Sunday, May 20, 2012

Operation Cutify - Yard Crashers, Part 1

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Last year, we neglected our backyard in favor of working on some indoor projects (the living room, hallway gallery, master bathroom). To make up for it, we've been spending the last couple of weekends busting our butts working outdoors, in an attempt to get most of the prep work and heavy duty tasks done before the sweltering summer months. I've been obsessed with MULCH ever since Missy and her mom refreshed the mulch in a couple of our flower beds. The bags have been on sale 3 for $10 at Home Depot, so we've been buying them every chance we get. I think we've gone through at least 40 bags by now.

Besides spending time at Home Depot, we've also been supporting a couple of local nurseries - COFER'S and THYME AFTER THYME. We were especially inspired with the woodland feel at Thyme After Thyme, and hope we can bring that same kind of atmosphere to our backyard...

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Back at the Ranch, we started with clearing out this problem spot between our shed and patio, where the spigot is located. We dug out a couple of shrubs and cleaned out a bunch of natural debris that had been accumulating there, making it difficult to get to the spigot. After, we covered the entire area with mulch, extending it into the bed surrounding the patio, where we added new flowers and plants. While I worked on the area by the shed, Missy worked on adding some new ground covering plants to our walkway. Hopefully, in time, the ground cover will fill in all the spaces between the stepping stones...

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Next, we turned out attention to this empty bed in front of the shed. A couple of years ago we had tomatoes growing in that bed. We decided to move one of our ROSEMARY BUSHES to the bed and surround it with various other herbaceous plants...

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Missy tamping down the mulch around our shed:

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After we got the areas around the house sorted, we turned our attention to a group of trees towards the far back of our yard. We wanted to build a bed around these trees, but had to clear out years of neglected leaves, fallen branches, and over-grown ivy, weeds, and vines. Our plan was to dismantle the stone fire pit in our yard (where the previous owners used to burn their trash, according to one of our neighbors) and use those stones to outline a bed around the trees. In the clearing process, Missy managed to uncover a SNAKE hiding in the thick layer of leaves. Luckily, we didn't get bit! Missy tried to pick it up with a shovel, but it quickly slithered under our chain link fence and into our neighbor's yard...

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The wet spot on the tree shows how thick and high the layers of ivy and underbrush was (about a foot deep):

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After the back bed was built, we turned our attention to this area in front of the fire pit area. There were all these annoying tufts of GRASS and DAY LILLIES which had gone wild all over our yard. We pulled them up and replaced them with native flowers, hoping to attract bees and butterflies to our garden...

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We ended up purchasing a metal ARBOR and placed it at the "entrance" of the fire pit circle, which we are going to convert into a butterfly-friendly garden. We got a pair of CONFEDERATE JASMINE plants that we will train to climb the arbor...

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