Category Archives: Landscaping

Time for a little pruning

So now that we have a plan and a budget, it is finally time to get started. So, first I will use my weed trimmer/edger to clean up the edges of the grass.  I will also use it to mark an edge where I want my retaining wall to be placed.  This allows me to see some immediate progress.  Seeing progress as you go will help to keep you interested in the project.

 

This is a progress picture before I began trimming but after I had edged and swept the sidewalk.  Again, if you break the project down into short components, not only will it help you stay on track but you will see progress without feeling overwhelmed. I always like to clean up as I go, so that if I need to stop or am interrupted, I feel better about leaving the project.

Time for a little pruning and shaping.  I have a vision in my mind of the outcome, so I will work at putting that into practice.  If this is your first pruning, it may take you a little while to decide your desired result.  Have a clear vision of what you plan to accomplish with the pruning.  That will help you to stay on track with the shape.

 

This is the beginning of my pruning process.  I began by using my sawsall to cut some of the larger branches off of the bottom, working up a little distance on the trunk.  I want to give the grass under the tree a better opportunity to thrive.  Note the sawsall, a few branches already on the ground, and the trash bag.  As I said before, I like to clean up as I proceed.  It really helps to keep the project manageable if I break it down into components.

The bottom of the tree has been trimmed up, and notice the difference just that little bit of trimming made to the front of the house.  You can actually see the front door now!

This is now the shape of the tree from the garage side of the house.  It has a better shape.  There is still a small section at the top that needs to be trimmed.  It has died, but I need another tool to reach that piece.  One of the tools that I used for this portion was a hedge trimmer.

 

The tree has been shaped and with one small exception (which is the area that I was unable to reach with my 8 ft. ladder) it is ready for some lights.  We are going to be doing the lights later, but we can move on to the next step.  Trimming and shaping this tree has made a difference in the front.  It is now possible to see the door and the shrub that is nearest the door!  We can see progress and all of the trimmings have been bagged up for disposal.

The next step will be to begin building the retaining wall to add a little visual interest and separate the grass from the rock a little more distinctly.

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A plan and a budget!

Having decided that some change needs to occur, it is important to decide what form that change is going to take.  The first thing that should be done is to make a plan.  Walk around landscaping stores and home improvement stores.  Think about what you like and take pictures of the different items that you decide you might like to incorporate into your design.  Make note of prices so that you can build a budget before you get started.  If this is your first project, understand that you will probably run short of some things, so leave yourself some room in your budget.  How much do you want to spend to improve the curb appeal?  Really give it some thought and plan it out before you start on the work.  It can really help your project run more smoothly and keep you on track if you don’t have the time or funds to do the project all at once.
Sweet broom will be a nice, colorful addition!

I have decided on some sweet broom to replace the missing plants.  A small retaining wall to separate the grass from the rock will be a nice addition as well.

Windsor wall pieces
The block that I have chosen to create a small retaining wall
Some pavers to go along with the retaining wall blocks

I will put some pavers in on one side of the garage to provide a better area for the garbage cans and better access to the back yard without disturbing the rocks along that side.  Some of the existing pavers will be utilitzed, but we will add some of these as well.

Some solar coach lights will help to brighten up that dark walkway.  Solar will also make it easy to relocate them if I am not happy with the placement, but there won’t be any wiring to be of concern.

So, now that I have my ideas it is time to price it all out.

Having decided on a plan for the area, I set about making a budget.  It includes some lighting changes, a small retaining wall addition, some pavers, a few new plants and rock and a general facelift on the existing plants.  My initial budget for all of this, not including tools, came in at around $300.  I am only paying for materials.  I am setting the budget at $400 since I know from past experience that I will probably change my mind on some quantity and want to have a little room for that.

 

Here is the budget breakdown for the project:

 

Front   Yard Project
3 Strings   of 50 ct. Warm White Twinkling Solar Lights  $19.99 ea

59.97

1 Set of   Solar Coach Lights $28.93 ea

28.93

10   stackingwindsor  wall pieces $2.98 ea

29.8

2 3.5   Gallon Sweet Brooms $17.98 ea

35.96

2   Landscape Fabric (Weed Control) $13.78 ea

27.56

2 Scotts   Turfbuilder $5.97 ea

11.94

Scotts   Fertilizer with crabgrass preventer $25.97 ea

25.97

6 bags of   Southwest cobble rock $4.38 ea

26.28

10 pavers $4.98 ea

49.8

296.21

 

 

The extra room is for additional pavers and rock, if I am not happy with the initial result.  These numbers also do not include taxes, which vary so much from state to state.

 

I have included solar lighting as part of my lighting upgrade, as I do not really want to run any wiring.  I am a skilled electrician, but prefer the solar option for landscaping.  It is simple and energy efficient.  Also, if I don’t like the initial location, they can be easily relocated with minimal work.

So now we have a plan and a budget!  The next step is to begin the work.

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Is it time for a little curb appeal?

From time to time, your landscaping may need a little change up.  I am going to take you step by step through a change that I am making in one front yard, including all of the tools necessary and the costs (based on Spring 2012 prices) associated with these changes.

Here is the yard before we did any work.  It has an overgrown Leyland cypress in the front which is very large and appears to be healthy.  It has a small patch of grass, that appears to be struggling due to shade from the cypress and from root incursion.  The grass also seems to have an inundation of crab grass.  There is one flourishing shrub, one that is missing entirely, and one that is obviously struggling.  The rock on both sides has an incursion of weeds and seems to be only a slight covering, exposing some weed fabric in places.  The walkway up to the house doesn’t seem very inviting in the daytime and as you can see from the pictures, it is even less so at night.  On the garage side, there are some pavers, although they seem somewhat haphazardly placed, more spots are missing rocks and some chain link fencing is cluttering up this side yard.  Judging from the amount of pigeon droppings under the window, this house also appears to have a challenge regarding the pigeons.  All in all, not totally unkempt but entirely lacking in character or curb appeal.

But all of that can be fixed!  The first thing that should be done is to make a plan.  Walk around landscaping stores and home improvement stores.  Think about what you like and take pictures of the different items that you decide you might like to incorporate into your design.  Make note of prices so that you can build a budget before you get started.  If this is your first project, understand that you will probably run short of some things, so leave yourself some room in your budget.  How much do you want to spend to improve the curb appeal?  Really give it some thought and plan it out before you start on the work.  It can really help your project run more smoothly and keep you on track if you don’t have the time or funds to do the project all at once.

 

 

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