I don't really know where I can start with this post, except to say that after this weekend Wes and I have a new appreciation for what "sweat equity" means. Boy, did we do some sweating. But it was worth it, because we're much, much closer to having a great-looking yard, and it feels really good to have the hardest work behind us (or at least we hope so!).
When I came home to this in the yard on Friday afternoon, I knew we were in for a doozie of a weekend. Wes got acquainted with his new friend while I sipped cocktails at a poolside lingerie shower on Friday night, and we got started bright and early Saturday morning. Wes and his dad plugged the natural gas lines below the house and used the mini-excavator to pull up the lantern in the middle of the yard, as well as the old, rotting roots of a tree that were under it.
In it's place, we planted my little twig of a Yoshino Cherry tree.
Next, they turned their attention to the planting beds in front of the house. If you recall, Wes had attempted removal of some over-grown boxwood bushes on his own, but to no avail. They were able to get all of the root systems out and sort of "till" up the beds so that the gosh-awful landscape rocks could be shoveled out (more on that later).
They also removed some unwanted bushes and trees that were crowded around the back of the house so we can repair the fallen retaining wall (which is another post entirely ...). Somewhere in this process they hit our natural gas line, but hey, the end justifies the means, right?
Wes -- what else did y'all do on Saturday?
On Sunday, we focused on finishing up the planting beds in the front. We shoveled wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of rocks out of the beds to try to get the soil ready to be planted in the fall.
We moved five azalea bushes from an out-of-the-way spot to the front, and now it looks like this:
Several of them clearly need to be pruned a little, but right now we're just trying to keep them watered and alive. We're hoping they'll fill out nicely now that they have some more room. And you can see that there are still some rocks to shovel away, but the oppressive July heat eventually won, and we had to save those for another day (er, rather, evening, when it's cooler).
For the most part, we were able to finish up the bed on the left side, and we moved it in a little so it is the same depth (four feet)as the one on the other side of the sidewalk.
Let's hope last night's torrential downpour didn't wash all of our freshly-spread mulch away ...
We also spread some grass seed on a few of the bare spots in the yard, including the one made by the lantern removal.
My favorite project was pulling up the English ivy that was beginning to slowly take over the car port. I've had that spot scoped out as the ideal home for my hydrangea beds, but knew the ivy had to be dealt with first. Man, that is some wicked stuff! First, we used the excavator:
But eventually had to use our gloved hands and a rake. At one point in my life, I'm sure I thought that ivy climbing up the side of a cottage was very charming, but not anymore! If I never see a vine -- of any kind! -- again, I will die happy. Unfortunately, the source of it is in our neighbor's wilderness of a backyard, so I'm sure my Battle Against the Ivy is far from finished.
The oddest part of the weekend was finding things in the ivy! We found a football, several ink pens, a styrofoam take-out container that was completely intact, a cell phone, and two waterguns. These little pieces of the lives that lived there before us really made me wonder exactly what we will leave behind when we move on.
I'm not so sure this post does justice to how much work we did, so maybe a shot of Wes' dirty, dirty legs will.