Thursday, April 28, 2011

The next landscaping project

I've been aching to tackle a landscaping project in another section of our yard. So far, the vegetable garden is the only area I would call "done". I have roughly 4 more sections of yard that require a concept and some decorating. While I'm still working on that "concept" thing, I did come up with a final plan for one of the areas that passes the following criteria:

1) I need to be able to do it myself (with varying help from hubby and son).
2) It can't cost much.

With that in mind, here are some semi-before pictures. Semi because this isn't exactly what we started with (I always forget to take before shots until AFTER I've started the project!). The closest I have to a truly "Before" is this one:

It is shot at the opposite angle because I'm standing in the area I'm landscaping, but it shows what we started with.  A huge privet, way too large for the space, IMO.  It was also half dead.  Grass that I refused to water, not only because of the cost but also because the sprinkler heads were slammed right up against the house and they shot water through the vents and under the house.  That came out in the inspection and we didn't make an issue of it because we had no intention of turning the sprinklers on again so it all had to go.

Anyhoo, this is what the area looks like now:

In the 2+ years we've lived here, we've had all the hedges ripped out and have put up some lattice panels for privacy.  That was all we'd done until yesterday when I finalized my plan and started working on the project.

In this area, I'm doing something a little outside the box (for me, at least).  I'm landscaping the area not for being IN the yard, but for viewing it from our kitchen window.  You see, this corner isn't an area we'd normally sit in.  It's around the side away from pretty much everything.  It's also rather small.  99.9% of the use of this space is it's view from our kitchen window.  For that, it is really predominant.  So, I decided that instead of putting a seating area in the center of the space, I'm setting it up entirely to maximize the view from the kitchen.

And the theme is birds.

All the green area you see will be shrubs, feeders and water features geared toward attracting birds.  I've already started with three Italian cypress along the house.  I picked those because in our last house, the birds loved to nest in them.  A flowering plum will be coming on Friday to replace that little dead tree.  The brown area is where I've shaved out what will be a rock path and seating area.  I'd originally kept the seating area rather small, but have since widened it along the house after putting a chair there and discovering this really will be a nice place to sit once it's done.  But I've put the seating area up against the house, out of view from the window.  I've also extended the rockery past the window because I want easy access to clean it (and the gutters). 

So...7 hours in the yard yesterday getting it this far.  I still haven't decided on all the shrubs that will go in the space.  I've picked out potato vine for the lattice.  It doesn't technically attract birds, but I've got it on the other side of the house and have fallen in love.  It's absolutely beautiful this time of year, grows fast in really poor soil (which that particular spot has because it's still consumed by roots from the old privet), and is evergreen, so I'll have year-round privacy.  As for everything else, I'm shooting for plants that provide shelter, fruits and berries.  Since I'll be making the bird bath, we won't be seeing that any time soon but that's okay.  I'm pleased I've finally got another section of the yard going and can't wait to see it once I get the rock in.

The beds will be sheet mulched.  I scored a load of free cardboard from Lowes, so this weekend will be all about covering the planting beds to keep the weeds and grass from regrowing. 

More to come!

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