One of the first projects on our DIY list is our front yard. Our yard has been the biggest glitch of this whole “buying your home sight unseen on the internet in the middle of winter from across the country” process. Being a new construction home, it was part of the purchase contract for a lawn and some basic landscaping to be put in. (When I say basic, I really mean a few random, inexpensive bushes planted at the base of the house with some mulch thrown down for good measure.) Not only did I expect this, but in a way I was happy that someone else wouldn’t be making too many aesthetic decisions for me. I had already compromised on so MANY interior items due to re-stocking fees and change orders ratcheting up what I considered to be some pretty simple adjustments to finishes, so I was okay with essentially being handed a blank canvas for the exterior. My biggest problem was, and continues to be, that we are on a *budget*, and so my champagne dreams of cobblestone driveways, wandering paths with pergolas and climbing bougainvillea all highlighted by exterior landscape lighting and the sound of a distant bubbling water feature or three are going to have to be toned down… just a bit. (Confession: I refuse to give up on it entirely…nasty habit this whole optimistic attitude thing!)
So, while we did end up with the agreed upon random, inexpensive bushes from the local nursery and a bag or two of mulch spread about, we didn’t exactly receive the agreed upon lawn. You know. Grass? What we were the proud new owners of was an astonishing amount of mud, rocks, stones, and construction garbage with a few random blades of what might have been grass sticking up between a surprisingly large variety of weeds. Looking out on our front yard after the spring thaw was a bit of a deflating moment for both of us. Back story: We’ve rented a whole lot of homes while working for Uncle Sam, and not a single one had a lawn that we could be proud of. Every. Single. One. was a disaster in it’s own unique way. So we both have this dream of plush green grass that our children can romp around on without complaining that the grass hurts (Texas), or that the stones make it hard to walk (Washington), or “Mom, there’s a huge (possibly poisonous) spider crawling under the top layer of weeds out here!” (Alabama).
After realizing that the yard wasn’t going to magically appear one day, we immediately started emailing our builder and asking when we could expect the lawn that we purchased from them. The emails and phone calls continued for months until finally, they agreed that the three grass blades that had taken root did not qualify as an actual lawn. So in late September our entire lot was re-graded, re-seeded, and watered feverishly so that the grass could take root before winter. In the meantime, we had kept ourselves busy doing a small amount of “hardscaping” with edging stones along our front walkway, carving out a few planting beds and attempted our first retaining wall project…ever. Right around the time we were able to stand up straight and the constant throbbing of my right elbow began to diminish, the weather started cooling off, and we turned our DIY attentions inside for some basic painting projects and planning out a total basement DIY project for (fingers crossed) next year. All of which I’ll show you soon, but first a little glimpse of the result of our summer 2013 progress…pre-lawn delivery. I promise, the next time you see pictures of the outside, we will be much closer to the plush lawn of our dreams!
After planting beds, retaining wall, and two new tree additions.
Planting beds with the cheap “builder special” bushes acting as space holders until Spring 2014.
Retaining wall aka “Marital Counseling” pre-planting palooza scheduled for April 2014.