Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life Returns

I returned back from my trip to the Philippines in early July and over the course of the last month and a half, my blog has largely been running on autopilot with a glut of trip related posts and a few other miscellaneous posts that I had written and set them to automatically publish at a later date. Well my blog finally digested and published all those posts for me and I'm not having to come up with new material.

For most of July, I simply took care of my daughters and worked on my pen making hobby during nap times and while the girls were playing out by the garage. In early August my mother-in-law arrived back in the states for her second extended stay. She must go through five years of more or less being here most of the time in order to get her U.S. Citizenship some day. After a couple weeks of getting over jet lag, she is getting back into the swing of things by looking after her granddaughters while I accomplish bigger projects.

Because we have had such a mild summer thus far, we decided priority one while the cool summer holds would be to do some landscaping. The road face of our house definitely lacks in appeal. The flowerbeds along the front of the house were poorly done by previous occupants who simply covered them with landscape fabric and a thin layer of mulch. The landscape fabric disintegrated and the mulch decayed so that weeds grow freely in the beds accented by slivers of landscape fabric fluttering in the breeze. I could add a significant amount of mulch to solve this problem but I am already having to shovel the mulch off the sidewalk every time it rains and any more mulch would carry it up onto the siding which isn't a good thing. The only real solution is to remove it all, along with some dirt to get it back down to proper grade and then reapply a thick layer of mulch to prevent weeds from rearing their ugly heads.

In preparation for that, we removed the half dead tree shrubs that were planted along the front of the house in the beds. They were planted much too close to the house which meant that the heat of the house fried their backsides giving them a half dead appearance. This was actually a good thing because otherwise their branches would have worn at the siding. So we grubbed them all up and got rid of them. The only problem now is that with all that shrubbery gone, all that remains are weeds in the flower beds and a full on shot of our crappy Masonite siding. It is in pretty rough shape and needs to be replaced. I'm hoping perhaps next year on the siding but for now, I'm going to focus on the landscaping.

My next step is to tear out the old sidewalk which thanks to the moles is cantilevered towards the house and heaved in several spots. The new sidewalk will move out away from the house several feet allowing the flowerbeds to be larger and allow any plantings to be further away from the house. Once we get the front part done, my plan is to keep on working around the house as weather permits. When it gets too hot or eventually too cold, I have a whole laundry list of indoor projects on my plate. I will post some our landscaping pictures in a future post along with some of my indoor projects as they progress. After all, I need more new material these days.


ErinFromIowa said...

Yay! I do enjoy gardening and landscaping posts!

warren said...

You could pave it all...who doesn't need more parking? I love the look of clean mulch but hate when it goes bad and even more hate working the weeds. maybe you need chickens to keep it weeded!

Anonymous said...

Since I don't know the layout or orientation I can only give you a few general tips.
Don't plant in ones. It's vastly better to buy 25 of one plant. Don't plant even numbers. As a man you'll have an instinct to do just that. Resist it.
Put small trees near the house on at least one side. This makes the house sit into it's landscape. These trees should be at least the height of the eves fully grown. There are flowering cherries that work quite well. Regardless of which way the house is facing, the kids 'will' play on the south side but will move away from the sun when hot. So kiddies pools shouldn't be in full sun.
Don't plant to make work for yourself. Azaleas longside the drive will do more for the sale-ability than virtually anything else. If you are selling while they are in flower. So plan ahead. What time of you is best for selling houses in the region and play into that game.

Ed said...

Erin - Landscaping is a constant battle in our family. I am a low maintenance kind of landscaper while my wife likes to plant bulbs and other things that are higher maintenance. The problem is that she never has time for the maintenance and I don't like doing maintenance on flowers and shrubs. So it is always a compromise here until we can afford to just have a gardener on staff!

Warren - I would if it weren't so darn expensive. Concrete is really a lot higher than I remembered in price. Chickens would certainly be cheaper than a gardener!

Vince - We arranged to have a professional landscaper design a layout for us. His fee is deductible if we buy plants from him which is where we usually buy so it will be a win win situation. Otherwise left to me, I would just scatter some river rock and call it good.

sage said...

Sounds like a lot of work and I do like the river rock idea (here, it'd have to be oyster shells).