Tag Archives: yard

TGIF

Not too much house work has gone on in the last week, but we have some plans for this weekend. Hopefully the weather stays warm, since we heavily thatched our yard last week, then fertilized and seeded the lawn (right before a nice rainy day!). So much thatch came up out of the yard – you can see unthatched on the left, and thatched on the right:

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We found some interesting creatures this week as well – one was a really large jumping spider who hopped right through our back door and was walking around the kitchen. Nik got him in a cup to relocate outside, and he was watching us quite intently during this process:

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I also worked from home yesterday, and noticed this little creature running along our neighbor’s house when I glanced out the window. I watched him for a bit, then went outside to see if I could catch him since he definitely looked like an escaped pet and not a natural outdoor mouse. The catching was unsuccessful although I was able to get within a couple feet of him before he scurried further, but I left him some triscuits and bedding material to keep him warm – and some of the triscuits definitely got munched. I wonder if we’ll see him around again.

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Last weekend we also planted a lot of our vegetable garden seeds (tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers) and some flowers (zinnias, canterbury bells, vincas, and marigolds). They’re incubating in our sunny guest room window at the moment, but maybe we can move them outside for a few hours over the weekend to get some natural sun.

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We also finally harvested our beet crop, to start getting the garden ready for new plants, and they were disappointing to say the least…although we didn’t pay them much attention since planting seeds; I’m not sure we really ever watered them once during the fall/winter. Maybe next year will be better…but we still sauteed up the little nubs and ate them!

For other yard news, I mentioned we’re working on building a flower bed in our backyard using the left over jungle gym wood. We have the plans laid out, and last weekend we bought all the metal linkers and deck screws that we’ll use to give the wood edges some support. So I’d like to get this all situated this weekend so we can add some dirt and eventually get some flowers relocated to this bed. Here’s some pictures of the progress, and the plans:img_3274

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Next on the list is we obtained some side tables for our guest bedroom that are perfect for the space – and the pair was $30 on craigslist! But they have numerous coats of thick paint on them, so I’m curious to see what wood we’ll find when we strip it off. We’ll probably repaint the body of the side tables, and depending on how the tops look, either paint or stain those. I forgot to snap a picture of them…but once we start working on them, I’ll show some. We also have a large console-type piece of furniture that we are redoing for a friend, so perhaps some stripping of that piece will happen this weekend as well.

I also want to start thinking about the crown molding on our downstairs ceilings – I added up dimensions this week, and figured we need about 130 feet of molding to do the living room, foyer/stair column, dining room, and powder room. A contractor’s pack of molding is $78/96′, so this project will be much less expensive than I had thought…for some reason I had priced this DIY project at $1800 when we first bought the home, and I have no idea where that number came from…even if we eventually do the rooms upstairs, it won’t be nearly that much. Crown molding isn’t easy though (painting, cutting properly, installing up over your head with the nail gun, filling holes, caulking, and touch up paint), so it will feel like $1800 of labor! Maybe we’ll start small with the powder room this weekend, to see what we’re getting ourselves into.

It’s so much fun writing about all the things we’re surely going to accomplish in one weekend – we’ll see by Monday how much we really get done!

Yard Work

With the beautiful weather that’s been around the past few weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I attempted to seed my lawn about a month ago, and added starter fertilizer a week ago, and it is very slowly starting to come up in places…with our hard clay soil and sloped yard, I think a lot of seed probably washed away in other places before it set out roots. Or the weeds are totally choking out new growth. I also got a sprinkler which is SO much better than standing and watering my yard by hand almost every night which, despite the small size of my yard, took about an hour and probably didn’t get the ground nearly as wet as a sprinkler.  Many spots will have to be revisited with more seed, perhaps after a serious weed treatment and a lawn aeration in the fall. But some of my baby grass is sending up shoots:

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We also weeded out the beds in front of our house, which were covered in weeds (see the little weeds around this daffodil, and it had gotten even worse in the last couple weeks!).

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We weeded and mulched everything:

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I’m trying to talk myself into thinking that if we keep these areas free of debris and weeds, the monster spiders that live near our porch will seek areas with more cover and stay away. Unlikely, but here’s to hoping!

We also added a bird feeder and bird house out back. I always thought birds were sweet docile creatures, but after a week they had torn the feeder apart and ripped off all the hole covers so the seed spilled out, and then the squirrels got to it. Apparently a $7 feeder cannot withstand my yard’s wildlife, so a more substantial one has been ordered. Here’s a squirrel who was literally dragging the fallen feeder around the yard for a while trying to get the remaining seeds out:

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And finally, after a less-than-pleasant notice from our HOA informing us that our mailbox paint was unacceptable (although our neighbor’s disabled van that has been on the street since about January with no air in the tires and a busted front end is totally contributes to the aesthetic appeal of our neighborhood), we scraped off the old paint and sanded it, and Nik put a couple new coats of exterior enamel on it this week.

