I realized the other day, that a whole half-bakers-dozen of you might be wondering what the status of our backyard is at this point in the summer. I.e. with 6 days left. If you read this post way back in the spring, you may recall that we had a liiiiiiittle bit of work to do.
Allow me to bring you back to the land of mud and yellow gear. In March, we started operation ‘Fix the Underground Box Drain That Was Caving In Along the Yard.’ Bye bye grass, hello muck and pipes and stink.
This took much longer than expected thanks to our friendly neighborhood inspector, but in early July, we got there. A flat, cave-in-free backyard. Believe it or not… this vista was music to our mud-sick eyes. Incidentally, I now make the distinction between mud and dirt. This is dirt. MUCH better than mud. (Thank goodness for the refurbished play house!)
Because we were putting in grass in the middle of summer, sod was the only legit option unless we were actively looking to put in a field of weeds. No question, it costs more, but it meant we could A) get a lawn consisting of grass before the end of the summer, B) USE said lawn before the end of summer and C) generally have more access to our yard than we would with a swath of baby tender grass (upon which no one could walk or run for weeks and weeks).
The rule of thumb with both seed and sod is to water, water, water. In fact, with sod, you have to be even MORE diligent about watering every square inch as any spot without water, will go brown pretty quickly. We crunched the numbers and ultimately decided that it was worth it for us to install an irrigation system in our relatively small backyard just to ensure that we could keep our sod taken care of until it took root about 4 weeks later. We’re almost at the one month mark, and it appears that the sod is growing pretty well… we can’t mow it for another week or so, but man does it look lush and inviting!
As for the patio…. remember how it looked this spring as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s salt water submersion and Nemo’s 4′ of snow? Brown and pathetic.
Thanks to my girl, Celestine, I was able to replace some of our mini boxwoods. The new ones seem to be holding their own so by next summer we may have a little hedge going again. I’ve slowly plunked in plants elsewhere… not a lot of rhyme or reason and next summer, I’ll do some rearranging so the two sides of the patio have a little more in common. My goal is to have a nice carpet of ground cover with some larger clumps of color showing up throughout the summer.
For those of you gardeners out there, some of my favorites are:
Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) for a great burst of color in the early spring
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) for that amazing bright green ground cover
Moss Rose (Portulaca) is another ground cover I recently picked up and I love it! Beautiful pink flowers.
Purple Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Astra Blue’) is a nice later summer bloomer that won’t get too high.
I introduced these DIY concrete planters with succulents and I LOVE them. These will be back every summer fo’ shizzle. I’ve also planted a few more things with succulents. Yes, my name is Charlotte and I’m a succulent-aholic.
Along the patio are hydrangea… this summer we didn’t get too many blooms because of the strain they took over the winter with Sandy/ Nemo, but I”m thrilled they came back and hope for lots of beautiful blooms next summer when they’re a little more rested! Corralling the kids toys is a challenge, but this Homegoods basket works OK. Let’s water drain through and holds just about everything.
I’ve hesitated to take an official ‘after’ shot since part of the yard is still a disaster thanks to construction. The oh-so-chic tent is a stand in for our garage gear (lawn mower, strollers, bikes, etc.) since we can’t use the garage. The storage shed is normally tucked away out of view, along with the composter and the garbage cans. Not much I can do to pretty up this corner.
We have learned some ways to keep raccoons away, however, so that’s exciting (bungee cords and keeping the lights on at night…). All in all, I’d say our yard is 80% where we wanted it to be at the end of this summer. Each year, we’ll bring in some more plants and create little garden beds here and there. Because of the delay in the culvert repair and the grass, we didn’t have time to put in our vegetable beds, but that’ still something I’d like to try next year!
We inherited an AMAZING playset that we paid a carpenter to take apart, transport, and install in our backyard. For those of you not comfortable enough with your power tools and structural engineering to create your own playset from scratch, a great option is to look on Craigslist for used playsets. Usually they’re much less expensive even when you factor in the labor involved to take them apart, transport and reinstall. You can see it mid set up in this picture. Stay tuned for a post on the logistics/ cleaning/ etc. of this bad boy.
So there you have it. Not everything that before/after dreams are made of, but still a big improvement to the mud and brown of the spring. Gardening is a work in progress and I already have ideas for next spring!
Don't miss a post! Sign up for email or RSS updates!