Thursday, May 15, 2014

Backyard Part II - Mulch and Plants

See that adoration on her face?? Only for daddy!

((( Part I here )))

This next part happened over the course of a month or so probably.  Between weather issues and other plans, and fitting in work on weekends or during naps, it took a while.  But it happened!

So, after we got the irrigation laid (I say we liberally throughout this post, fyi), we worked to get the area ready for our landscaping.  Tony rented a tiller and tilled up the weeds and fun stuff that laid here.  Then he sprayed it all with Roundup to kill the weeds.  

Again, don't be deceived by all that green...

Next, we laid down a tremendous amount ($$$) of landscape fabric to further prevent the weeds from returning, and also to create a nice flat surface to lay our stuff on.  It was like carpeting the backyard.  I actually helped with this stage.  You secure it with metal spikes called crampons - fun fact.

 By this point, Tony had already shoveled in 2 yards of gravel for the irrigation trench.  So naturally, we needed more stuff for him to laboriously move.

We wanted to create landscape beds using edgers.  But we've used cheapo small ones before, and they end up mired in muck and are generally not effective at keeping things separated.  So we splurged (our version of it at least) and got these nice tumbled cobbles.  They are huge and heavy and have a nice natural look.  They aren't cheap, go figure!  

I was pretty proud of the rounded design I came up with. There was some tweaking, but the idea in my head actually worked in real life, which is unusual! 

This almost-enclosed area is going to be our play area.  We're thinking swingset, playhouse, etc in this little designated space.

Spot the snacking toddler!

We kept having to lay the landscape fabric in phases, since we kept underestimating how much we needed.

 So after Tony laid all 200 or so of these 40-pound-each cobbles, it was time to buy more stuff for him to haul!  

Enter mulch - two kinds!  We got regular black mulch for the beds, and cypress chips for the play area, since that's what is often used on playgrounds.  I think we got 4 yards of each - so we're up to 10 yards of stuff plus cobbles that Tony's moved so far.  Harper loved playing on the mounds.  She kept running up to them and yelling WOW! WOW! WOW!  Tony's dad was a big help in helping him spread mulch too.  

Harper was always eager to help.  We brought most of the mulch in while we had reinforcements, but then Tony had to go back in and dig in the cobbles.  This involved cutting the fabric where they would go, using a flat shovel to dig a very shallow trench, and then fitting them in it.  It took him probably 8 hours total to do all of them, spread over the course of two days.  I watched!

Next we got to go out to buy some plants.  I was so excited to do this, since we are always too cheap to really buy plants.  We actually got good ones and ignored price tags.  It still ended up being cheaper than we imagined, maybe about $200.

And by the magic of the internet.... boom! results!   (I actually very much helped plant plants, for the record!)

We got plants that we knew would grow pretty big and fill in the space.  We plan to add annuals and more smaller, colorful things later.  Most of these are evergreen too, which will help.  I don't have a good picture, but we simply planted more hostas in the other bed by the play area (we already had some there).  That side of the yard is total shade, so hostas are pretty much our only choice.  We also moved some struggling gardenias and put in three hydrageas, which I have wanted for years and years!  I'm hoping it's not too shady for them.

I know I promised hardscape on this post, but it's long enough so I will leave you with this preview of a sweaty, hyper Harper enjoying her play area thoroughly! 

Next installment - more rocks!


  1. This looks so great!!! Your hydrangeas should be just fine in almost full shade- just make sure they (and the hostas) get plenty of water. It's so darn hot here in GA that full shade is actually a good thing. Also, consider some heucheras for another fun shade plant- they come in a variety of colored leaves so are a fun addition and something unexpected :)

  2. It's already looking great. You are going to love having this great outdoor space to enjoy.


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