The Great Outdoors

The great outdoors, a far away place for some. I enjoy the great outdoors. I love to camp, swim, walk, boat, hunt, fish, .... I have grown up watching my mother work in the garden during the summer and I have decided that now is the time for me to follow her lead and continue to enjoy the great outdoors in a new way. My mother has decided to completely tear out her flower gardens this year. If you knew my mother, you would understand that next year she will spend countless hours and money recreating these flower gardens. If mom isn't going to have beautiful flowers for me to sit and look at I am going to have to put in the labor and create my own oasis. Come along for the ride and see how a true novice makes it this year in the flower garden. Who knows, maybe I will even try vegetables next year.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Transformation Time

So... my awesome friend at DSG Designs is coming in this weekend and I am hoping to steal him away for a bit to at least give me some pointers on what I can do with my yard.  Scott is an amazing Landscape Designer in Nashville.  He does some really great designs and I am really impressed with everything I have seen.  Keeping that in mind, I am not in the market for one of his amazing designs.  I just need some direction.  My house and neighborhood would not know what to do if he transformed my yard.  I live in a very rural small town.  If you meet anyone on any road other than the highway that runs through town you slow down and scoot over into a yard or driveway to get passed the other vehicle, literally.  Scott is pretty awesome though and will have some easy to maintain suggestions for me.  I am thinking of trying some pine straw in the beds and different areas instead of the regular mulch.
Definitely not going in my backyard, but here you can see the pine straw pretty good.  This by the way is one of DSG's designs.  I like the way that this looks in the finished product.  I think that newly planted flowers and greenery would also look good in a straw bed.  Hopefully I will have some interesting tidbits to share with you next week.  Too bad I can't have something like that picture in my backyard.  I think I should upgrade houses before I start in on a landscaping upgrade like that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Delivering on the Promise

I just want you all to know that this was all set to be published on Thursday 22nd.  Then When I previewed it the silly thing was all crazy and not aligned correctly.  I am going to give this a try now and publish it.  If it is still crazily lined up I apologize.  It is lengthy, too.  Sorry..........

I spent the afternoon in the yard with my husband's little cousins.  We managed to get some pictures of the yard to post on here so that all of you realize what work I have ahead of me.  We do live in a true starter house and need to do lots of painting and updates to the exterior.  We have concentrated most of our work on the interior so far.  If you have any suggestions let me know.  I will be describing as you look on...

This is a picture of the front of my house.  There are pictures below of closeups of either side of the stoop.  I would like to remove the railing by the steps, the other one disappeared before we moved in.  I'm thinking that I will still need a railing for safety reasons though.  We rarely use this entrance because water stands in the front yard a little when it rains heavily.
This is the left side of the stoop and a close up of some hostas that are making a spring debut.  I am wanting to plant some colorful plants that do well in the shade here.  My front yard gets a ton of shade!

 This is the right side of the stoop.  There are close ups of a plant that has tall shoots with small purple blooms later in the spring and through the summer I think.  There are some small plants that have spread to the left of the main plant and I am going to move them over to the other side of the stoop to mirror the image.  I also want to get some hostas on this side to mirror the left as well.  From there I know that I want things symmetrical.  This is kind of silly, but that is what is visually appealing to me.  The house is symmetrical so I think that it is only right to continue that in the landscape.  I am sure that this is totally against all landscaping rules but its my house and yard and I will do as I darn well please.

This is the tree in the front yard that gives off so much shade in the summer.  Last year or the year before I planted these vines that have taken over a fence row at my mothers to cover the base of this tree.  I only planted three groups.  One didn't make it but the others are on opposite sides of the tree and seem to be doing pretty well.  They are already spreading this year.  I am thinking that I won't have to put in fillers around the tree but I am not for sure about this yet.  This could possibly be used in other parts of my yard as filler where I really don't want to put forth the effort of keeping that area up.  You will see what I mean later on. 
This is between my house and my driveway.  This is an azalea bush.  I think that it blooms white, but honestly can't remember.  There were three through here but the others didn't do so well because they were in shade for too much of the day.  This one is struggling and I might end up transplanting it to somewhere else in the yard, but I really want something for this area.  It is a pain to mow and I just feel like it needs something.  Plus, I cut out the heating and AC unit that would normally show up at the top of this picture near the back of the house.  I want to take focus off of that because it is hideous.  See, hide is even in that word. You should hide the hideous. 

