2023 Remodel Project - The Front Yard!

July 12, 2023  •  3 Comments

After returning from vacation to a lot of yard work (we had a lovely cool and rainy spring this year) I decided that it was time to tackle doing something with my front yard.   Why you say?   Well honestly, the grass was in poor shape and full of weeds so I was tired of mowing it and watering it just to see more weeds.   I also have about 3 acres of my property that have to be mowed in addition to the front and back yards.   I had also spent 2 days bent over with my old back weeding out the flower bed on the end of the deck (even though I'd put preventative on it).   I adore having the flower bed but moving forward I didn't want to have to be on the ground weeding.....I also knew I needed to resurface it if it was to stay (it had big pieces of bark "mulch" on it - not ideal).   Time for a massive redo.  Goals:  Raised beds for the flowers and no more grass to mow (still have it out back for the pups though).

But first!   Not to get ahead of myself I needed to get the parrot aviaries finished so that the summer didn't get away from me and they had NO time outdoors.   I also needed all that stuff out of the way so I could actually use the back patio.   Luckily my friend Robin came to the rescue and helped me put these together (my brother had helped me build most of the panels last fall) and the parrots love them (when it is warm enough to be out there anyway).

I put pencil to paper and scratched out a design for the front, and another and another.   I knew this needed to happen in steps and would need to have some planning so I could get the things in place that needed to happen to accomplish the goals.  Well at least the basics (the final design is NOTHING like what I put to paper).   First was the raised beds and after pricing lumber and the effort to build them I went online and found the Vego containers.  Bingo!  

So here is the before (with some of the already purchased and assembled containers just hanging out).

I knew I wanted to save some of the plants in the garden as well, the hostas, the corabelles and if possible at least one of the daylillies and a few of the iris.   I knew they would find a home in the raised beds.   So my first thing was to get the bed area between the sidewalk and the house done so SOME of them could be moved.    But first....I needed to figure out my general plans and order hardscape AND garden soil to fill these raised beds.   While I pondered that it warmed up enough that I was able to get the west end of the house painted (since I'd be trampling many of the flowers that I knew I wasn't saving).   I still have the area under the deck to do to finish the FRONT of the house (yup it is a multi year thing) but hey - progress.

In the meantime decided I needed some flowers around to help motivate me (and see some color not just a big ol construction mess).   Hanging baskets were purchased and put up on the deck along with a hot deal of a fake tree for the corner.    They just cheered up the place.

I started in on the area between the sidewalk and house because I wanted to at least have SOMETHING I could say was finished (and transfer some of those transplants).   I got it as far as I could with pea gravel and filler in the beds before I ordered the hardscape and dirt.   I was very pleased with how it turned out.

Ahhh finally ONE piece done!    Not all my transplants are happy but I'm of the mind that they'll make it or they won't.  Kind of the way I think of all the plants (that is a new way of thinking for me).    Onward!    I decided I was NOT going to mess with cutting sod that wasn't any good so down went cardboard (in the places it could) and landscape fabric (the no-till method).   Many days of laying it out and pinning it all down meanwhile adjusting my plans as I discovered things that looked fine on paper weren't really going to work.    I installed an arbor at the end of the sidewalk (originally planned to be in the yard) - ignore the bungie at the top I did actually find the missing part.  Moved about 2K pounds of rock that was in the far west corner of the yard and installed my first HoseLink.  My biggest gardening pet peeve - hoses laying around and that kink every time they get warm!    I love this thing! 

I was finally at the point I HAD to make a decision on the hardscape materials.   Yet another trip to the sand and gravel place (also where I'd get my garden soil) and with the help of a friend, I finally picked the types, sat and figured out amount estimates and put the order in.   That same day all this showed up!   Suffice it to say I was saying to myself  "oh shit what have I done?".    Yes I had ideas of manually wheelbarrowing this as I felt like it even if it took all summer.  HAHAHA - what a silly old girl!

I filled a few beds by hand and wagon got my new windmill and some fencing installed in the center of the yard, originally planning to have my old windmill out back put there but the poor old thing just wasn't going to be able to handle the wind so a new one was acquired.

Time to rent the Torro Dingo walk behind (we used one to auger the holes for the RV building 2 years ago) and start moving rock and mulch and granite and dirt.  I needed to be done in an order from west to east and the west end had the most fiddly stuff.   My friend Robin to the rescue yet again (she calls this her ranch fitness program) and we went at it, I started alone on a Friday night, we worked all day Saturday together, I worked all day Sunday, part of the day Monday and finished up Monday night.   Realize the grand total of all the deliveries was about 50 TON and I clocked in over 6 walking miles on Saturday, 4 on Sunday and 3 on Monday night!    I have a dry creek bed, my raised bed flower gardens and some sculpture (yet to be installed).   I'm very happy with the results to be sure!    I will have to spray grass and weeds in the areas I didn't put fabric down (wanted the trees to get more moisture) and I also have the drip irrigation to do.

4th of July was another project day and another day Robin (bless her heart) came to help.   I had one more big planter in the back yard I'd set and needed to be filled and enough decomposed granite to do a bit of path and the area under the clothesline (there is still more that will happen back there - you'll read about that once it is done).   It was a shorter day than Saturday thank goodness and those items are now done.   I still also have rocks to move out front and back but will do that as I feel I can.   Am doing some planting as I can and figuring out what might live the rest of the summer.  Did mostly new annual stuff as I'm not sure how things will over winter.  Time will tell.   I've never spent this much time outside in one stretch - literally every single spare minute but I wanted to beat the heat.    Lord knows I still have other projects to get done just the big GIANT one is finished.  YAY!


Lisa Fulgence(non-registered)
This work is amazing! The finish is beautiful. This is motivating.
It all looks wonderful! Worth the effort indeed. Having lived in the east for 70 years, and having large grassy lawns I've decided that grass is overrated! We now live in Arizona with stone "lawns" and I love it! Neat and clean and very little upkeep (just s spray here and there to take care of an errant weed). Your flowers look lovely also, the hanging ones and your new raised beds. Congratulations on all your hard work.
I've ditched the traditional flower beds for raised beds for my strawberries and herbs. 2 pots of petunias near the fire pit, and then the flowers & plants in the pond filter zone. Weeding takes very little time now. Love all your changes!
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