May Yard Projects

We dedicated most of our weekends in May to yard work, ending with the grand-daddy project of revamping our entire side yard.

First, remember the lattice I mentioned we intended to install on our garage for vegetable vines? Well, here it is!

Aaron did a super job putting it all together, even though it took him out of his comfort zone to tackle a building task like this without any instructions or experienced help. All he has was my inexperienced help, which mostly consisted of comments like “That post isn’t straight!” or “Can’t the lattice panels line up better?” We’re so pleased with the completed structure. And the squash, beans, melon, cucumber, and morning glory seeds we planted have sprouted and will start twining up the lattice soon.

Oh, and speaking of seeds… You might recall that I worried some critter had dug up my zucchini seeds. Surprisingly, both seeds sprouted! The plants have already grown much bigger than shown in this picture taken just a week ago.

Now, onto the largest project. Four large maples line the south side of our house – great for keeping the house cool in the summer, but not so great for growing a lawn. Our attempts to sow shade-friendly grass seed after we moved in three years ago yielded small clumps of green amid a swath of dirt. And most of those green clumps were dandelions!

So, we opted to abandon the side lawn in favor of a shade garden. Since it will take years to amass the quantity of plants we’ll need to fill the space, we decided to start by digging up the turf, mulching the whole area, and placing a path to connect the front and back yards.

We had 3 cubic yards of gravel and 17 cubic yards of mulch delivered a few days before Memorial Day weekend. That Friday, I started the project by digging the border of what would become our gravel path. On Saturday, Aaron dug the body of the path and installed edging for it, and we worked together to cart, pour, and level the gravel; then Aaron tilled the sod in the area we would mulch. Sunday, we took a break but did spray some weed and grass killer. Monday, we hauled and spread mulch, mulch, and more mulch. Our backs and knees still ache a week later, but the final product is such a satisfying, dramatic improvement!

Here are some before and after shots.

From the front yard looking back, before:

The grass looks deceivingly lush in the picture above. You can see its true state in the picture below.

From the back yard looking towards the front, before:

From the front yard looking back, after:

From the back yard looking towards the front, after:

Another after shot from the back yard:

What a difference, huh? We’re still spreading mulch in our previously-existing flower beds, and we have some leftover gravel we’ll put around our vegetable boxes. I’d like to get an arbor for the front end of the path. Over time, I intend to fill most of the mulched area with hostas, ferns, vinca, and other shade plants. Neighbors have already brought us some divisions of their own shade plants. It’s fun to see our vision for the property turning into reality!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “May Yard Projects

  1. Looks amazing! Great job, you guys!

  2. Looks great! I love shade gardens, looks like yours will be lovely.

  3. amy

    Incredible! What a difference.

  4. YOLD

    Wow, 20 cubic yards of stuff to move with your trusty wheelbarrow. Shades of moving several tons of rocks in Colorado Springs – I don’t miss it a bit. For what it’s worth, your yard looks really nice (and there is less to mow). I look forward to seeing it in person, walking on the path, and digging my toes in the mulch. Whee! By the way, I find Ibuprofin really does help after doing something like this.

  5. JJ

    Goodness I feel terrible I am belated in coming over to offer my hugs and prayers–I am so sorry you all went through the miscarriage…lots of hugs from me–so sorry my friend.

    Your yard really does look nice–I love getting out and seeing things grow this time of year

  6. Aleece

    WOW! Great realization of your landscape vision! Love it!

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