purchased. 

I, in a huge leap of faith, let the hubs choose what he wanted.  Being the type-A control freak that I am that’s a major deal.  So far, so good though.  If nothing else, he’s seriously happy.  I have never, in my life, met a man who is so thrilled to mow the yard at 6am on a Saturday morning. 

For those of you who are wondering, yes, we also purchased a weed eater as well.  We purchased it from Sears and again, it was the hubs’ decision.  It’s working out great so far as well. 

“Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

I sincerely doubt anyone has forgotten but just in case you got amnesia in the last few months let me remind you… Texas had the drought from hell last year.  Like a lot of people, our lawn definitely suffered because of it.  We lost a lot of our grass and then this spring, when the weeds took over, there was no actual grass to prevent them from a total domination.  Then, about a month later when we put down weed & feed we ended up with nothing but large dirt patches in some places where the weeds died but there was no grass.  Our poor yard looks like the head of a three-year old who found his dads clippers.  A few weeks ago when we were working on our first landscape project I was sitting on the ground planting the new plants and kept complaining to my husband about how freaking hard the ground was and how sore my butt was getting.  That’s when we decided that this year, we are going to save our lawn.  The first step, we realized, is to make sure that we water consistently and evenly.  Lawns should get 1” of water per week but not all in one watering.  We decided that we should break everything into sections and water four sections per day (30-minutes per section).  With the number of sections we have, that means everything gets watered once every four days.  Works for us.  So, how do you make a watering schedule you ask?  I’m about to show you.  No laughing at my horrible drawing skills though.  I’m definitely not the artistic one in the family.

Front yard:


Back yard:

I said no laughing.

Basically the idea is to break your lawn up into sections that will get covered with the spray from the sprinkler each time you water that area. 

So far we’ve lived with this for about two weeks and we like it.  We bought a different sprinkler head and it’s much wider so we think we might be able to combine a few spots in the front yard.  Regardless, it’s working pretty well.  So far, Mother Nature has been helping along too – we’ve gotten at least one good rain each week.  There’s no rain in the forecast this week though so we’ll definitely start up our watering schedule today.  I’m seriously hoping that this watering schedule will help us out this year.  We either forget to water for weeks on end or we water every day for a month and give everything root-rot.  How about you guys?  You have any watering schedule tricks?