Small Changes Out Front

…that may some day have flowers.

The last owner(s) of our home had hired a professional landscaper to take care of their grass cutting needs.  The grass was a beautiful emerald green when we took the keys in March.  It was perfectly trimmed and edged without a weed in sight.  That was March… it’s now September (holy crap) and it totally doesn’t look like that anymore.  It was a hot summer and things happen.

In May, we started doing some yard work, itching to get outside and into shorts.  It quickly became evident that this was not the summer of outdoor labor for us as temperatures got to the triple digits here in Western PA.  Naturally, before we realized how hot it was going to be, we started ripping things apart with big plans for beautiful flowers to greet us and our guests.

I mentioned how nice the lawn was.  Key to this story is not the lawn, but the front garden under our big living room window.  It was ugly.  Things weren’t planted right and they definitely were not taken care of properly.  It was a sad story out front and it didn’t make me happy.  Still in my YAY SUMMER mindset, blissfully unaware of how sweaty and miserable I would soon become, I vowed to make it a much more inviting front flower garden.  Here’s the before (from our very first house tour)…

House on First Tour

House on First Tour

Here’s a close up of just the front garden.  It’s a really great picture that I slaved to make sure was the perfect white balance and everything as I am known to do.  Just kidding, I just took the previous picture and cropped it close in on the garden.  Enjoy.

Bush Closeup

Bush Closeup

Photography awards I will not win.

But, as you may possibly be able to see, there wasn’t much to love about this front garden.  Half-dead bushes, no color, no structure, all blah.

I took a shovel and dug up the bushes, most of them were falling apart and dead.  Three of them looked like they may be able to be revived.  The roots of those three bushes were still shaped like a pot so I sprayed them with the waterhose and tried to unclump the dirt around them.  Then I just took them back and planted them around our fence.  Months later, they still look exactly the same, so I don’t think thats a good sign.  Wait, no thats a lie, Kevin mowed over one of them, so two of them look the same, the other is just a stump.

So what did we do with this space?  A whole lot of nothing really.  After ripping the plants out, I started hand-tilling it with a shovel.  Basically, I would just shovel up a clump of dirt and then dump it someplace else, then stab it with the shovel a couple times to break it up.  I did this for about an hour and had managed to move around the dirt in about 3 square feet.  It was exhausting. Then, something was donated by the in-laws…

International Harvester

International Harvester

Yep! A tiller!  It threw Kevin around a lot… I have a video of it, but it was after he had basically gotten the hang of it, so it’s not nearly as entertaining as watching him learn.  This little 3hp workhorse made the job much much easier though.  Soon enough we had freshly tilled soil.  Kevin tilled in some peat and it was soft and lush and beautiful.  The next day, we got to work moving some random stones that weren’t serving any purpose around the back yard, until…VOILA!

New front flowerbed

New front flowerbed

It doesn’t look like much here, but once there is grass around it and some flowers in it, it will look amazing.  That’s right, we started this in May and it’s still empty. Well that’s only kinda true.  The part that is supposed to be grass is full of weeds (we’re awesome).  As for the interior of the bed, Kevin dumped multiple (I think around 5..seriously) boxes of old wild flower seeds into it before we left for vacation.  There may be one flower growing in there now.  It may be a weed.  We bought some gladiolas bulbs to put in it, and the end goal is to have it full of perennials so each year theres beautiful color out front with only weeding+mulching work to be done.  Really, the less work the better.. we kinda have our hands full.

Have you started any projects thinking they’d be quick and easy only to be foiled by the elements?




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