Mailbox Mayhem

I am a firm believer in utilizing your mailbox and the space around it to make a good first impression on visitors and to make your house feel welcoming. I think a lot of people don’t really think about their mailbox or its surroundings, but as people drive up to your house and get out of their cars, they’re probably going to notice it. So shouldn’t it make a good impression instead of a bad one?

But unfortunately our mailbox planting was a disaster, and we hadn’t really done anything to it since we moved in. We’ve spent so much time in our yard (I don’t even want to think about how many total hours), but the poor mailbox planting has been severely neglected. When we first moved in, here’s what it looked like.

Not a good first impression at all. The first time we saw the house I noticed it right away and decided that if we bought the house, the mailbox had to be changed. Oh, and ignore the lush green grass. It is no longer lush, nor is it green. It finally rained today (hallelujah!), but it has been such a dry summer!!

So not long after moving in last summer we gave the mailbox itself a makeover. We painted the post with a tan paint we found in the garage that matches the shutters, and we bought a new oil rubbed bronze mailbox to replace the old one.The all black theme, spray-painted numbers, and plastic box  just weren’t working for us. Gross on so many levels.

Just those small changes made a huge difference, but our mailbox planting still needed some major tidying.

 I’m not really sure what plants used to be there filling in the majority of the planting, but now it’s mostly bermuda grass that crept in. We also had purple irises, a peony, and one little tulip that popped up and surprised us (I suppose maybe it will pop up again next year?)

The purple irises are pretty for the few weeks that they’re blooming, but the rest of the time I think they look scrappy and unruly. Since this is a highly visible spot, I want something that looks manicured, tidy, and is low-maintenance.

We took out all the irises since we have more in the backyard anyway, and we gave them to our neighbors down the street. Her son and daughter-in-law actually used to own our house, so they were glad to take a few of them.

Then we decided we needed to get rid of the plastic edging. I hate plastic edging. It doesn’t stick up far enough to keep any of the dirt inside or keep anything else out (like bermuda grass which inevitably sends runners everywhere to take over!). And it’s just not pretty. My goal is to get rid of all the plastic edging in our yard eventually. Oh what a happy day that will be. But concrete edging, bricks, and stone are all expensive. So we figured we could use some of the brick pavers that are along our front sidewalk. Eventually we want plants here anyway…That, and the brick kind of clashes with the house.

I don’t have any in process pictures, so we’ll just go straight to the before and after. Since the grass is so green in the picture before we’d done anything to the mailbox, we’ll go with these more comparable ones. Before…

And after.

Even though the plants are small, I think it’s a huge difference! If nothing else, it at least looks cared for. 🙂

We cleared everything out except the peony and then Andrew tore up some brick pavers and lined the bed with them. Along the sidewalk he laid the bricks vertically since the bed slopes down and needed more height in the front.

We bought 9 non-dying plants at Lowe’s from the dying plant rack (not sure why they were there), so they were $1 a piece. We bought 4 salvia and 5 sedum ground cover. We put the ground cover in the front and the salvia behind.

Then we want to get 2 or 3 larger sedum bushes to put in the back and in the left corner near the peony.

I love these bushes cause they’re very tolerant of the heat, don’t need much watering, and look very structured without any pruning. Here’s one variety of it.

Once we get all the plants in there we want, we’ll use some river rock from our mountain of it in the backyard to “mulch.”

Our plants are looking a little bit sad right now since this is NOT the time to be planting, but for under $10 we thought it was worth a shot. And it rained today, so hopefully they’re a little happier! I know I’m happy cause that meant no watering for me! Win-win.

And we still have plenty of brick left to use for….some unknown project coming soon. Or maybe next year.

Considering we spent under $10 and did zero planning beforehand, I’m really happy with how our impromptu makeover turned out. Even if it’s just a short-term solution or if the plants die, it’s about a thousand times better than what was there before.

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