Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Front Yard Garden Makeover

Here's my deck thermometer last Saturday morning at 6:15! Mmmmmmmm, this is my kinda weather! And looks like it's going to be a perfect day to start that front yard garden makeover I've been planning in my mind for months now.

Is there anyone out there who doesn't think this garden is in need of a makeover??
It's become a neglected eyesore because I've been too lazy to work at keeping the weeds out. Since we're thinking about selling this place in the next few years, I need to spruce things up a little bit anyway. So why not re-do it now, and we'll get a chance to enjoy it also for our remaining years at this place?

So in my mind's eye, the plan is to expand the garden out several feet into a semicircle. I did the landscaping trick where you lay out the garden hose to mark the shape you're going to work with and then it was time to start the hardest part of the job--removing the sod.

I suppose I could've rented one of those sod-cutting machines but why deal with the hassle and expense when I can do it myself. And besides, there's no sense in letting my female super powers go to waste!

Good-bye ugly, worn-out, wooden dog-eared edging! Good-bye old and no-longer-working low voltage accent lights! You served your purpose well over the years, but it's time for something new and functional.

Well, here's the result of my Saturday afternoon's labors. Doesn't look like much yet, but it's a good start!

Monday after work, I got back to the landscaping project again. My nice neighbor Kevin sharpened my shovel for me and it was much quicker work removing the remaining sod!

Now it's time to start moving the plants. I had mostly hostas and Asiatic lilies in this north-east facing, fairly shady garden. I had purchased a couple of new hostas earlier this summer, but I'm going to just take the rest of the existing plants and replant them. They will be spread out and have more room to grow than they did at the foundation of the house. Some of these hostas are huge, so it will be nice to let them take over a larger space too.

After supper we made the run to Menards to pick up the edging blocks (113!) Now it's starting to look pretty good, don't you think?

Never underestimate the power of a woman with a shovel!!

Today we had intermittent rain showers for most of the day, so this garden project is on hold till the weather clears. Tomorrow is probably going to be a lawn mowing day, but hopefully I can get the garden makeover project completed on Thursday. I need to get the rest of the plants in the ground and then put down the cypress mulch. I talked Mr. Johnson into purchasing a couple sets of solar accent lights (on sale at Menards!) for the garden too. It's been a lot of hard work and sore muscles, but it's turning out exactly as I had envisioned, so it's all been worth it. Hopefully I can show you the final pictures of this project on Thursday.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Super Woman indeed. This space is looking great. Can't wait to see the finishing touches.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Good job Ruthie!! It looks great already!

Gaelyn said...

What a lot of work. You are a super woman. And it looks great so far. Look forward to seeing it finished, but don't kill yourself in the process.

Mary said...

Awesome! This WILL be a butterfly garden, won't it? :)
It looks really nice. You've been doing some big time gardening this summer!

Impressed with the morning temperature, too!

troutbirder said...

Very nice! The superpower aspect is exactly right having dug out some sod that way myself on a few occasions.

KGMom said...

WOW--I left my additional remarks on Facebook.
Very impressive indeed.

Richard said...

Looks great. Been there and done that with the sod. Not an easy task. It sure did turn out nice. I always used to carry a hand file in my back pocket to sharpen the shovel with when I did it. As you found out, it sure does help.

Meggie said...

Very impressive, Ruthie! Super powers, indeed! Love the edging. Looking forward to seeing the final photos after the mulching is complete.

Chicken Mama said...

Haven't had time to read this whole post yet, but I LOVE the last picture of you - CUTE! And, I love the label 'Female Super Powers'. You go, grrrrl!


Kelly said...

Wow!!! That's a lot of work, but sooo worth it. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Leslie said...

Hi Ruthie, great thinking using the garden hose. I tell my clients to do exactly that. You're lucky to be able to plant Hostas. CA has too many snails for that usually. Try some of those blue ones, which I love, as well as the variegated. Also, the lighting is a good idea. The cheap ones are always short lived. If you have a decent transformer, use that and just splurge on some more higher end lights. I do think it adds value to your home.
Sorry but my designer instincts got going by seeing your inspiring project. Keep up the great work.

Jayne said...

Strapping women unite! Wow Ruthie, that's a good bit of work there. Can't wait to see the finished result. :c)

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Lisa. You know how it goes--the more I do, the more ideas pop into my head. I saw a couple of cute little garden sculptures at Menards that would be perfect too.....

Thanks Lynne. It's been fun.

Thanks Gaelyn. No health worries other than a couple blisters and sore hands--the cool weather made the job a lot more pleasant!

Thanks Mary. Not specifically a butterfly garden - it's probably too shady most of the day. But once the hostas are blooming, I think the hummingbirds will enjoy spending time there.

Hi Troutbirder,
I felt kinda bad throwing all that sod away because I can still remember how much work it was to lay it all down! I guess I should have had more foresight 20 years ago!

Thanks Donna (and for the FB comments too!)

Hi Richard,
I just happened to be sitting outside trying to sharpen that shovel with a file when Kevin came over with some apples for my deer. I knew he had a grinder and he sharpened that shovel to a really sharp edge--made a world of difference!

Thanks Meggie. I'm thinking I might have to make another mulch run--I don't think 7 bags are gonna cover it!

Hi Chicken Mama,
I should have dedicated this post to you and your mom -- my female super power inspiration!!

Thanks Kelly. More pictures soon (I hope)

Thanks Leslie. The only bad thing is that our landscaping efforts are covered in snow here for half the year. I noticed there were lots of slug holes in the hosta leaves along the foundation--I'm hoping that moving them away from there and getting a good layer of mulch down will deter those slugs.
Go ahead and share your designer ideas anytime.....I'm thinking now there may even be room to add a small birdbath/fountain in this space too.

Thanks Jayne. Not on the scale of your recent landscaping project, but isn't it fun to see how things turn out?

danielle said...

If you want any orange day lilies, let me know...I've got to do a lot of thinning of mine, and they seem to grow everywhere!

Mama Pea said...

Wow, what a lot of work you got done in a very short time. It's no wonder, Wonder Woman, that you felt a little muscle strain.

Isn't it remarkable what "bumping out" a flower garden area by a building makes?

barefoot gardener said...

*humming the Wonder Woman theme song*

So darn cool! Now I am inspired to get out and do a little work here at the old homestead......tomorrow.

Red said...

*channeling the A-Team*
I love it when a plan comes together!

Ruth said...

That is an enormous amount of labour! But it looks great.

Marsha said...

Ruthie...you are superwoman! It looks really great. I hope life slows down soon so I can be back commenting here on a regular basis...I think I am meant to be a 3 season blogger ;)

Anonymous said...

That is going to be one beautiful garden when it is all planted and blooming. Great job!


Mary C said...

Ruthie, it's amazing what a "small" change can do to create more curb appeal. I sure do like the results. BTW, when you plan on selling do you already have another home or location in mind?

dAwN said...

nice job Ruthie!
Really makes the yard look nice!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Danielle, I thought about dividing some of my daylilies too, but I think I'll wait to see what makes it through the winter this year.

Thanks Mama Pea. It was hard to envision exactly how it would turn out, but it looks pretty much the way I had hoped. (whew!!)

Thanks Barefoot. It was a good project to work on while I was waiting for some tomatoes to ripen..... Now I see my wild grapes are ripe too and there are still some mulberries on the trees, so I'd better think about getting back to the preserving tasks.

LOL Red -- didn't you love that show? I could've used some of those A-Team guys to help me with this project!

Thanks Ruth. Definitely worth all the sore muscles now that it's done!

I totally understand Marsha--I've been a poor commenter this summer too. It seems wrong to spend time indoors on the computer when it's so nice outside and summer in Minnesota is almost over already!

Thanks Mom. I transplanted those big fragrant, white lilies from Dad right by the front pillar. I hope they make it through the winter because it will be nice to have them blooming there next summer.

Thanks Mary C. We hope to someday move to a much more rural spot with acreage so we will have our own place to hunt. We may be losing a big chunk of our backyard to a proposed highway "improvement" and when that happens, I don't want to be around to watch them destroy the backyard habitat that I've worked so many years to create!

Thanks Dawn. It's another 5 minutes less of grass mowing too! ;-)

Anonymous said...

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TheExpertVGL said...

Garden makeovers go a step further than just maintenance .With a garden makeover your backyard can be transformed from a sea of weeds or a brown desert to a thing of beauty that will give you pleasure to spend time in and add value to your home. Thanks for sharing such nice steps.
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