Adventures in Landscaping: Reevaluating the Yard

It has officially been over a year since my first Adventures in Landscaping. I promise it has not been a full year since I’ve landscaped my yard (although we got pretty lazy over winter).

With another year gone and a baby in the house, our priorities and our available time to landscape have shifted. Last year, I wanted to install a rock garden in front of our fence. That did not happen, but check out what did!

Our front yard and porch, with a fancy new railing and a designated gravel path for our trash cans and man-door in the fence.

We built a railing for our porch! We’ll paint it at some point, but this weekend project did a surprising amount for both curb appeal and privacy for the front of our house. Tons of neighbors/passersby have complimented it.

We also started to level out the dirt/weed patch in front of the fence (left side of the photo). I dug out some dirt and laid down some gravel to have easier access to our trash cans and the man-door in that corner of the fence. Note the black post where our mailbox used to be just inside the steps. That has to go at some point.

For now, though, we’re content with our front yard. We still want to do the rock garden, but the backyard has taken priority this spring/summer.

The Garden!

The inside of our fence, by the man-door.

Inside the man-door, we have more gravel and a mulch garden along the side of the house. We want to extend both the gravel and the mulched areas, since that area of the yard is overly shaded by a magnolia tree and can’t really grow anything but weeds.

Other side just behind our front fence. Vegetable garden and gravel pile.

Moving to the right, you see the other front corner of the yard. My wife’s vegetable garden includes a couple varieties of tomatoes, sweet hot peppers, and some other things she could probably tell you about. We’ve already harvested some of the sweet hots.

This part of the yard is okay for now, although we might expand the vegetable garden eventually. Note the gravel pile in the top left of the photo. That will be used for my real project…

Back end of the yard, reserved for a stone patio.

The Patio! Forlorn but not forgotten

I still want to build that damn stone patio. Last year, my plans were too ambitious. I wanted the patio to extend from the cement pad on the right to underneath the two pine trees on the left. It was about a 25′ x 22′ area of dirt we would have had to dig out. Way. Too. Much.

I remeasured a couple weeks ago and settled on a much more reasonable size of 20′ x 13’4″ — that patch of dirt/weeds in a roughly rectangular shape on the right side.

I have the area marked out and have begun digging along the edge. Thanks to my smaller patio area, I have less digging to do and more leveling. There are a couple of mounds of dirt in that patch that need to go, but it honestly shouldn’t take more than a couple of hard days of digging/moving dirt.

Then, we’ll have to lay down a few inches of gravel. That pile pictured above is not nearly enough, but it will be a start. Then come the patio stones.

Along the side of the shed to the right you can see 90 paving stones, 16″ x 16″ each. I need 150 to complete the patio, so we’ll have to buy those. The existing ones also need to be power-washed, since they’re caked in mud and moss.

The area underneath the two little pine trees will likely become slightly raised gardens, with at least some of the dirt we move being spread more evenly across there.

That’s the plan for this summer. I’ll post more pics as soon as we make some noticeable progress.

Steve D

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