 These two pictures are taken from the road and look toward the side lot of our house.  I must keep this path clear because of boat access issues.  I would like to make some type of a boarder on the property line just so that maybe I will mow straight instead of it looking like an 8 year old did the mowing.

 Check out the awesome ruts that the wonderful installers of the carport left in the yard!  My lovely yard-work hating husband is going to help me try and get the yard leveled out.  These aren't the only crazy dips in the yard.  I am thinking of stealing buckets of dirt from the field behind the house.  You will see that a little later on as well.  You have also had a few glimpses of my sweet dog and now my darling "Whiny" we'll call her today and her brother "Man with a Stick".  She has gotten into this really frustrating whiny stage lately.  She was actually enjoying helping but the wind was blowing right in her face.  She did have a smile on when I shot her feet, hehehe.  When we were finishing up he chucked that thing (a fire pit prod) and hit my car with it.  Lucky for him there wasn't any damage.  Not any damage that I could see anyway, yellowish-green pollen is covering my car at the present time.  
The left picture is looking toward my backyard again at my new carport that doesn't protect my car, but the all important boat.  Seriously, the boat is one of my happy places.  I love the water, swimming, and fishing.
 The one on the top right is a picture of the stump that you can see in the other pictures and then a couple of more stumps a little further down is pictured below.  The trespassing sign was not put up by me, but thankfully our neighbor put it up, dang teenagers were too lazy to walk to the end of the street and cut through our yards.  The trees were in bad shape and were cut down a few years ago in fear of them falling on our home.  We were hoping the stumps would rot on out, but we really should do something about them. they look horrible.  We cut down the trees ourselves with the help of my dad and father-in-law.  The successful lumberjack father-in-law.  We call the other one (my husband's step-father) Paul Bunyan because he has a bad history with cutting down trees.  We are too cheap to hire someone to grind down the stumps so I need to be a little more creative on disguising them in the landscape.  Challenge accepted!

This is a look back at the side of the house looking back at the road.  I would like to build a bed out along this side of the house because it won't interfere with boat access and it will hide the hideousness of the house a little.  Bonus...This area gets full sun all day long!  I foresee pretty flowers!I am not concerned with symmetry here.  I would like it to look random and like it has evolved over the years.  I want the outside edge to even have some curves to it.  Really excited about this area because I think that it will change the whole yard.

  The picture to the left is a close up of the carport.  The one on the right is of the front outside corner of the carport looking at the stump and toward my neighbor's back yard.  Below both photos are showing the view of the back yard from the carport area.
You will notice brush at the edge of the carport.  I cleared out some crazy weeds that got out of hand last year and then just let them lay instead of hauling them off.  I really neglected the yard last summer.  Time to get my butt in gear this year.  I rhymed!

 This is a view of the back side of the carport from the very back of our yard.  These two trees are one of my happy places as well.  No, I have not completely lost my mind.  I hang a hammock here on pretty days and enjoy!  I want this to become a prettier place to be.

This is a closer picture of what I have to work with.  The branch is going to be cut into firewood for my fire pit in a few days or so.  I would like to be able to have even more seating out here but it needs to be something that can be moved.  I want it to look good whether the furniture is out or put up.  I am talking folding or camp chairs.

This is the very edge of my property in the back.  The concrete in the distance is actually on my neighbor.  This is a wood pile that is being overtaken by grass.  Welcome, Spring!  Yes, that is a tire.  We have no idea where it came from and were hoping it would disappear.  I guess I will just have to find out where I need to take it to e recycled.  Could I up-cycle this into landscaping? I don't know if I want to... I will look for ideas and inspiration.  Maybe this too will become a challenge.  I am just not committed enough to accept it yet.

