Wood you be so kind…

To listen to my little rant?

In my last post I mentioned a big reveal for the final work on my yard. However, the big reveal really is more of big let down. See, I got lazy and thought I could hire someone to do the remaining yard work for me. So, hire I did, I called a contractor I’d worked with one time before, he quoted me a fairly reasonable rate, so I set up a time for he and his constituents to come and complete the work I had started. The task: to spread mulch over exposed dirt along the perimeter of the backyard and front yard, and reuse crusher fines from the back and place them in a pathway  in the front.

I stupidly thought quality materials would be used, but that’s really my fault in not being clear of my intentions for the yard. From a distance it looks beautiful, and it probably looks fine to anyone else. But to me, I see things that I would rather not have in my yard. But more on that later…

I love the path, it’s exactly what I had in mind, and I got to reuse my old crusher fines.  However, the mulch isn’t quite what I had expected. Turns out the contractor got it from the City for $5.00 a load. Meaning that, the stuff that  has been spread all over my yard is shredded up yard waste from all over the community. The professional I hired did not share this little tidbit with me, until after it had been spread  and I complained about the quality. Oh yes, and after payment had been received. This sort of mulch is great if you’ve got a large lot and just need some cheap ground cover.  In fact, I think this is a great way of instituting the 3 R’s.  But (yes, I’m full of those aren’t I?) it just doesn’t work in our yard.  First of all, we don’t have a back 40 that needs cheap ground cover, secondly, the chunks are too big and too sharp for the brat dogs to play on, and thirdly, I don’t have the time or the desire to sift through a ton of mulch to remove unwanted materials.

I blame myself really, I didn’t ask enough questions, and I didn’t inspect the materials before they were used. It looks nice from a distance though doesn’t it? Until you get a closer look…

Notice the large chunks of wood and rock that is not original to my yard…

I mentioned the quality wasn’t quite up to my standards. Well, this is why…

Scary pieces of sharp metal, large pieces of ugly particle board, and various chunks of trash.

And it’s not only in my front yard, but also in the back…

Excuse my half dead Rosemary, but notice how thickly the trashy mulch has been laid down. It’s going to be a booger to pull up or even sift through.

And I should mention the dusty path that leads to…

A pile of discarded crusher fines! The plan was to use these throughout the yard but with every available surface covered with the trashy mulch, I really don’t know what to do with the extra crusher fines. And yes, I did ask that mulch be put on exposed soil, however, I underestimated how much crusher fine would be used in the front.

So, I’ve been sifting through the wood trying to sort good wood, bad wood, trash, plastic, and metal.

Here’s my sorting stations that have been started so far…

Now I’m left with some decisions to make, should I continue sorting and sifting, should shifting of the ugly mulch begin in preparation for the placement of prettier mulch, or should I start all over again and give it away to a mulch needing soul on Craigslist? I realize that any mulch will have some non-compostables, but should they be so abundant that they take up bulk of the ground cover?

And to top it all off, I’ve got a backyard party planned in less than a month! Invites have been sent so there’s no backing out now!

Chalk this one up to an expensive and time consuming lesson in home improvement.

May Wrap Up

I’m participating in a blog color story series hosted by Jules, of Pancakes and French Fries.  Each month, Ms. Jules will recap a month in the life of herself and her family using colors that have been previously chosen for that month.  For instance, May has been ‘Jacaranda’ , for those of you who, like me (live under a New Mexican rock) and have never heard of a jacaranda tree, it’s a lovely tree the blooms beautiful purple flowers. So, any and everything purple was photographed for May. June will be “Peacock”, so all things with a lovely blue hue will be captured on film..er…by digital camera.  You can find more details over at Jules’ blog home here.

I wasn’t able to get my color story for April prepared until mid May, so if you are interested, please visit my story here.

Unfortunately, May flew by, without much purple in sight ,which was a disappointment I had big plans for all of it’s purple-y goodness. The reason May flew by so quickly you ask? Well, I’ve been working on a little landscape “renovation” of my front and backyards.  I know there aren’t many shades of violet and lavendar in this lil project photo story, but you will see a few glimpses of my purple and blue Bachelor Buttons. That counts for a color story doesn’t it?

Here’s what she looked like before I started my endeavor:

Ignore the weed grass, that’s the cowlick of my front yard. And my car usually has a hubcap, Bubba was working on the brakes, stopping is a good thing!  Oh, and notice the purple bachelor buttons!

The yard after the first full day…

Not very pretty or inviting…

Here she is on the third day, apparently I was way too tired after the second day to take photos…

I decided a nice little path might make things more interesting, and say “Welcome”  instead of “Go away, I know who Jesus is!”.

The plan, to seed or sod or possibly cover with wood mulch, the dirt rectangle by the front porch and flower bed. And to place left over crusher fine for the path. Painting of the porch and garage border will come soon after all the heavy work has been completed. Stay tuned for my big reveal!

One more, very unrelated thing to the color purple or moving rocks,  May 21st marked my FIRST blogiversary! Yep, it’s been a whole year since I got up the courage and I started my ramblings here at my blog home. There wasn’t a party, but there was carrot cake, and yes, I blew out the candle and made a little bloggie wish. But I can’t tell or it won’t come true!

