Best before and after ever?

Admittedly, waiting a week between blog posts is unacceptable, and for this I apologize.

You see, I’ve been a bit busy over the past week. For one… I changed jobs, which has been wonderfully exhilarating but very time consuming. And for another, we have been wrapped up in a major yard rejuvenation. My garden guru (mom) has been staying with us for the past week to help us install a custom landscaping plan she designed for our front and back yard. She and Heath have been waking up at  7 am every morning to put the plan into action. I wouldn’t believe the transformation if I wasn’t part of the process.

I squeal with glee at the end result. What all did the plan entail, you ask?

1.) Weeding the existing flower bed

2.) Cleaning the succulent planter and adding gravel to cover the dirt

3.) Pruning the trees

4.) Marking a curvature for the bed

5.) Leveling and installing paver borders

6.) Scrapping grass from the walkway and landing

7.) Installing and leveling the paver walkway

8.) Shopping endlessly at various nurseries for the perfect plants and pavers

9.) Installing the plants

10.) Mulching

11.) Mowing

12.) Edging

Already we are at step 12 and I can’t begin to describe the lengths they’ve gone to to make sure the new plan is not only installed but also poised for success. Every paver was perfectly placed and leveled and every plant was meticulously chosen, taking into consideration its water needs, soil needs, future growth, and cohesion with other plants. Nothing was selected on a whim. As good as it looks now, I know it will look even more marvelous once the plants mature.

Of course, the front is only half the story. The back is still in the works, but already we’re making progress to turn that from a wonky and weed-laden war zone to  polished and pristine courtyard.

There’s more to tackle in the rear, as most of the projects taking place back there this week have been less the stuff of glamorous makeovers and more maintenance (taking care of some of the things we let slide during the school year). We removed a large brush pile we had long been ignoring, chopped down a dying tree, pruned up a tenacious Pecan and cleaned and reorganized the shed. And of course, there was a bit of harvesting.

Tomorrow is dear mom’s last day gardening at the old doodle house, but at this rate  I wouldn’t put it past her to install a swimming pool back there just to prove she could. The woman’s a landscaping machine. I can’t wait for our next back yard bbq to show off the fancy new digs.

Heath and Mom relax after a solid day of work in the garden. Pool to come soon? Or how about a tree house? I wouldn’t put either option past these two.


DIY Weekend Project: Galvanized Planter

This weekend was one for lots of little projects, but my favorite may have been creating a planter for an empty galvanized tank we have long been ignoring.

Sad, empty tank

For a while we debated whether to turn our tank into a fish pond water feature or to use it as a colorful entry planter. Some of these inspiration photos really pushed me over the edge when it came to deciding its fate.

Both options were appealing and had their pros and cons, but at the end of the day, a planter seemed more low maintenance. So we we went to work to make it happen.

Step 1: Fill the bottom with styrofoam packing peanuts. This helps with drainage. 

Step 2: Layer with peat moss and potting soil.  A lot of potting soil. We underestimated just how much at first, but those tanks don’t mess around and can hold a healthy amount. We ended up needing to make a few return trips to Home Depot for more. I think we ended up using something like 5 bags. 

Step 3: Once the soil is in, choose your plants and stage your area to figure out where everything will live before you get to digging.

Picking out the plant placement.

We knew we wanted a variety of texture, height and color in the planter to keep things interesting, and we knew we needed things that could do well in the heat and sun. Our final selections included:
– Heat tolerant pink geraniums (for color)
– Fortnight lily (for height)
– Ice plant (For drooping over the side and giving it a waterfall-ish look. We have had incredible luck with our ice plants, it’s one of the few that seems impossible to kill, even in Texas heat.)
– Sedum (for ground cover)

Step 4: Put them in the planter and you’re done! I love the end result.

Cost breakdown–

The whole project took less than an hour to put together, including travel time to and from the Home Depot to get materials, and it cost less than $100 to implement.  I’m embarrassed we let it sit empty for so long. Now we have a beautiful planter that makes a huge statement to our backyard visitors. I can’t wait to see how it changes and grows over time.