Posts Tagged ‘landscaping’

Recap By Number

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Posted by Rebecca, May 24th, 2013

The past two or so weeks here have been a hectic whirlwind. So much to say, so little time. What’s the easiest way to tell you about the chaos without putting you to sleep or writing 20 posts? A little life by numbers summary!

1 first hair cut

first haircut

4 house guests for 4 days

easton and hadley

1 stomach bug for me

(sorry there’s no picture ;))

12 trees planted (7 right here)

backyard trees

65 birthday party guests

12 mason jars as centerpieces

75ish cupcakes made

0 pictures taken of party 🙁

5 garlands made

sewing garland

2 shoes muddied from family photoshoot

muddy toms

2 runny noses (Easton & Mike, no picture necessary)

1/2 of a countertop frame complete

bar top progress

2 heads in a hole at the Please Touch Museum

heads in a hole

7 bags of stuff donated to Goodwill (and one closet cleaned!)

2 walking legs

walking easton

1 one year old boy.

happy bday easton

Some of these topics deserve more detail (yes, I’m talking about you, 12 trees). We’re hoping to get some good weather over this 3 day weekend to work on our ongoing landscaping project, snap some pictures of the trees and get back to work on the outdoor kitchen. Also, I’m hoping to summarize Easton’s first year in photos and steal someone’s pictures of his party.

But yes, my baby turned one yesterday. Holy smokes.

All In A Day’s Work

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Posted by Rebecca, April 3rd, 2012

I mentioned last week that we desperately needed some mulch. Okay, I’ve been mentioning for the past year that we desperately needed some mulch. After all, our front yard was looking like this…

And this…

So last week, Mike drove around looking for mulch places. We actually did this last year, since the first year that we moved in we used bags of mulch in the middle of July and it was aw.ful. It took a lot of bags and many weekends in 90 degree weather, so we wanted to get some yards of mulch delivered. The problem we came across last year was that there was no landscaping supply place close enough to our house to qualify for free delivery. Every single place wanted $50 to deliver, so we finally decided to suck it up. Unless we wanted to pull weeds constantly like we did last year (uhhh no thanks), we didn’t have too much of a choice.

Mike ordered 3 yards of dark brown mulch, which was delivered at 8am this morning.

He worked at putting the mulch down all day and by the time I got home, the pile looked like this.

The 3 yards we ordered was just enough to cover everything out front in a nice, thick layer.

Not only did Mike slave over a hot stove pile of mulch all day, but he told me he planned to surprise me by planting some new flowers. Unfortunately, he ran out of steam, but I am just happy to finally have some mulch!

I would still like to add some things to our landscaping, especially on this side.

We added those tiny little daylilies here last year, but the rest of the bushes are near death. We also need to add some plants to the area in front of the garage where we pulled up those flat fern things that I hated at the end of last season.

Overall though, at least we’re no longer at a messy point. I just wanted to at least be able to maintain what we have after the baby comes. Not having to pull weeds is a major plus!

Keep it coming spring, we need some more blooms like this…

Deere Season

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Posted by Rebecca, April 2nd, 2012

Usually the only deer I post about are those that live in our backyard (who seem to have returned in the past few weeks). Mike and I spent a good 20 minutes yesterday sitting together in front of our sliding glass door watching the deer. We’re like old people… but now we’re old people with a ride on lawn mower 🙂

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how we began our search for a ride on mower. Previously, we had been paying a service $40 per cut to mow our grass. This was supposed to be a temporary solution when we moved in and our grass grew to abandoned house status because we didn’t want to buy a mower. Last year we were so busy that we never cancelled the service and figured we’d just keep it. This year we cancelled it super early, then it got warm and we were like oh crap, we’re going to need to cut this grass soon. Since Mike left his full-time gig at Merrill Lynch to work on his own full-time gig at SongMeanings, we figured he’d have a little more time this year.

We started our search at Lowe’s where some nice young guy (okay, now I really sound like an old person but he looked like a 20 year old) gave us a nice, honest run down of mowers. Our requirements were simple… 1) something suited for a 1/2 acre of land 2) automatic instead of manual 3) cheap as possible. We also wanted something that would last a very long time and that wouldn’t be difficult to maintain. At Lowe’s the mowers started at $1000 for a manual and went up in price all the way to the thousands. The first automatic mowers started at about $1499.

There is a John Deere store very close to our house so we decided to check it out on Saturday. The man there was also very nice and very honest and gave us a run down of all of their mowers. The one we’d been thinking of was the D110, their smallest non-manual mower.

(via John Deere)

The nice sales man answered our questions about maintenance, storage and whether or not this was too much for our property. The good thing about John Deere is that the store is literally down the street from us, so any problems we may have with the mower we can bring it into them. He assured us that any other maintenance was easy enough to do on our own. He then also told us that they couldn’t match the deals they run at Lowe’s or Home Depot (okay we asked him, he didn’t offer this info out of the blue). None the less, we appreciated his honesty.

After some online stalking, I knew that Home Depot was running a deal where you receive a free dump cart with the purchase of a John Deere mower (a $199 value).

 (via Home Depot)

Plus if we opened a credit card we could receive 0% financing for 2 years and the mower would be delivered by a John Deere representative who would show us how to use everything. The price of the D110 was otherwise the same at Lowe’s, Home Depot and the John Deere store. So we headed to Home Depot!

We then looked around at some of their other brands (Cub Cadet and Ariens) and debated whether the free dump cart was worth the extra $200 or so in price. As we stood there debating, one random guy overheard us and told us to go with the John Deere. He said he owned a Cub Cadet before and hated it and that John Deere is, well, John Deere for a reason. We thanked him and went about our discussion. Then 5 minutes later another customer came by to look at a bagger who told us he had a John Deere and loved it. That was two completely random happy customers in a matter of minutes, so we decided to go with the Deere.

At first we were going to go with the 10% off promotion for new Home Depot card holders, but we learned that John Deere products weren’t eligible. Whaaamp whammmp. But that was okay because we were still able to get 24 months of 0% financing, which gives us a chance to pay for this bad boy with less pressure, as we have so many other expenses going on. We figure if we put the money we were using for each cut with the lawn service towards paying off the mower, we should be set.

Our new mower and dump cart will be delivered tomorrow. Once I am no longer pregnant, you bet I’ll be looking like this….

Image not to scale.

(original image from John Deere)

Out Like A Lamb

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Posted by Rebecca, March 23rd, 2012

Anyone who lives in the Northeast knows that it has been unseasonably warm the past two weeks. Like, it was 82 degrees when I got in my car this afternoon. 82 in March is slightly ridiculous. Though we should be welcoming this weather since 1) I love spring and 2) my winter coat was going to stop fitting me any day now, the warm weather has brought about a series of unexpected issues.

Things are blooming! Which is beautiful and all with our daylilies sprouting up…

They look great now, but if you look closely, you’ll see that we barely have any mulch. We haven’t put mulch down since July 2010.

Which we thought would be fine until after the baby comes. But it’s only March and we have weeds…

Being 8 months pregnant, there is no way I can pull those. I struggled in the fall when I had hardly any belly. This time it’s up to Mike 🙂

Here’s the other side of our front yard, where we planted some new daylilies last year that are also screaming for mulch.

With all of the work we need to finish in the nursery and all of the things we need to buy before the baby comes, this early spring is more of a pain. I remember how awful putting down new mulch was when I wasn’t pregnant, so I know I can’t help Mike do it.

On top of the mulching issue, we’re dealing with a much larger issue… Our grass is turning green.

Which means it will soon be growing. Which means it will need to be mowed soon. For the first 2 summers we lived here, we had a lawn service cut our grass. The first time we cut the grass, Mike did it with our push mower and it took him 4 hours to cover our whole yard. We didn’t want to invest in a ride on at the time, so we found a landscaping company that cut our grass for $40/cut. The first year we lived here it was insanely hot and dry, so we literally got away with paying them like once a month. Last year it got expensive so we decided to cancel it. With a baby coming and Mike working from home, we figured it was a good time to cut some expenses and that Mike could dedicate more time to the yard. We thought we’d buy a ride on mower after the baby was born….but we will need one sooner.

