Saturday, May 31, 2014

Evolution Of Our Backyard

Last week I took you on a Spring Tour of our garden. 
Spring 2014

It didn't always look like this and when we moved into our house in October 2000, the yard, especially the backyard, looked pretty rough. This week I thought I'd share how it evolved  over the years.

This is how it looked before we began landscaping. You can't really see in the photo, but there are huge fuzzy vines climbing some 30 feet into some of the trees. We had to pull them out with a car  because our lawn tractor didn't have enough weight or power on it. 
This photo shows the middle right part of the backyard. 

This photo shows the left side of the backyard. 

I drew up a plan on the computer before we even began. We planted shrubs, plants and flowers a section at a time since we were doing all of this ourselves.

We had to cut down a few of the smaller trees to make room for our girls playset. Digging out stumps and roots is sooooooo much fun!

This first section was pretty rough and the playset looks so small. Everyone in our neighborhood seemed to have a huge playset, but we brought ours from SoCal and it barely fit in our backyard there. We weren't about to purchase a new playset since the girls would only be using it for a few years at best. 

When the girls grew out of playing on the playset, Mr DIY installed a paver patio in it's place. 

We originally had two paths in the woods that went all the way to the other side of the yard.

Several years later we combined the paths to make one larger one. It made getting the lawn tractor through to the woods a little easier. 

A few years ago, we moved my playhouse up about 35 feet and moved the path, as well. Here's a photo taken at the same spot last week. 

These photos are of the same spot in theack yard and show how the yard looked then and now: 





4 years ago we built some raised veggie beds on the South side of the house after taking out some large loropetalum shrubs that we grew tired of trimming twice a year. 
You can read about that HERE.

The following year Mr. DIY built some raised beds on the North side of the yard. You can read about these raised beds HERE.

As you can see, our yard is ever changing to suit our needs. I'm always moving plants around and digging in the dirt. 

Do you love to garden and change things up in your yard, or does it stay the same every year?

Hope you're having a fun weekend. 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spring Garden Tour

Ok y'all,
grab your favorite beverage and put your feet up for a few minutes,
because we'll be taking a tour of our Spring Garden.

Our Spring mulching is finished...

all 322 bags
(23.85 yards)

(We usually get mulch in bulk, but both big box stores had a great sale on bags, which made it less expensive)

So glad it's done!

We finished mulching the flower beds late this year.
A few years ago we started too early and were finished in March. You'd think we'd know by now that April is the best month to get this job done.  The weather is still cool and the perennials haven't popped up yet so it's easier to spread the mulch.
It was near 90 degrees (with a lot of  humidity) a couple of days that we were working in the yard. 

On to the tour:
Let's start in the front yard. Our youngest daughter's boyfriend got us off to a great start and spread the mulch in the front flower beds.
Thank you Blake!
It was a big help. 
I trimmed all 25 of the shrubs in the front by hand the day before and cut out 3 shrubs with my new pole saw.
I tell ya, I was ready to cut all of the shrubs down when I was about half way through trimming them. 

This photo shows what is seen from the front yard, looking into the back.

Our "North" garden raised beds are just beyond the Bradford Pear tree hiding behind two Cleyera shrubs.

This year I expanded my herb garden.
A few years ago I planted mint in a container in the ground to contain the roots. The oregano is doing really well and both the mint and oregano are perennials pretty enough to put in a flower bed.
This year thyme, cilantro and two kinds of parsley were planted. I plant basil ever year, as well.



These are our North garden raised beds and the wood planters  Mr. DIY made for me  last year.
We've already been harvesting broccoli and snow peas. Potatoes and garlic should be ready next month.
Cucumbers and squash are about 8" high.

Turning around toward the house you can see a long line of hostas. They are the first plant to come alive in the Spring.

Now we are back up "topside" on the side of the garage looking down into the backyard.
Our "South garden" veggie beds are to the left along side of the house.

Walking down the hill into the backyard...this is one of the easiest photos to take in the morning because the light is perfect. Photos taken from this part of the yard show the true color of the yard and need no editing at all.

Everything from this part of the yard looks so green, even the lawn which is at least 50% weeds.

We've had a few difficult summers and the grass has had a hard time.

Ok, seriously, this is the last one.

Back up on the deck looking down into the yard...
you can see the garden path leading down to the patio in the woods and my childhood playhouse.

Looking a bit to the left...

...a bit to the right...

...and a little more to the right.  
If you'd like to see how the garden before we did any work, you can click HERE
It wasn't always a backyard oasis. It was REALLY rough!
When I look back at those before pics, it's hard to believe. 

My parents gave me the little blue playhouse for my 5th birthday. It's painted just like our first home back in SoCal. We brought it with us when we moved to North Carolina.

We've changed things up over the years. When our girls were little, their swing set was where the paver patio was and the playhouse was farther back. The path used to wind around to the right and then continue almost to the creek. 

We use a yard of cypress chips on the path. The chips last a long while and we only have to freshen it up every other year.

When the weather is nice, we love having friends over to have a fire in the fire pit. Just wish we could get rid of the mosquitoes in the summertime!

Mr. DIY installed the patio in the woods pretty much all by himself. I think I helped a little. I remember we had a pretty big pile of sand and our girls played in it. I vaguely remember a pretty cool photo looking through a tunnel in the sand and I'm going to have to dig that up. (I think it was before digital photography)

This stone frog sits in the ajuga growing near the edge of the paver patio.

Begonias and a trailing vine do well in a shady spot beside the patio.

I love this spot....

Stepping back into the mulched area...

Looking back up the path toward the house...

My favorite outdoor space is under the deck. I'll have to show you that space another time.

Do you love hostas as much as I do? They are easy to grow from rhizomes. I think I bought 3 bags of 8 hosta rhizomes and planted them in the Fall about 12 years ago. When the plants got bigger, I just divided them until the back of the house and the North side along the house had a long line of hostas.
They are so pretty.
Deer don't seem to bother the hostas planted near the house.

...another hosta near the  patio under the deck.

Well, you made it to the end of our Spring Garden Tour. I hope you enjoyed it. 

Thanks for stopping by and visiting our garden!