Our Garden Makeover

We’ve been living in the new house for a little over a  year now. Our house is anything but a fixer upper, like our last one was, but there were some things I really wanted to spruce up around our little abode. Our front yard was one of these things.

While the old homeowners took fantastic care of their house, I found that the front yard was kind of boring, though…lots of iris and amaryllis bulbs. I tried to add a little color in, but a bunch of annuals can only do so much to a space. (pardon the finger in this one)

Before garden

We needed to do something a little more drastic, so I asked my mom (horticulturist extraordinaire) to draw up a little design for our yard.

I honestly thought it would take a day of work, tops. However, little did I know how much work reshaping a landscape involved! In fact, H did most of the reshaping, because as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t dig grass out as efficiently as H. It took us almost a week to finish it all (hey, we have to work too, you know…), but we got it done.

After multiple trips to Home Depot and Lowes, as well as hours of digging/spreading/planting, here’s our new front yard!

Garden

Isn’t it just awesome? The picture really doesn’t do it justice, though. I love that the only things I’ll have to replant are the annuals along the border (vs. when I had them throughout), as well as the annuals around the trees. MUCH easier, in my opinion. I can’t wait to see how these shrubs/bushes look when they grow a little more, too! It was a bit of a splurge for all of these plants, but it’s sort of an investment, since most of these shrubs/bushes are gonna stick around for years to come. :-)

Let’s just hope I remember to keep everything watered….I tend to forget than plants need it. :-P I didn’t get my mom’s green thumb…at all.

Yard Work Weekends

 The past two weekends have consisted of hardware stores, dirt, flowers, sore legs and smashing tons of bugs that would attempt to crawl on me. It has been tiring, for sure, but when Spring hits, I just get an itch to beautify everything outside.

Last weekend, we noticed our neighbors were fixing up their front beds, and we thought it would probably be best to start with that, since that’s what everyone sees when they drive by the house, and that would take the least amount of time.

2 azaleas and a bunch of begonias/petunias/zinnias later? I think our front yard garden is pretty fantastic looking, if I do say so myself! (We already had a ton of iris/amaryllis bulbs in the garden, as well as 2 indian hawthorne bushes we bought last Fall.)

The rest of the weekend, we cleared some old bushes in the backyard and also built a small shed (from a kit) in the back (that was mostly H, actually). It came out pretty cute, actually.

This past weekend, my big project was finally installing our square foot gardens. I purchased 2 of these kits at our local Sam’s Club, because the kits had raving reviews and for $40 (in store price) for a double raised garden? It wasn’t too shabby!

The only bummer about those kits is the double garden size is 3.5 ft. x 7 ft. So, two 3.5 ft. x 3.5 ft. gardens. Not an exact foot measurement, but eh, I think I made it work. I do love that these kits assembled super easily (no screws, nails or anything) and the materials are pretty darn heavy (sturdy).

We decided to fill the gardens with Mel’s Mix, which we made on our own. We purchased the vermiculite at a local nursery ($29 /4 cu. feet, which beat the heck out of $20/2 cu. feet at Home Depot) and the compost/peat moss at Lowes (compost was $3/2 cu. feet and peat moss was $10/3 cu. feet).  We mixed everything in a wheelbarrow a few cu. feet at a time, and it really didn’t take too long to mix it that way. It ended up costing us $110 to fill up 2 kits with the soil mix, which really wasn’t that shabby!

Here’s one bed filled. You might notice the cardboard below the kit. That’s not only to prevent weeds/grass from growing in the bed, but also to provide the drainage the garden needs (since paper is porous). Coincidentally, we were able to use the box from the shed kit. The front and back of the box were the perfect size to place the garden kits on top of.

Once that was done, I placed the veggies in the garden to get the spacing right. Then, I just dug holes with my hands (yeah, no hand shovel needed…this soil mix is SUPER light and easy to dig into) and placed the veggies in the garden! Here’s the first kit done…

And…here’s the second kit done! After everything was planted, I gave the garden a good soaking with the sprinkler.

