06 July 2012

The Yard Work

My faithful old gardening tools.
One of the items on my list that has been a long time coming is the yard work.  Since we moved in, the east of the house has been surrounded by an unattractive thicket of daylilies and the rest was swamped in tall weeds.  The unruly plants had to go.  Easier said than done, of course.

We dug, pulled, mowed and sprayed the plants but the daylilies just kept shooting back in momentous numbers.  So we came up with a new plan: bury them.

First came the retaining wall.  Since we commenced the project in the fall, the bricks for the work were less than seventy-five cents a piece on clearance for the season.  I hauled home a few dozen and arranged them into a darling little wall.
When the arena was built, we were left with a beautiful patch of downy sand that the cats purred over, sure we'd just gifted them the world's largest cat box.  What we needed was the mound of excess dirt left over for the east landscaping project.  So, I got out the wheelbarrow and the shovel, put Evelyn down for a nap, strapped Claire in my hiking child carrier and got to work.
About five wheelbarrowfuls later and what felt like twenty tons of soil, I'd barely filled a corner.  The line from the Black Beauty movie ran repeatedly through my mind: "I pulled and I pulled until I could not pull anymore," which the handsome black horse narrates right before he laid down in complete exhaustion.  I estimated how many more trips it was going to take to cover the side of the house and it was rather depressing.  So, I contrived a new plan.
Thankfully we have some pretty awesome friend and neighbors, one of which just happens to own a Bobcat (someday, I also hope to also happen to own one).  Within thirty minutes of firing up that baby, the soil was all moved and not only were the daylilies smothered, I had a fresh palate for any kind of landscaping I wanted.
Three sides of the house were lined with landscaping tarp and covered with wood chips, bordered with pea gravel.  In went a few discount shrubs and flowers as well as a few plants I commandeered from friends and family and the entire house (along with a new siding facelift and a red front door) seemed to glow.
The final step has been creating an attractive boarder around the carefully constructed landscaping.  While home improvement stores have an abundance of beautiful landscaping stones to choose from, free is always better.  Iowa has a plenteous supply of rocks, thanks to a glacier that slid across the state a few thousand years ago.  Dig down a few feet and chances are they'll turn up.
We moved what we found on our property over to the house and have loaded up a few dozen tons in the back of the truck that frustrated farmers have tossed into nearby ditches when their machinery hits one.  It requires some real muscle to move them but the result is gorgeous.
If you're lucky, you can get some help moving those heavy rocks!
Rather than weeds and thick, sickly daylilies, we've managed to subdue the flora into a comely garden. Really, landscaping isn't the most important thing we could have spent our time doing, but I for one, am happy to have put in the effort.
A little more weed pulling and grass trimming and we'll be set!

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