Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Weekend Recap - Front Yard Landscaping, The Beginning

My husband and I were finally able to begin a new house project this weekend. Although, it wasn't planned and happened spur of the moment Saturday morning. 

This weekend was our community garage sale, and as we sat outside on our driveway our conversation turned to our front yard and how horrible it has been looking lately.We decided we needed to take drastic action to turn it around.

A little background on our front yard.  When we moved in to this house a little over a year ago, we inherited a yard full of weeds with a smattering of St. Augustine grass despite having a fairly strict HOA. We are not show lawn type people. I hate the idea of wasting money and water on a front lawn that is just for show. But after two letters of violation from our HOA, we figured we needed to take action of some sort. The second of these letters was received last fall. At that time we ripped out the patch of grass (weeds) between the curb and the sidewalk as well as the side of our yard between the driveway and the neighbors yard. Then we filled it with basalt rock (aka Texas black). It felt good to be able to replace these chunks of yard with no maintenance rocks. 

Over the winter I seeded the remaining lawn with winter rye, and between that and some low growing ground cover that sprouted up, our lawn didn't look half  bad compared to our neighbors dormant St. Augustine. 

However the last month or so our lawn has failed to thrive. We tried to water and add Bermuda seed, but it just wouldn't take. As we discovered, our once clay soil and been turned into sandy nutrient deprived soil that wouldn't support new seedling growth. Yes, we would need to fertilize and add compost if we wanted increase the soil health, but we were fed up with this whole lawn maintenance thing. So, sitting there Saturday morning, we decided to rip up half the yard. 

That brings you up to speed on where we started this weekend. So first things first, this is what we started with this weekend.

You can kind of see in this photo the bare patches that consisted of mostly weeds as well as the rock we put in last fall. 

Once we decided on the plan, I went to Home Depot to rent a tiller and purchase some metal edging pieces. I also purchased another wheelbarrow and shovel so that my husband and I could work on the project together.

Once home, the tilling began and we ended up with this.

You can see in the photo that we dug about 4 feet up from the curb, made a 68" wide pathway up from the sidewalk to the top sidewalk that leads to the front door, and dug out around 4-5 feet down from the top side walk. We tried to get all the areas that were having difficulty supporting grass growth. 

After tilling, we (and by we, I mean mostly my husband) spent two days digging up the top layer of dirt, weeds, and grass and transporting to our backyard. After several (10ish) hours of work, we had a nice dirt path and future planting beds. 

Then came time to install the metal edging. We just went around the path that we created using a rubber mallet to tap in the stakes.

That was pretty much all we got accomplished. This next week, we plan to add some dry stack limestone along the bottom sidewalk edge to help contain the basalt stone we plan on adding down there. Then it is on to the laying of landscape fabric and the rock itself. So check back for and update next week. 

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