Tuesday, March 22, 2011

That's what I'm here for, I guess!

So, as you know, over the past few weeks we've been working on improving the looks of our home's exterior.  Long story short, but the previous owners had apparently kept the yard looking spectacular.  Then after a nasty divorce, the woman moved out and the man lived in the house by himself for a year while the house was on the market.  Clearly, yard maintenance wasn't his thing and the yard slowly declined with overgrown bushes, a dead dogwood, and a shit-ton of crabgrass.  Several weeks ago, it looked like this: 

A little blah, but not horrible.  Just needs a little work, right?

Then I spent what felt like a freaking ETERNITY painting the front door.  Four or five coats later, it looked like this:

And the front of the house looked like this:

A little better, no?  Certainly a bit brighter and cheerier.

Well, then sometime last week I decided that in order to really improve things, a little mulch was in order.  I figured spending some time and money upfront would be totally worthwhile if it meant fewer weekends in July spent weeding and getting eaten alive by mosquitos. 

I'd never ordered mulch before, so I did a small amount of research and called a few local places to find the best prices.  And here's where I'll help you out:  if you've never ordered mulch before, it's sold in "yards" and a standard yard is enough to cover a 10' x 10' area about 3" deep.  The nursery I spoke to over the phone suggested that I walk along the perimeter of the areas I wanted to mulch to estimate the square footage.  I estimated about 800 square feet would be needed in the front (8 yards) and decided to up our order to 10 yards to get free delivery, figuring the other two yards could go in the backyard.

Now, here's where I really help you.  This...this is what 10 yards looks like:

Ohhhhhhhhhhh shit.  My first clue that we ordered too much was when a DUMP TRUCK pulled up to the driveway, as opposed to a pickup truck like I had been expecting.

And did we have a wheel barrow?  OF COURSE NOT!!!  Chris moved a huge chunk of this enormous pile by lugging it across the yard one trash barrel at a time.  Then on Sunday our delightful neighbors gave us their old wheel barrow and the project instantly got exponentially easier. 

I later found out that while we had ordered 10 yards, most (sane) people normally order about 3-4 yards at a time.  Should you ever decide to mulch, start small (smaller than we did at least) or split the load with a neighbor.  Your back (and arms and abs and glutes) will thank you.

By Sunday afternoon we had used up almost all of the yardage and what remained we let a neighbor haul away for their yard.

Here's what the front yard looked like yesterday afternoon:

I love how the green grass and shrubs just seem to pop now.  Oh, and the big patch of straw?  New grass is growing there--it had been a huge patch of crabgrass up until recently when I PULLED IT ALL OUT BY HAND.  (Yes, that is all caps because sometimes I'm infuriated with my own stubborn-ness I  and it makes me all shouty.)

I'm totally tickled with how good things are starting to look.  We'll paint the shutters black in the next few weeks and then add in some big black urn planters with some pretty flowers.  We'll have this place back to its prime in no time!

In other news, it's springtime here.  On Sunday morning, the dogwoods had buds on them and by Sunday afternoon, this:

Any idea what this is?

So, that was how most of our weekend was spent.  Good times!  I have to say, while it was completely daunting and pretty much a huge pain in the ass, it was incredibly satisfying and I'm thrilled with how it all looks.   

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