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Getting Our Hands Dirty | Landscaping

June 1, 2015

If you have been reading for any amount of time, you may have noticed that Monday posts consist of: “We did this, this, and this over the weekend.” That’s because the weekends are usually when we get the most stuff done around here. We have 3  young children (ages 8, 3, and 1), so if it’s not nap time, bedtime, or the weekend, we’re not getting much house stuff done.

So onto the this, this, and this that we accomplished over the weekend!

It didn’t rain this weekend – they’v said on the news that we have gotten 26 straight days of rain this May here in Austin! Two days without rain and we were finally able to start working on the yard. We like to get as much done outside as we can before it gets unbearably hot, so all the rain was making that somewhat impossible. Although, Michael and I did actually plant blue fescue seeds last Monday in the rain. Yep. We finished right before it started pouring and we had all those tornado warnings. We found the seed packs at Lowe’s a few weeks ago. In a previous post, Plant One on Me, we showed you this picture…

front yard inspiration

…as an example of what we would like to do in the front yard. Well, we’re hoping the blue fescue will be what the boxwoods are in the above photo. I wanted something spiky, for lack of a better term, to serve as the border. It adds interest and is a little more unexpected than the boxwoods; not to mention there’s no trimming. I was considering rosemary, but I wasn’t sure how it would do there since that area of the yard is part shade. We got our fescues as seeds, but according to google this is what they will look like:


We don’t have a great track record with starting things from seeds, so you can bet I am crossing my fingers and toes on this one. Another reason we picked the fescue, it’s supposed to look great year round. That’s currently an issue for us. We planted perennial bulbs 2 years ago, and in the spring – the early fall things look like this…

gardening how nots via here-lately.com

…but during late fall to the beginning of the next spring the beds look completely barren. This is all really new to us, and to be honest, most of the time we’re in a rush + we don’t really know what we are doing, so we end up making rookie mistakes. You may have noticed in the photo above that all the plants seem to be pushed to the backside of the flower bed. That’s because the bulbs we planted in the front half of the bed never grew.  So the first order of business was to rearrange the plants in the bed. We brought a few forward, which filled out the bed more and gave us room to plant new things that, hopefully, will live year-round.

gardening how nots via here-lately.com

Doesn’t that look so much better? I know it may not look much different in photos, but in person, it’s a huge improvement! We did the same thing in the other bed. Although, we did run into our typical problem: roots.


This always seems to be an issue when we are trying to plant things. I’m not sure if this root belongs to the tree in the front yard, or if it belonged to the treelike bush that used to be planted there. Nonetheless, Michael just cut it with the shears and removed it.


After the root was gone, Michael moved a few of the plants in the back of the bed to the front of the bed.


So much better! This bed looks more full, because more bulbs actually came up on this side. (I have no idea why this side and not the other.) If you’re wondering what the plants are, we’ve got Hostas in the back, bleeding hearts in the middle, and in the front (left to right) we have a boxwood we’ve been trying to get rid of, a rouge bleeding heart, and two Astilbe plants. We have the same thing in the first bed I showed you, however, the bleeding hearts never bloomed on that side. We need to figure out what to do with the bleeding heart plants, because I don’t like that one side has some and the other does not. We may try to find more bulbs, but they can’t be planted until the cooler time of the year, so that won’t solve the problem at the moment. We also need to find evergreen plants to fill in the spaces that will look nice when the current plants die for the winter.

We also did some work in the back yard. We trimmed a few of the trees and planted plants that we had purchased on Mother’s Day. Yes, it’s been raining that much that we haven’t had a chance to plant things we bought on Mother’s day!

You can see the pile of limbs that we took down in this photo:


You can also see the flower bed that we made about two years ago. We also have bulbs in there that emerge during the spring, so here like the front, we’re trying to fill in spaces with plants that will be visible all year. You have may also noticed the plastic flamingos. I’ve recently become somewhat obsessed with all things flamingo, but I’ve liked plastic flamingos since I dreamed of having a bedroom like Clarissa on Clarissa Explains It All. I know some people think they’re tacky, but I think they add some whimsy back there, and in they’re in the back where only we can see them, so no harm no fowl. (<- That is my bad joke of choice lately. No apologies.) Michael looked at me like I was crazy when I put them in the cart at Lowe’s. He admitted that he does like them back there, as long as, “We don’t fill the entire yard with them.” Um? I’m not sure why he thought that may be a possibility. I assured him, however, that I only wanted the two.

We planted two of these hydrangeas in that bed.


The tag said morning sun only, so here’s to hoping we don’t kill them, as most of our yard gets afternoon sun only. I think we put them in a good spot, though. You can see one in the corner of this photo:


We also need to move a few plants around in this flower bed, because they are either not doing well where they are or they are too close to another plant. However, we don’t know where we would put them, so we just left them for the time being. It was when we were working back here that we noticed that a section of the fence is leaning. Eye roll. That means we’ll need to get it fixed or try to fix it ourselves. You can see the leaning section in this photo:


It’s the section is closest to the shed. We had someone come out to look at it, and he quoted us $100 a post. There are 3 posts that need to be changed. That’s some serious pocket change. At first we thought, there is no way we can do this ourselves, but then we looked up a few tutorials, and it might be doable if we can just reinforce the posts instead of replacing them. The fence is only 3.5 years old, so we want to salvage it if we can.

Falling fences aside, we also planted this spiky guy next to the shed.


I don’t remember the name of that plant, but it’s a common one here in Central Texas. You can barely see it in the photo, but we also have Lantana planted right next to the shed under the shutter. We plan to remove the grass from this area and make an actual flower bed here. We were just too beat to do it over the weekend.  We also need to carve out the curvy bed that will follow the walkway in the front yard (which you can see in the example photo). But again, having to work around weather, work schedules, and taking turns watching the kids we typically have a very limited amount of time to get a lot done.

We are starting to see the fruit of our labor, however! Check out our little Meyer Lemon tree!

meyer lemon tree here-lately.com

Yes, I’m full of bad jokes today. Now, if we can keep the squirrels from gnawing on them… Although, I would like to see a squirrel’s face when it gets a mouth full of sour lemon.  (You can also see that we need to mow the grass.)

What about you guys? Did anyone else get to get out and enjoy the sun over the weekend? I’m also thankful that most of the humidity left with the rain!


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1 Comment

  • Reply Robin June 1, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    No harm no fowl. You’re the best.

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