Thursday, April 21, 2011

Outdoor Makeover

I was out of town for work this week and didn't have time to complete my Iron Craft project. The challenge was to do something related to money or taxes. I was going to make a reusable grocery bag out of disposable plastic grocery bags - I thought it would be a clever nod to the bag tax in DC. Of course inspiration didn't strike until Monday night and I just wasn't able to pull it together in time. I do plan to finish it and will post at a later date.

Despite having a growing pile of unfinished craft projects, I have been checking home projects off the home to do list.  I am happy to say that a little over 1/4 of the way into 2011, the hubby and I have completed 3 of the 10 items on our list. Today I thought you might like to see our new back yard. The old yard was landscaped about 15 years ago and was pretty neglected by the time we moved in. There were vines and weeds everywhere, a defunct pond (that we drained almost immediately), and lots of big overgrown plants and bushes in need of major pruning. The deck and patio were nice, but we really couldn't enjoy them without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of yard work.

After trying to tackle bits and pieces of it ourselves, we decided it was time to call in the professionals. After interviewing and getting bids from three local landscapers we selected GreenSweep LLC. They were competitively priced, listened to our needs, made excellent suggestions, and completed the project in a few days. Now I am turning my attention to sprucing up our deck. My plans include painting the patio furniture black (its green now), purchasing an outdoor rug, making some outdoor pillows (I already bought new cushions for the chairs), and hanging some lights.

Before GreenSweep. The tarps everywhere were my attempt to kill the invasive vines.

During the overhaul. The large area with wood chips is the future site of a play house for the kids.

After! We can't wait for the grass to take root.

There were a few things that we did that I think helped make this process a smooth one.We spent a lot of time thinking about what we wanted to do to the yard. We divided the yard into zones (A, B and C) and made a list of everything we wanted to accomplish in each zone.  We had a few wish list items like a new fence to replace the chain link along one side of the yard, and a sprinkler system that didn't make it into the plan. We nixed the sprinkler system after learning that they are not common in this neighborhood and wouldn't result in much of a return on investment. Also, the yard is not very big so we can water it pretty easily. A new fence would be very costly and is something we can live without for now, but save for and complete at a later date.  Once we finalized our list we gave the same list to each of the landscapers that gave us estimates. This really helped to ensure that all of the bids included the same things.

We also tried to work with what we had. We kept most of the established shrubs and bushes, relocated plants from areas that would become the lawn to the new beds along the fence, and turned the pond into a rock garden/construction zone for our son.



Lastly, we have started an outdoor art project over the weekend that will grow and add color and personality to the yard over time. I helped kids to create little paintings (on wood) that we attached to side of the shed. We'll create new pieces each season and someday hope to cover the whole side of the shed.


2 comments:

Mitchell Knapp said...

The competitive price you paid to landscapers were worth it, considering how beautiful the end result of their work was. How is it now? Those grasses have probably grown their roots down, and you finally have new fence to complete the look of your overhauled yard.

Mitchell Knapp @ Scenic Landscaping

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