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Yard Work ?!?!

18 Aug

Same stuff, different URL!

I have moved to:


When I first started this blog way back… oh, a month ago, I never even remotely considered that yard work or gardening would be a topic I’d talk about. I’ve always referred to myself as someone with a black thumb. I’m not good at taking care of plants and I’m also not at all knowledgeable about plants, yard work, or landscaping in general. I also happen to be completely and totally uninterested in manual labor (big surprise eh?).

However, the front and back yards of our house have been in need of some major work for a while now. Like, since LAST spring and summer. Basically nearing a point where another year of neglect would make it a HUGE amount of work, potentially even something expensive, to fix up.

Last week I decided that it was time to get to work and stop putting it off. I started out by purchasing an electric shrub trimmer and trimming all the yews (and one random juniper – why only one juniper? no idea, previous owners of our home had some very strange ideas) in front of our house. I do not like these bushes – in terms of aesthetic, if I were picking bushes that needed to look consistently nice all year long and didn’t require a lot of maintenance, I would never pick yews. However, they are already there and though Jon and I have thought about removing them, that’s a lot of work and trimming them was something I could do now.

Here’s a before and after shot of just a portion of the yew population in front of our house:


Trimming was so satisfying! It was fun. You can tell the yews had gotten too large though, because some of the areas I trimmed were just bare branch. Maybe they will come back next year, but at least they do look nice covered in snow during the winter. You can tell in these photos that I’ve still got to rake up and replace the mulch under the yews.

The yew trimming project gave me the self confidence I needed to decide  to take on the job of cleaning up and re-doing ALL of the landscaping around our house. This is kind of a large undertaking, it might take a couple of months, but I’m devoted to our landscaping looking nice now.

The next areas I did were: the space around our mailbox and the two areas right next to the side door we use every day – like most people in New England, we never use the front door, only the side door. I thought this was very strange when I moved here, from California, 10 years ago. Now I’m used to it and it makes perfect sense!

We replaced the mailbox early in the spring, but the area around the mailbox was just plain old dirt, the mulch that was there had pretty much turned into dirt or been blown/plowed away during the last few winters. The weeds took advantage of that dirt surface to grow aplenty. The area looked very unkempt, especially when compared to our neighbors mailbox, which is right next to ours. They have rocks down as a ground cover and it’s very tidy over there.

I should have taken a before picture for comparison, but I think I did a very good job weeding, putting all the retaining bricks back up nicely (they were just a fallen down jumble before), and mulching.

The other section of the front yard that is now finished for the season is the flower bed next to our sidedoor path. This area is earmarked for an herb garden next spring, so right now we’ve just got the azalea (which I hope to trim back quite a lot in early spring), two unnamed duck statues, and I’ve since added two brick stepping stones behind the azalea, as we walk over that area a lot when walking into the house from the drive way. I unfortunately again don’t have a full before and after – however you can see how the area was basically bare earth, after I finished weeding.

I put down compostable paper bags and then covered them with mulch. The bags are supposed to help keep weeds from growing back, but only until the bag starts decomposing. This is a good thing, as it should be pretty much gone by next spring when we go to plant. This is what I learned on the internet – hopefully the internet will not lead me astray!

Looking at this area now makes me very happy. It’s neat, the path is clean and the mulch is dark, a nice contrast to the red bricks. Never been a fan of the red bricks, but I’m working with them because they are in good shape and, well, already there.

Next on my to-do list is the overgrown flower bed in front of our house. Basically we have a pathway shaped like an L – part of the path goes to the side door, the other part goes to the front door we don’t use. That path is shaded and moist I guess, because it’s prone to moss. A lot of moss. And the flower bed along side this path is basically almost all grass with three very grass choked azaleas (they must have been on sale or something when the previous owners did the landscaping).  I started work on Tuesday night and plan to basically clean the path, remove all the moss and weed and mulch the entire flower bed. The azaleas have to go (they could never survive the pruning needed for me to clear out their roots) – so we shall decide next spring what we want to plant here!

Here are the before pictures – soon it won’t look like a haunted house anymore!