 I’m way excited to see what our garden produces this year. I’m hoping we have better luck with the square foot garden vs. just planting veggies in the ground. :-)

Here’s what’s in our garden (so far…we still have some room to plant a few more things):

  • creole tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • sweet basil (and also a purple basil, which should make for a really cool pesto)
  • green, yellow and purple bell peppers
  • bush pickle cucumbers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • poblano peppers
  • cucumbers
  • chives
  • dill

Have you started on the ol’ Spring yard work yet? What are you up to in your gardens this year?

The BIG news!

This is our first house. We lived here about three years, and it was an amazing little starter home. So many memories here…to name a few:

  • we planned the majority of our wedding here (lots of DIY projects)
  • this was our home after our honeymoon
  • we hosted our first holiday here
  • this was Millie’s first home
  • this was where I learned how to sew
  • this was where we had a LOT of DIY house projects

After a lot of thought, we decided it was time to move to a different area of town. We wanted to live in an area that had great schools for when we start a family. We also wanted a newer home with a good backyard. So, we moved here:

New House

Since we got such an excellent deal on our house (and we weren’t sure how long those awesome interest rates would last), we decided to just scoop up this house and wait for our old house to sell.

And wait….for about four months. (yuck)

Well, today we CLOSED on our old house. We’re back to one mortgage, y’all!

So yeah…BIG HAPPY NEWS for us!

(Ok, so I have to know….how many of y’all thought the big news was a baby?)

Our Garage/Moving Sale

Moving is truly the best way to declutter. When it came down to packing everything we own, there were some, well, a lot of times where we’d stumble across some items we completely forgot about. Sometimes it was like Christmas morning, like when I found a $50 Walmart GC in an envelope somewhere. Other times, I would look at an item and wonder why the heck did I buy this?

I ended up starting a garage sale pile while packing, not thinking much of it. However, the pile grew until four of our kitchen cabinets were full, as well as a few large boxes. Crazy…

Since it is the Fall in a college town, we decided to schedule the sale on a bye week for the football team, which was last weekend. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and we were happy to see that quite a few people showed up to our little sale.

Check out the before/after of the sale! We were super stoked to make over $300 in  just 4 short hours. :-)
garagesale

If you’re new to garage sales, here’s a few tips I’d like to share based on experience. :-)

A few days before:

  • Advertise on Craigslist and your local paper. Consider starting your garage sale earlier than most, since the early birds are the ones with the major money. :-) We started ours at 7, but people showed up at 6:30 while we were setting up. Yes, coffee works miracles!
  • Purchase garage sale pricing labels and signs at the Dollar Tree. WAY cheaper than Lowes or Wal-Mart! Don’t wait until the night before, especially if you think it will be a major garage sale weekend, because Dollar Tree sells out fast!

The day before:

  • Price your items. You don’t want to worry about this when you’re setting up that morning, because people like to show up early and it’s best to be organized and have the price tags on there already.
  • Put out your garage sale signs and write the information BIG and BOLD. If you’re using posters as signs, get a bright colored sign! You want to grab attention as people are driving by!
  • Go to the bank and get money for change. Get a few 20s in change too, just in case the big spenders come. It’s also nice to buy a counterfeit pen for those 100s and 20s. You really just never know. 

The day of:

  • Set up everything neatly and in categories. It helps to have everything sorted so people who know exactly what they’re looking for can find it! I can’t tell you how many people said our garage sale was the cleanest they had seen that day! :-)
  • If someone haggles (within reason), go for it! Do you want this junk back in your house? No. I like to think of garage sales like someone is PAYING YOU to get rid of your junk. Trust me, you’ll probably end up giving to Goodwill anyway if it doesn’t sell and with that, you end up with nada.
  • A couple of hours before the garage sale is over, mark EVERYTHING down that you still have.
  • An hour before it’s over, mark down again.  (And just to note, towards the end, we started giving away stuff for free with purchases. I didn’t want to make the Goodwill trip, so I kept thinking, these people are doing us a favor by taking this crap.)

Any other tips you have for holding a garage sale? :-)