We’re trying to do everything the HOA complained about on the exterior of our house to up our chances that they’ll approve our garden (move our trashcans out of sight from the road even though 9/10 houses on our street keeps their cans on the side of their home or in the driveway, and none of our neighbors got a notice asking them to move their cans), fix the mailbox paint, and fix our lawn’s weed situation (they asked us to “please remove all weeds from your yard within 14 days of receipt of this letter”…hah!). They STILL haven’t decided if they’re going to let us have this garden despite my 5+ attempts to contact them and inquire about whether a decision has been made, or to ask if they have suggestions so we can redesign it a way that they are happy with how it looks. I honestly never knew people could make this much fuss about a small raised bed garden and a few vegetable plants, but apparently being given authority does things to people.

This weekend we’re hoping to wrap up some trim painting in the house and maybe get started on painting some kitchen cabinets. My parents will be in town so I’m excited to show them all the projects we’ve done in the past few months.

Our Yard

For this post, I’ll introduce you to our new yard. Nik and I love gardening, and a yard that had some nice trees but also some good sun was important to us. Admittedly, the yard at our new house was not one of the best selling features, but I think it’ll work for us to build a garden that is hopefully pretty and fruitful eventually. With all the work we’ve done cutting back overgrown trees, I also think we’ve gained a fair bit of area which is always good.

I’ll start off with the front yard, which is grassy with two large crepe myrtle bushes on either side of the house. These bushes were way overgrown, so trimming them into an actual tree shape was one of the big tasks out front. Our parents made huge progress on the left bush, here’s the dramatic before and after:

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Then the right bush had some actual trees growing up out of the middle of it, so we invited our friends Lindsey and Dave over with their handy chainsaw and we did a number on this bush as well:

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And here’s the after picture of that bush:

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Next, my dad used his edger to trim back the awful crabgrass encroaching on our sidewalk, curb, and driveway. Here’s a before picture and my dad in action:

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And here’s some after pictures…I think we gained a few inches on every edge!

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In our backyard, the woods were also encroaching and there were tons of big vines hanging down. My parents and Nik’s mom and I worked for hours back there, and these pictures don’t do our work justice because we took down A LOT of brush. You can see the huge brush piles we’ve made, and what a difference it made – we can actually see our woods now and they’re very pretty from the back deck.

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Our playset is still up, and eventually it’ll be taken down. We’re brainstorming some creative projects we can do to use the weathered wood. But Nik had to play in it first, of course.

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Unfortunately, disturbing the trees in the back has unearthed some monsters that need to be dealt with, but also some cute tree frogs:

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Our front shrubs were in need of a trim, which I tackled with a donated hedge trimmer from my parents

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And our grass grows crazy fast – this is only one week after mowing, which I do every weekend:

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We did some upgrades to our deck, some of which I have pictures of. Nik’s dad put our new grill together, and powerwashed the deck – you can literally see the line of dirt that has come off, and it’s looking pretty good now. Nik and his dad also attached a new top railing since the old one was pretty splintery. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that so you’ll have to imagine it.

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Whew. So much work has been done outside, and it’s looking great! We still need to figure out where to put those huge brush piles, but we just signed up for yard waste bins and they’ll do a big haul away once a year so we’re hoping that’ll take care of most of it.

As for the inside, our floors are coming along decently. We ran into a bit of an issue this last week, which I’ll write about when I do my floor post. The opened-up wall is also coming along great – one more dose of drywall mud and some wet sanding and it should be ready for primer and paint. Here’s measuring to make cuts and putting them in:

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And here’s the (mostly) installed drywall:

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And here’s Nik doing the mudding:

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Now we’re down to the wire. We’re moving in on Monday (5 days!!!) and our to do list is not exactly short. I painted the master bedroom last night, so that might be the last of the painting before we move even though there’s still 2 unfinished bedrooms. The floors are the major thing to get done, but we have an uneven area that needs to be dealt with before we can lay the last 6 or so feet of rows. That’ll be the big task this weekend, that and, oh, just packing up our entire apartment. I always judge TV home improvement shows for always rushing their projects, and I’d rather take my time and do it right, but here we are scrambling to get finished so we can move in!

So next post will be the floors (that will hopefully be finished and even by the end of this weekend!). And then I’d like to nap for a week after we move!