Sunday, June 3, 2012

Turning a New Leaf

First of all, we need to apologize for the lack of posts over the past few weeks.  With all of this beautiful weather, it's been hard to find the motivation to work on house projects.  On the plus side, the weather has been perfect for working outside (and for improving our post-winter-vampire-like skin color).    

When it comes to plants, Harley is pretty much our only success story.  If growing weeds counts then you can add that to the list.  If a plant needs a lot of water, we forget to water it.  If the plant doesn't need a lot of water, we give it too much (the same can be said about sunlight).  We don't try to kill our plants but over the past year and a half, we've done a pretty good job of it.

That being said, this year is going to be different.  We are now well into the growing season of 2012 and we are feeling confident (for the most part).  Since we moved in, we have focused almost entirely on the inside of our house so it is time for us to give the outside a face lift.

Being the DIYers that we are, we knew that we wanted to do the bulk of the grunt work ourselves but deciding what to plant and where to plant it wasn't something we were comfortable doing on our own.  The last thing we wanted to do was put plants in spots where they wouldn't grow so we decided that our best bet would be to have a landscape plan drawn up.

After making some phone calls and meeting with several landscape architects, we decided to work with Suellen Furfaro.  We really liked that she would come out to our house and work with us to pick plants that fit our style.  Some of the other designers that we talked to would just work off of pictures of our house.  It also helped that she lives down the street from some of our friends so we were able to drive by and scope out how she landscaped her own yard (is that creepy? haha).

Suellen came to our house twice, first for our initial consult and then to discuss the final plan.  During the initial meeting, we spent time walking around the yard discussing what we liked/didn't like (more of the latter than the former).  We asked her to try to incorporate some of our existing plants into the new design. We also stressed the importance of low maintenance plants- although, I think it was clear by the current condition of our yard that we didn't enjoy caring for it. Once we finished our discussions, Suellen stayed for a few more hours to take pictures and detailed measurements of our yard.  We also gave her a copy of our survey plat for reference.

Two weeks later, we were thrilled to see the finished plan.  We asked if she had created it in AutoCAD but she had actually drawn everything by hand.  Now that we had this great plan, we had no excuses to avoid pulling out the shovels and getting our hands dirty.  It was time to get to work.

Our current 2012 landscaping "to do" list:
  • Trim wild Forsythia bush in front corner (this one isn't leaving) - Done
  • Remove 2 overgrown boxwoods- Done
  • Remove evergreen bush- Done
  • Remove all limestone rock around edge (move to back for future project)- Done
  • Cut new plant beds with a shovel (& remove grass)- Done
  • Reorganize hostas near sidewalk beds- Done
  • Kill grass in brand new bed with Roundup (prepare for transplanted Vinca)- In progress
  • Clean up side of house that we've neglected for 18 months (aka the weed forest)- In progress
  • Till soil in new side bed
  • Move Vinca to new side bed
  • Move Day Lilies to back
  • Remove Rose bushes (pink & red)
  • Remove any other plants that remain
  • Bury downspouts
  • Till remaining garden beds
  • Order new plants
  • Plant new plants
  • Plant potted flowers
  • Put mulch everywhere
  • Remove weeds in Garden- Done
  • Till Garden
  • Plant Vegetables
  • Continue limestone pathway from screened in porch to back door
  • Pressure wash limestone
  • Water, water, water!

Adios evergreen bush

Our garbage men deserve a big tip this year

 The last of the overgrown boxwoods

 Getting closer to a blank slate

Planning the new beds with string...

...and spray paint

A good excuse for Reed to get on the roof

Killing the grass to make way for new plants

Clearing the jungle of weeds on the south side of our house 
(who knew there were hostas under all that mess?)

While we've made some progress, we still have a long way to go. We both took a vacation day at the end of the week and we called in the troops (our parents) to come and help next weekend. We are hoping to cross more off the list and maybe even get some plants in the ground (dreaming big, we know).


  1. Wow!! What a huge undertaking! I'm sure it's going to look like something out of a magazine after you're all said and done. Can't wait to see the progress and the finished product

    1. Thanks Jessie! I don't know about "something out of a magazine" (the plants are going to be so tiny for a few years!) but hopefully it will be an improvement! :)

  2. Instead of spray paint you can also use flour to map out your plans, just in case they change the flour is easier to get rid of..just a thought. Oh home ownership, you decorate inside and out--sweat equity guys!

    1. We had no idea we could use flour! I've been on a grain free diet the last month- that would have been a perfect use for all of my baking flour hahaha. We will definitely remember that next time!! :)