The Scaping of the Land

23 08 2010

And the time did come that the man and woman did plant their shrubs and their flowers and they did spread their mulch of life onto the land they did possess.

In other words, we recently completed a pretty big landscape project at our house.

A few months ago we had our lawn seeded, and while that has been coming in nicely, our home still lacked the outdoor flair of a shrub or a flowering plant, or really any desirable plant life at all.  The house was built with a curbed off area wrapping around from the front steps to the side of the house, which until recently was our “exotic” garden — by which I mean, it was nothing but weeds.

My brother, Christopher (or Chris to some of you), is part owner of a landscaping firm, and responded to my request of coming up with a plan.  I had diagrammed the area, and he filled in the details of what plants to use where and how to go about doing it.  This is what it looked like:

The diagram of our soon to be scaped land

Late last week, I started the task of weeding the area.  Boy was that back breaking work.  I essentially ended up pulling up one-by-one 190 square feet of weeds, mostly on my hands and knees.

Our Exotic Garden

Earlier in the week, I had gone to Lowes to get a few supplies.  Among them were some weed killer, some landscaping fabric, and a whopping 25 bags of cypress mulch.  Talk about feeling important, walking out of Lowes with two of their heavy duty carts loaded to the gills with mulch bags.  The excitement was only beginning.

After I had finished weeding, and after a brief cloud burst and windstorm that I thought were going to hamper my plans, I headed down to a nursery near my house and began my shopping.  The excitement was building!  I walked in with my plan in hand and started locating the plants.  I asked one of the employees for helping finding the plants before I started loading them up.  When she saw me with this drawing and a list of plants, she spoke up, “I take it you are a contractor?”  “Uuuummm, no,” I responded.  “My brother is, and he did this for me.”  I was on top of the world.  I loaded up my RAV4 with all sorts of plants, and on the ride home, my car was a sort of crowded greenhouse on wheels.  I was almost to the point of being giddy.  This was one of the most exciting shopping trips I can remember, and it happened to fall on my birthday, which was just a bonus.  I was buying real, adult flowers for my adult house and I was going to put them in myself to enjoy for a long time!

A good day's kill, I'd say!

That was Friday, and Saturday, Melissa and I started out after the dew burned off a little bit.  The forecast had called for a clear day in the upper 70s.  What we got was an overcast, ultra humid day, with a bit of a mist for the first hour or two.  The mist actually seemed to help us stay cool, which I guess was nice.

Now, I’m not sure if this is true to the entire area, or if it was because of the fill they used when building our house, but below the three inches of top soil, we encountered some pretty thick, wet clay.  This certainly made it difficult.  In fact, it was so bad at times that we had to take breaks occasionally to scrape what literally became an inch or more of clay and mud caked to the bottom of our shoes.  That just added to the story.

Well, we kept on chugging, starting from one side and working to the other, digging our holes and filling them in with plants.  We laid out the fabric and then spread the mulch.  All-in-all, we spent about 6 hours from start to finish, and for a couple of amateurs, I’d say we did pretty well.

The house now has some character

From left to right: an arborvitae, 3 goldmound spireas, and 3 Stella de Oro Day lilies

Beyond the spireas and the day lilies, we have some anabelle hydrangea, 3 wood pink asters, and 3 may night salvias. We will plant tulip bulbs eventually as well.

As so it was done.  Unlike the lawn, I think this project looks good right away.  I can enjoy it now and for as long as I own this house.  This was a job that absolutely required Melissa’s help, and I could not have done it without her.  Despite the mud, the humidity, the bugs, and long hours, she was a good sport about the whole thing, for which I thank her.  Now I can just sit back and watch them grow — that is at least until my next project rolls around!

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