Thursday, August 16, 2007

Front Yard Makeover: Phase 1

In late June our great water district called a ban on all lawn watering. This combined with lots of heat and an already struggling lawn put us over the edge. We were tired of the fight to keep that lawn alive. Actually, it was my husband fighting the fight. We made our decision to tear out the front lawn and replace it with a low-water-need landscape, then headed out to Farm Med for July 4th. We returned to a lawn that was indeed dead and ready to be torn out. At this point the water district had obtained more water and was now allowing us to water twice a week, but our situation was really beyond restoration. So in the middle of July we set to work on our largest DIY project to date. Here are the before pictures, just to assure you that the lawn was beyond recovery. We tore out the sod by hand which proved to be hard physical labor, considering that our yard felt like cement as we dug. As we tore up the sod we realized why a lush lawn had not been possible. Apparently the builder of our home did little to no soil preparation as it seems the sod was laid directly on our sandy dirt. We removed the sod from all areas where river rock would be placed and rototilled the area where we would plant perennials and put down mulch. We covered the areas to be rocked with landscaping fabric and put down metal edging to divide mulched and rocked areas. The areas to be mulched were covered with newspaper for some level of weed control while allowing easy access for more plantings in the future. Here is some of the sod we pulled out. Disposal of the sod was difficult as we don't have a truck to haul this away. We posted it on Craig's List and had several no-shows. After a few weeks a neighbor down the street asked if he could have it to fill in his yard and we were relieved when we could again easily drive into the garage.
After hauling more than 8 tons of rock, installing more than 100 feet of metal edging, spreading 6 cubic yards of mulch, planting 7 bushes, 1 little tree and more than 15 perennials, here is the yard today. This completes our first phase. In the next year or two we would like to work on the section between the sidewalk and the street which is currently just plain rock and add more perennials throughout the yard. This project was and continues to be a lesson in patience as we wait for things to bloom, grow and fill in the space. I'm curious to see which plants will survive as many of them were the half-dead, half-price variety from area garden centers at big box stores.

I wish I could say this is the end of our major projects for the year, but that is not the case. Next up: the backyard patio.

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