This is a look to the right in my backyard.  The red stuff on that building is to protect it from the elements until we put outdoor paneling up on there.  Yes, it has been on there for a while and no, we don't have an end date in mind for completion.  The back storm door is going to be painted with white paint ASAP.  Like this weekend.  It needs it bad!

These pictures are views behind the shop.  The left one looks at the big hump in the backyard.  The right one looks out to the fields that have just been cleared of trees.

 The picture to the left is the area on the other side of the shop and behind the garden shed.  We store everything in the shop right now but hope to get a roof on the garden shed and start storing outdoor stuff in there so that the "Boat Owner" can use the shop for his stuff.  The area below this rather large tree has accumulated debris from the rest of the yard.  I really need to soak it in roundup and then clear everything out.  I have thought about putting down rock but not really for sure what I want to do here.  Maybe just make the roof extend out and use it to store the garbage cans and maybe eventually build a potting bench?
 The photo on the left is an area that I would love to see covered in mulch and have some shade loving plants or ground cover.  Once again, need to move out the junk.  The right shows the dogwood that is growing in this area.  It could easily be cut but has to stay.

This is the walkway to the backdoor.  A couple of years ago I insisted that my husband dig out a little so that the stepping stones would be level with the ground and I could mow right over them.  It worked out great till last year when they settled on down even farther and are now becoming buried.  I need to dig them out and raise them a little but am thinking of changing it up entirely.  I originally wanted bushes back here along both sides of the door.  I am not sold on this because of the drip edge from the roof line.  I would have to account for that and then would just be walking way out of the way to get from the drive to the door.  even flowers will have to be moved out and planted so they aren't beat to death (literally) by the runoff from the rain.  I am kind of stumped here.  I do dig the symmetry thing here though.  I also wouldn't mind a distraction from the AC unit.  This area of the yard gets a fair amount of sun and I don't have to worry about too much shade.
This is a front shot of the shop.  I am wanting to put flowers or something in front of it and have even got the okay approval of the Boat Owner.  I could even do hanging pots!  Again, I have to account for the drip edge.  Not a big deal here though.  A step needs to be added in front of the door as well.  This area will be easy to dress up.  the porch isn't used that often now, but might be in the future.  It would look good with a bistro type set where the ladders are propped up on the porch in front of a neat little window.  You can see the big tree behind the garden shed has a limb stretching out toward the shop.  That is a huge tree.  I will have to get some shots of it so you will understand.

 The left shows the fire pit and it's loveliness.  I like that I can move it anywhere I want.  It is pretty heavy and heavy duty, too.  The right shows it paired with my lounge swing.
The lounge swing is also pictured on the right here.  I will be recovering the cushions and adding the topper back in the weeks to come.  We make sure to take the topper off during the fall and winter months because the wind always catches it and turns the entire swing over.  the limited sun damage is also a plus.  Next year I am planning on just leaving the metal shell outside and taking everything into the garden shed for storage, if it has a roof.  This is soooo comfy and the back flips down flat and locks into place so that you can lay down on it and have plenty of room.  Great spot for reading and napping.

I do apologize for the length of this post.  Won't it be nice to be able to see the progress though.  The before pictures will make you appreciate the hard work that brings you the after pictures.  I will not be in the yard for the next few days but hope to be searching for ideas and solutions.  A rainy day is in the forecast for tomorrow.  I will most likely get to start off the weekend with a soppy yard.  What fun!  It will be a good excuse to hide in Lowes and drool over all the pretty lawn set ups.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Procrastination Strikes Again!