The “Yard”

Remember in this post, I had mentioned that Bubba and I are planning our belated wedding party this summer. It will be held in our backyard, which currently looks like this…

Scary, I know!! My poor plants have been “Annie-fied”, and our landscape gravel that served as ground cover has been run across, wrestled on, and nested in so much, it is no more.

The backyard is now a giant sand box with spindly sticks that used to be beautiful plantings.

And we’ve got the  cinderblock walls of different heights and very close neighbors to contend with. Here’s the taller of all the walls, as well as a shot of the neighbors roofs (rooves?)

Here’s a better example of the different fencing levels. See in the corner, we’ve got the one side that is 7ft while the other is 4ft. There are even portions of the wall that are 3ft! I guess a some of our neighbors are more interested in getting to know us than others.

I know cinderblock walls aren’t pretty, but they do provide much needed privacy. So, I am choosing function over aesthetics this time around. The Bubba and I are getting bids from local fencing companies to achieve a more level fence in the back.  You know what they say, “Good fences, make good neighbors.”

Not that my neighbors are bad, but it would be nice to have some level of privacy in the backyard. Ya never know when I might want to do some nude gardening.

 

Anywho, moving on…Bubba and I are hoping to rip out  the nearly non-existant gravel with underlying “weed barrier” and attempt to plant grass. I say attempt, because here in the Southwest we are all on some pretty tight water restrictions. Plus, the soil is pretty sandy, I’m not sure if seed will even be able to root in the stuff. It will take come extensive conditioning to make the dirt grass friendly.

We’ve considered a few options…

1. Sod, this turned out to be entirely too much of an investment for us at the moment. Especially since I fear that any type of green grown cover will either burn in the sun or get trampled on by our sweet puppies.

2. Hydro-seeding which is essentially a spray on lawn that is typically seen on commercial sites and in highway medians. It is desirable to some because it’s cheaper than sod and grows faster than seed.There are some residential hydro-seeding contarctors in our area. So, I may give them a call. However, I fear they may chuckle when they see what a postage stamp yard we have.

3. Seed, this is desirable because of affordability. I could  buy 2 lbs of the stuff for ten buck-a-roos at the local garden center. But…(yes there are lots of but’s in this post), seed is very labor intensive and I am not entirely sure we’d have grass by the time the party rolls around.

There, three very good very viable options. It’s just a matter of deciding how much money and time the Bubba and I are willing to spend on a yard that may or may not hold up to poochies. Oh, that’s another thing, everything that gets planted out back will need to be resiliant enough to hold up to two very active dogs.

Oi Vey! I think I need to lay down!!

It’s always greener…

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my front yard. Well, I’ve got some progress happening. My seeds are sprouting!!

Hopefully soon I will have some pretty flowers under my pinon tree and in my flower bed. Here are some shots of my bachelor buttons and some white flowers that came in a wildflower seed pack. I can’t believe they are  already starting to bloom.

If you remember correctly, my front yard is full of river rock.

Here’s a close up in case you can’t see the treacherousness…

They are great if you don’t want to water anything, and enjoy having a blazing hot yard.  I dislike them because I lose my balance on them, actually I’ve been known to trip over  my own feet, so I need a yard with a nice level surface. I would like to remove all the rock and replace it with something like this:

But in my version of this, most of the grass will be around the porch and take up half of the yard, with the red pea gravel more towards the street. For a desert friendly yet green yard.  Here’s a close up of the pea gravel:

I have the same red pea gravel in the backyard as well. However after the addition of a little someone.

The gravel has become more dirt than gravel. So, we are planning on planting a patch of grass in the backyard as well for our little Annie dog.  We shall see how it turns out. This evening we plan to head on over to the Home Depot to pick up some sod and grass seed to experiment with. I shall post the results!

May Flowers

So, I don’t have May flowers quite yet. But maybe I will have June, July, August, or maybe even September flowers. Yesterday evening I finally made it out to the front yard to spread my seed…heh heh… Hopefully soon, I will have some of these…

And some of these…

And I can’t forget these…

And lots and lots of these…

However, my yard looks a bit barren at the moment. This is what the front yard looked like last night after I cleared away the trash and weeds. Some of my flowers from last year are coming back up this year. YAY! I love it when  something green (other than weeds) comes up on its own! Anything green is a big deal in the desert. So here’s the front flower bed with the few lil green things that decided to grow. Alongwith the river rock that was put in the “landscape” the front yard.

And my BEAUTIFUL Pinon tree, unfortunately, when the previous owners had the front yard landscaped with river rock, they also put down PLASTIC weed barrier. Which is great if you are trying to keep a barrier between you and the weeds, but bad when you are trying to grow a pretty tree.  Here is my tree after I scraped most of the river rock and plastic weed barrier away from the base to let her roots get some much needed air and water. Now my pretty tree can BREATHE! I just know she wiggled her toes when the last of the plastic barrier was removed.

Here is my sweetie watering the newly freed tree from her plastic prison…

Hopefully in a few weeks I will have some sweet baby flowers popping up. But in the mean time, I will supply some inspirational gardens.

ooh…

Aaah…

Quite yummy aren’t they? Makes me a bit jealous that I live in the desert where we often  resort to something like this…

Luckily though, not ALL low water plants and flowers are prickly, like these colorful lil’ fellas…

I just love summer, and can’t wait for my pretty flowers to grow up and make things bright and cheerful. Stay tuned for more garden shots in a couple of months.