Since Jim and I maibe crazy, in addition to working on the master bathroom, we have also been working on the front yard. I last wrote about our front yard facelift was back in March. We had begun to build the retaining wall and were close to finishing. Since the slope in our front yard is so noticeable, we weren’t really sure what to do with the retaining wall at its ending point. We didn’t want to continue it along the side of the house since that part of the house is level and leads up to a fence. We played with the idea of having it gradually decrease in height. This is how we left it at the writing of the last post:
Well, we decided not to keep the wall like this. We decided to have it round its way back to the house. That meant more trench digging and leveling of the bottom stone. We took a long break from working on the front yard. The weather was going back and forth from cold to warm and we were just pretty focused on the bathroom. Finally, in May, we decided we better get moving on the front yard again. At one point, the wall collapsed since we had not filled in dirt behind it to keep it in place. It was only at the curve, but it meant Jim had to re-level that entire area.
While Jim worked on the trench and the retaining wall, I worked on getting up all of the grass that was in front of the old fence. We planned to extend the plant bed out about 5 feet from the walkway, so all of that grass needed to be gone. Also while Jim focused on the wall, I extended the plumbing pipe that pokes out of our front yard. I am not really sure what it is for, but I notice it in front of a lot of people’s houses, so it is pretty standard. It is probably a way for plumbers to access the pipes, but who knows. We didn’t think it would be good to bury it under all the dirt we planned to had to the plant bed though, so we extended it. It was ABS piping, so we had already ordered the extra pipe we needed. I was proud of myself because not only did I attach the plumbing pipes, I used the miter saw to cut the pipe to the right size! I’m pretty scared of saws, so Jim normally handles that end of the DIY stuff…but I did it all by myself!
Another alteration we had to make was with the one downspout that ended in our future plant bed. Since we were trying to level out the area, tha downspout would be under all the dirt if it wasn’t raised. Luckily, Thompson Creek (our gutter guys) came out for no charge and raised up the down spout. Jim still wanted the water to be let out farther away from the house and the plant bed, so we invested in some downspout extenders. The plan was to have the extender go to the retaining wall and then release the water at the end of the wall. Jim decided to cut one of the stones in half so there would be a place for the extender to go. It worked out great. We plan on getting a grate to cover that part of the wall, but we haven’t yet.
The next weekend, Jim had a lot of shifts at the Rescue Squad, so I decided to be productive while he was gone. We wanted to put landscape fabric on the inside of the retaining wall to help prevent soil from seeping through the cracks. I did that and then I started to fill the plant bed with soil to help level out the area. I didn’t end up finishing because we ended up needing 62 bags of soil in all. I also went to a nursery that weekend to buy the shrubs we planned to install in the plant bed (we decided it with the help of our awesome friend Kate). Once the soil was down, the plant bed was ready for the plants!
The night before the plants arrived, Jim decided to make one more alteration. The other downspout in the front of the house also led right into our plant bed. It had a bulky, cement block to help funnel the water that was just in the way of our plant bed. Jim decided to use extenders to have the downspout empty at the end of our plant bed. He dug a trench and then buried the downspout extender underneath it. It really clean up that section of the plant bed.
Memorial Day weekend, the plants were delivered. We paid to have planted and for them to put landscape fabric down beforehand (to help prevent weeds from growing). They mulched around the plants but we decided to do most of the mulching ourselves.
This past weekend, we finished up the front yard. Jim worked on the capstones while I mulched the plant beds. The capstones needed to be cut at the curve so they fit nicely and also they needed to be glued down. Jim did an awesome job. In addition to mulching the plant bed, I also added landscape fabric and mulch to the two trees in our front yard, the bush covering an electrical box and the mailbox flower bed. I needed to weed a little bit before putting in the landscape fabric too. You may remember planting the mailbox flower bed last year. We planted lavender plants and dahlias and it was adorable. Little did we know that lavender plants get really huge. They also apparently need to be pruned? Dahlias are annual plants, so we took them up with they died over the winter. In order to save a little money, I planted dahlia bulbs in April so they would grow and bloom in place. This flower bed turned into a disaster. The lavender plants started to overtake everything. After a little research, I decided to give the lavender plant its “early summer” pruning. I’m not sure if I did it correctly, quite honestly, I may have killed the plants. The dahlia plants have started to sprout and they have grown very tall but have not blossomed yet. I think I maybe didn’t plant them deep in the ground which is why they are so tall. The area looks a little silly. It is definitely a work in progress.
The last thing we needed to do to complete the front yard facelift but to plant some annual plants around the skypencil shrub. I decided to go with 5 marigold flowers. I planted them around the skypencil and it looks pretty cute.
Yard work is a lot of hard work. In the end, it was completely worth it. We love the new look of our front yard and we definitely upped the curb appeal to our house. Now we just have to remember to water all those plants…
Here is a BEFORE picture from last summer: