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November 30, 2016

Hesby House Yard Landscaping DIY 2016


 Because it's been a while since I've blogged on a regular basis, I have a few "catch-up" posts to add, one of which is the DIY landscaping job I did of my backyard this summer.  I finally gave up on grass.  I've had spectacular short bursts of green space from grass seed, but the weeds that crept in soon grew three times the size of my dog, and I've always had trouble keeping up the space to the extent that we could really enjoy it.  Finally I've given up on the idea of grass, and conceded that the best route was wood chips.

 

The renovation started with having the space fully weeded and tilled.  A friend kindly donated five large pots of orange-blooming Clivia.  I spread them out and planted them along the fenceline on the west side of the property, after trimming back the bougainvilla that grows over from my neighbor's side of the fence. 

My dogs have a tendency to have fence wars with the neighbor's dogs when she lets them barrel back from the front house, so I decided it was time to install a hedge of separation.  I wanted something that would provide color, be dense enough to keep the dogs from getting through, and yet be trimmed low to the ground since my dogs are so short.
I placed the black fabric on the ground with stakes to inhibit growth, then covered with natural wood chips.  It took about sixteen-eighteen bags of wood chips to fully cover my yard.   My house is the guesthouse in back, so there's a long pathway from the driveway to get the bags where they needed to be, and I bought and hauled them all. 


I had to hire a day laborer to dig out the roots of the ferns that had been growing back behind the shed.  I first dug these up eight years ago when I had moved in, but they are tenacious!  Even though I thought I had removed them all including roots and tubers, they had grown back again on their own.   That was a $50 cost I had to add into my budget for the project. 


I had wanted to put Kangaroo Paws (google images if you don't know what they look like) behind the shed, but couldn't find any available when I was landscaping.  In the end, I chose a shrub which had a bit of variegated color and should fill the space to keep the dogs from wandering back there and getting stuck or going under the shed.

 

I hadn't run my fountain in the backyard for a few seasons because of the California drought, but I finally gave in and got it working again.  It took a bit of a clean-out and a new filter to get the system running properly.  The bubbling brook is a soothing noise as I sit next to it. 
 

The white plastic chairs came from freecycle and scrubbed clean nicely.  I love the contrast against the dark wood chips.  I found four brightly colored birdbaths for $15 each and enhanced their character with some little ceramic owls from the dollar store. 

Edited to add a note about budget:  I think this project cost me around $700. 
Labor for weeding and fern removal: $150
Ground fabric & stakes:  $200
Wood chips:  $150+
Plants (16 hibiscus, 4 hedge plants):  $150
Paving stones & birdbaths:  $80


There were lots of blooms that came up in the garden surrounding the house from past seasons.  The irises did really well this year, even though most of them were WalMart end-of-season purchases.




Above is some sort of flowering African violet bulb that I got at a garden show many years ago. 


The dogs and I enjoyed a peaceful summer in the yard.  We spent so much time outdoors, just aimlessly doing nothing, soaking up the sun and each other.  I'm so thankful for the time I had with them in July and August.  On my birthday, August 23rd, my boy Chance got very sick.  He was on and off eating throughout September, and I let him go in the backyard on October 11th.  But for most of the summer he was healthy and well, and enjoyed sniffing around, exploring and guarding his property. 

Claire enjoying the outdoors

Chance soaking up the sun

baby Caitie sitting on my feet




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