I know it has been about 3 months since I promised a return to the wonderful world of DIYing and blogging. The idea of using the summer months to make changes to the front yard quickly became crushed. Multiple days of 100+ degrees weather (with heat indexes relaxing 111 degrees) put a damper on outside activities. In addition, weddings, bachelor parties, trips to Maine, Chicago, and the Jersey Shore, left us with a lot less free time than we were expecting. We managed to get a few projects in over the summer though, so here are the belated blog posts.
Here is a picture of a bush by the sidewalk in our front lawn:
This particular bush hides some sort of utility box that looks like it belongs to the county. We aren’t sure what it is, but we agree that it should be hidden. Unfortunately, there appears to be a thorny weed growing in all crazy directions around the bush. This weed popped up last summer when we first moved in, so Jim trimmed it back. This time, we were determined to get rid of it for good.
On one of my first days of summer vacation (as a teacher, I still have the luxury of summer vacation), I decided to attack this thorny weed at the roots. I cut back the long branches as much as I could so I could get very close to the roots. Unfortunately, as I was able to get closer, it was clear that some of the weeds’ roots were entangled with the bushes roots. I pulled as many roots as I could and the ones I could not get to, I sprayed with a weed killer (hoping not to hit the bush’s roots).
In addition to pulling the weeds, this bush needed a prettier base. Jim complained that it was difficult to cut the grass that was right next to the bush. The best thing, would be to get rid of that grass and add a mulch bed. After ridding the bush of the crazy weeds, I got to shoveling up the grass immediately surrounding the bush. Once there was a clear border, I added the mulch. After being thoroughly covered in sweat and dirt, I finished.
Jim started another project the end of June/beginning of July that was just fully completed last week. We had a lot of different ideas for how we wanted to spruce up our front yard. One of them involved adding planter boxes to the two front windows of the house. Of course, as DIYers, we couldn’t just buy the planter boxes. Jim got to planning and before we knew it, had a great design of the planter boxes. He didn’t want just a plain box, so he added rims and edges to the box. He had to cut the wood at the perfect angles and all the right lengths. Jim needed the planter box liners to fit perfectly inside as well. Here are the boxes in the making:
Once the boxes were assembled, drilled holes at the bottom where there are holes in the lines. This is so water can drain out. The boxes also needed to be stained – two coats each. While Jim was building the boxes, I was set out to buy the soil and plants to fill the planter boxes. After much debate, I decided on pink and white Vinca flowers. I planted them in the planter liners and set them out in the sun in the backyard, all ready for the planter boxes.
Now this is when life got in the way. The planter boxes were 95% done. Jim just needed to add roofing compound to the inside of the boxes to protect it from water and outdoor weather. Then we would need to cut back one of the bushes in the front yard and hang the boxes up. But July came and we were busy every weekend. Then August was more of the same and before we knew it, it was September. The Vincas lived nicely in the backyard. I watered them and they were lovely.
Before the planter boxes were finished and hung up, I had a day in which I attacked the bushes in front of our house. There were two overgrown, ugly bushes lining our house. They may have looked nice at one point, but never since we have lived there. After a year of neglect, they really weren’t looking too hot.
I bought some hedge shears and went to town one day. I was a little nervous when I saw the end result.
Now we had a lonely little bush in front of the bush. I still thought it looked better than what we had before. Jim luckily didn’t mind that I created a Charlie Brown Christmas bush in a front yard, since we planned on getting rid of it in the long run.
Last weekend, we finally got to work. What may once had been a mulch bed around the front bushes, was now a weed paradise. We started pulling the weeds, which then led to getting rid of the bush and everything else in sight. We plan on eventually adding new bushes or hedges, but for now, we wanted a cleaner look. We bought new mulch and soil and more weed killer. We dug out a trench around our mulch bed and straightened everything up.
The front was now ready for the planter boxes. Jim bought the roofing compound and covered the inside of the boxes. Roofing compound is not easy to work with and Jim ended up covered in it. After about 45 minutes of scrubbing, he got most of the mess off of him though.
The next day, Jim went to screw the planter boxes into place and he realized the white panels below the windows had a drywall consistency. This meant, they would not hold a screw or support any weight. Since the panels were uneven, Jim couldn’t use the stud finder to figure out where he could screw the planter boxes into. Instead, he needed to go inside the house and use the stud finder under the windows there. With blue tape, we marked where the studs should be outside. Luckily, this plan worked and Jim was able to hang out the planter boxes. Although our Vinca flowers aren’t as vibrant as they were in July, I think the flowers add a nice touch to our curb appeal.