Grateful for grass

Fall is here, and with that comes clearance prices on plants! Our front yard has been in desperate need of some landscaping ever since we moved in, so I’ve been hoping to buy some cheap plants to spruce it up a bit. First, though, we had to strip it down to nothing. It’s hard to remember what our yard used to be, but looking back on pictures from a year ago reminds me just how much progress we really have made.

The house sat empty for almost a year, so that certainly didn’t help the landscaping. There was a huge vine that covered one entire end of the house and continued along the roofline over the garage all the way to the front door. Everything was overgrown, and lots of plants were dead. There was a box garden directly on the right side of the driveway and a vegetable garden on the far left side of our front yard. We don’t have any pictures of the box garden cause we got rid of it pretty soon after moving in, but in this picture you can still see the raised area where it was. See the mound of grass just in front of the black trailer? By the time we moved in we couldn’t tell what they had been trying to grow there because it was completely overrun with weeds.

Not that we don’t like gardens, but we really want our yard to be low maintenance and to look very manicured. Especially the front yard! Here’s what we were dealing with on the other side.

This garden was also completely crazy! There were some vegetables left in it, but there were also lots of weeds. Ultimately, we figured we’d want some kind of shrub or something along the fence, but our initial goal was just to get rid of the weeds and get grass to grow.

 We had to get rid of the three trees, too, cause they were all dead or dying.

The trees behind the chain link fence and the wooden fence were going crazy, too!

Even after we got it mostly cleaned up (which not an easy or short process), it looked pretty rough. This spring we had to go out and clean up more weeds that were once again covering the whole area, leaving it looking like this.

And we found this plastic edging that had been buried in the dirt for who knows how long. We found another 7 or 8 pieces of plastic edging buried in both our front and back yard last week, too. This yard is just full of all kinds of surprises!

Now, about 5 months after cleaning up that area for the second time, the grass has finally filled in!! Oh happy day! (We have bermuda grass which grows by sending out runners. This means it fills in bare spots on it’s own over time, whereas with grass like fescue you have to put down seed. But it’s still a slow process if you don’t sod the area, and frustrating cause it also sends runners into the driveway, the sidewalk, over edging into gardens, etc.)

Now that we finally have grass, we went to Lowe’s to look at clearance plants hoping to find some kind of fountain grass. Lo and behold, they had fountain grass on clearance for $5. We bought 3 and planted them in a row along the fence. Here’s the before when we first moved in.

And here’s what it looks like after a whole year of working and waiting!

Here’s another angle of the before.

And after.

We know it doesn’t look like much, but that’s what we love about it. Look at all that grass! And no crazy overgrown trees behind the wooden fence, no dying trees in our yard, no bare spots…it’s wonderfulness. Like I said, we really had to strip it down to nothing, wait and wait for the grass to fill in, and now slowly add plants back in. Eventually we hope our fountain grass will start to look more like our neighbor’s and help to cover some of the ugly chain link fence.

But for now we’re quite happy with our scraggly $5 fountain grass…if it survives.

We have a few other things planned for this awkward corner of our yard, too. Eventually we’ll move that little dark bush that’s on the far left in this picture to the back yard somewhere. We have a light pink crepe myrtle that randomly sprouted up in our back yard last year that we’re going to move there to tie in with the fuchsia crepe myrtles on each end of the house. Then in the corner behind the crepe myrtle we’ll probably plant some kind of climbing vine that can help camouflage our neighbors ugly fence situation. Maybe the purple morning glory in my back yard that keeps attacking the basil with it’s coily creeping vines?

As for the rest of our front yard, we have lots of plans for that, too. Remember how I said there used to be a box garden on this side of the driveway? It was leveled out while the rest of the yard actually slopes toward the street, so after removing it we added some dirt and tried to match the grade of the rest of the yard. We did everything we could, and hoped for the best. We had a square of dirt in our yard that was probably a good 7 feet by 7 feet. Now, a year later I don’t think anyone would be able to tell unless you knew it was there before!

In front of the left side of the house, we currently have nothing. When we moved in there were 2 bushes, but they were completely fried, and obviously much too small for the space.

They were so dead that when we went to remove them, they practically fell over on their own.

We have big plans for that space, mostly involving azalea bushes.

But also these sky pencil holly trees that we got at Lowe’s for $8 a piece (down from $22). Aren’t they so cute?!

But until that can happen, I’m pretty happy just looking at the progress we’ve already made. Even though it’s bare, I think it looks a hundred times better than the whole “overrun and abandoned” look it had going on before.

Our grey door, the colorful portulaca planting, some new sconces, house numbers, and a mailbox, and our new roof (thanks to hail damage and insurance) make our house look so much better! And our yard finally just looks like grass! I have never felt so grateful for grass.

 The yard doesn’t yield as immediate of results as some of our indoor projects, but it certainly is satisfying to look back on what it used to be and realize that we really have come a long way! Now we’re just hoping we can find some cheap azaleas and get at least the base of our front yard landscaping done this fall so we can start seeing some growth next year. And as for the back yard, please don’t ask.

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