We’ve been shopping around and the price of those things makes me want to fall over and die. I understand that we’ve already spent a lot on the lawn service, but a $1500 price tag is not something I want to swallow right now. We figured we’d do the 12 months of interest free financing that Lowe’s and Home Depot are always offering and we’d pay it off as if we were paying the landscaper. Or we can get a couple of pairs of scissors…

We might make a decision this weekend and I will keep you posted on the details, but right now we’re leaning towards a small John Deere. Anyone have any experience or recommendations? We live on a half acre of mostly grass and want something basic.

In happier news, we can officially begin hydrangea watch 2012 🙂

I can’t wait until they bloom. Wait, was I supposed to remove the dead blooms from last year? I meant to cut them when they were alive so I could enjoy them, but I didn’t…Whoops. I’m an awful gardener.

Outsourcing the Landscaping

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Posted by Rebecca, December 8th, 2011

Right before Halloween, I headed out to our front yard to clean up some weeds and put these mums in actual pots.


It nearly killed me. I was so winded from yanking weeds that before I went into the shower, I told Mike to keep his ears open in case he heard a loud thud. Thud being me falling over.

All of that work and I had not even attempted to pull up the bed of shamrock things that were covering an entire side of our landscaping. I knew I couldn’t yank all of those, so at the time I stuck to the big weeds and secretly hoped the cold weather would kill them. It didn’t. Whaaamp whaaamp.

You see, this year we didn’t put any new mulch down because we put some down late in the season the year before. By the end of this summer, it was noticeable. Weeds were popping up everywhere and with Darwin sick, fast paced summer classes and then getting pregnant, the yard was seriously neglected. Remember this beast?

And this was just the beginning of the weed invasion…


This weekend we want to decorate for Christmas and the appearance of our front yard has been killing me. I knew that with finals coming up at school and the fact that I get tired easily now, I couldn’t do it. So we swallowed our pride and hired someone.

Best. Decision. Ever.

(Please excuse the awful coloring in these pictures, we got a new camera and Mike used it over the weekend. I could not get the settings back to what I normally use and it was freeeezing out this morning. I snapped quickly then ran off to work!)

Not only did this guy pull weeds, but he dug up those stupid flat fern things I’ve hated since we moved in and wanted to dig up, as well as the dead seasonal flowers we planted. Did you notice they were gone? Here’s what they looked like…

Not just that, but he also re-edged all of our flower beds, which the grass was creeping into and we wanted to do this year, but didn’t get a chance to.

Then…

Now…

Those bushes have been looking weak all year. The soil here isn’t good and for some reason they’re not as full as the same exact ones on the other side of the house. We may possibly replace them next year, or at least move them to be less front and center.

Then! He trimmed all of our daylilies so they’re barely visible and trimmed our tall grassy things (which have since blown into a mess with a bad storm we had last night, ugh).


And last but not least, he asked us if we wanted him to remove those piles of dirt hanging around our patio that we never got around to landscaping. Why yes! Yes we do!

The only thing I still want to do is trim these little trees a bit, which I do once or twice a year.

Otherwise, I’m just enjoying this nice clean view 🙂

I honestly have no idea why we didn’t do this sooner considering the hell of a year we’ve had. We were just going to let all of this landscaping go until the spring, until we realized that depending on when it warmed up, I will either be 9 months pregnant or have a newborn. Therefore, the situation would not get any better. At least now we have a clean slate come April/May and Mike can put some fresh mulch down and we can get some new plants in. Because we know that the cleanup phase alone would have taken us 2 months working only on weekends… and that’s without the pending baby. Since this guy did such a good job and depending on when the baby actually comes, maybe we’ll let him do the mulch again. We did our own mulch once and it was not a fun homeowner project. We shall see where life takes us come spring, but at least our yard is no longer embarrassing 🙂

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