I don't know if I have revealed this to any of you yet or not, but my biggest fault is procrastination.  I just always put stuff off till the very last minute.  I told you that I would make a plan for my flower garden and post pictures and I still haven't done that.  Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and cloudy= awesome day for photos. Seriously, cloudy days are really good for photos.  Since I was a good wife and mowed the yard today it will look nice in the shots, too.  I really do love mowing the yard.  It had been 9 days since the last mow and with the rain that we got last week it really needed a buzz.  I would have done this Friday afternoon but we decided about 5PM Friday to go away for the weekend and see my in-laws.  I enjoy going to see them because they live about 20 minutes from downtown St.Louis.  I enjoy the city so very much.  We didn't get back until late, late Sunday night and I decided to do absolutely nothing on Monday, so the lawn got mowed today.

My mother and I have not devised a plan for this vegetable garden that she was so excited about planting a month ago.  She says we will wait till next week and work on it then.  I am foreseeing price tags in our future.  I am guessing that she will wait until it is too late to plant seeds and just purchase plants from the local high school agriculture department plant sale.  She will claim that it is nice to have the money go to the school.  It is nice, but I would rather buy other plants there, like my annuals for my flower beds.  Aaahhhh.....we shall see how this all works out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Yes, I mowed my yard for the very first time this year on Sunday afternoon.  I usually try not to mow on Sunday, but it was going to rain that afternoon and throughout this week.  I just couldn't wait any longer.  We have a ton of clover in our yard and it was purple with blooms, very pretty.  I felt bad for my little dog though.  She really doesn't like getting wet when she goes out and with the grass high she was getting soaked.  I have a small yard and push mowed the yard as usual.  It was so nice to be able to get out and enjoy the day like that.  I do have to say that the front yard was still a bit wet.  I almost fell like four times.  I shouldn't complain, I was in my normal mowing uniform of flip-flops and shorts.  I know, not very safe.  I do wear pants and shoes if I am weed-eating.  

I am still working on planning out my flower garden for this year.  I hope to be able to get that knocked out later this week.  My mother and I are going to work on planning out the vegetable garden and actually get plants started in pods next week.  She works in education and is on break for this week and next week.  We are hoping that the weather will be nice and we will be able to enjoy the outdoors together the next couple of weeks.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Glorious Rain

Honestly, I could do without the rain right now.  I am completely enjoying it though.  I am sitting in my living room in the recliner listening to the rain and thunder.  I LOVE days like this.  I have been up all night long and am hoping that this lovely melody does not lull me to sleep.  I know that rain is needed for the plants and the hardened Earth.  Maybe it won't stick around all day though.  Mowing the yard might make my 'To Do List' for next week.  Knowing that this weekly chore is just around the corner doesn't make me jump with joy.  Being outside is something that I do enjoy.  I look forward to tending to flowers and the garden, but sometimes I just really don't want to mow the yard.  Trimming the grass in the spring and fall usually aren't that bad though.  I make a point to mow just before dark in the hot summer weeks.  I am sure my neighbors really like the fact that I wait until an hour and a half before sunset to start mowing.  ***At least I don't mow before noon!*** Those people that do really tick me off!  No one wants to wake up to hear a lawn mower any day of the week!

Ah, the rain is already slowing.  The birds are beginning to chirp once again.  It must be time for me to make a cup of coffee and start my day by actually accomplishing some real work on this computer.  I wish you all a wonderful day and hope that you are able to find some way to see the joy and smile at the weather where you are today.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Making a Plan

It is time for me to really start planning out the flower beds for this spring and summer.  I know that I am going to actually draw out some plans and do some research on the plants before I just dive into it blind like I usually do.  It saves time in the long run for me to plan out for these things and stick to the plan, for the most part at least.  Symmetry is something that I really like to make sure to incorporate into most everything that I do.  I like to have things look appealing in that way to the eye.  There are many people and experts that know much more than I do that would like to approach things in a different way and lend a more creative approach.

Pictures will be set to come in the future.  I know that I have promised these before, but I am thinking of actually following through in the near future.  I challenge you to plan out your space and make a plan before starting your planting this year.  Don't forget that you can make a plan that spans over the season or one that will span over a few years.  Depending on your budget you might want to smart small and simple and then expand upon your plans over time.