Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do-It-Yourself Front Yard Landscaping: Take 2

One of the most read articles on this site is my post, Front Yard Landscaping: We Did It Ourselves. It chronicles our do-it-yourself project of designing and installing a new landscape for our front yard. If you have never seen 'killer yews', I urge you to click through to that post to look at our 'before' pictures...But come back to see new pictures below.

We spent a lot of time planning the design and plants for our landscape and by doing it ourselves we saved a lot of money. We were fairly pleased with the turn out, except for the 3 Mtn. Fire Pieris plants that we planted smack dab in the middle of our bay window. It was really my fault. I didn't realize that 'slow growing' meant slow growing. The rest of our plants really took off, but those three plants just didn't fill in to the extent that we wanted them to.

We decided last fall that we were going to move them this spring to the side yard of our property. Some place that wasn't a focal point for our landscape. And then Snowpocalypse 2010 happened and when the snow melted, we didn't like what we saw. The weight of the snow flattened all three of the plants like pancakes and the middle plant was about 75% dead. We weren't happy with the plants, but we didn't want them to die; we were just going to move them.

We spent this past weekend, working on our front landscaping. I picked three new plants to replace the Pieris. I chose a red Rhododendron for the center and 2 Peppermint Mtn. Laurel plants for the sides. The Mtn laurel is native to PA and it is our state flower. They are evergreens, so they won't lose their leaves and should fill in nicely to camouflage the foundation of the house; my biggest complaint about the Pieris. I transplanted two of the three Pieris to our side yard and sadly the third plant went into our municipal recycling container.

We also spent the weekend, mulching all of the beds around our house. We purchased 3 cubic yards of leaf compost from our municipality for $35. Our municipality collects leaves in the fall and turns them into the most beautiful, rich, dark compost.

In an effort to control the weeds, I am trying the newspaper method this year. I put down several layers of newspaper underneath the mulch in a chemical-free attempt to block out the weeds.

It was a long weekend spent pulling weeds, shoveling mulch, planting shrubs, and working together. In the end we are very pleased with the turn out.

How is your landscape looking this spring? Did Mother Nature leave you any surprises from the long winter? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. It look soooo good! You must be so pleased with the result! I can't believe the difference. I love the pink too, against your house. Do the leaves stay that color, or will they change?

    We have done a lot of work outside so far this spring, and it has made a HUGE difference! I'm so happy with the curb appeal that we have now!

  2. Found you on WFMW, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my begonias came back even though they are annuals (zone 8). Although, we're dealing with an overgrowth of dandelions this summer. I planted a new bed and used the newspaper method but the crazy monkey grass just pushed the news paper and mulch out of the way to get out from under it. Oh well...I can handle weeding. Love your yard! Way to go!

  3. I grew up in PA and your pretty landscaping brings up lovely memories of my years there. We just moved into a new house in South Florida and the vegetation is completely different, as you can imagine. Now I have to learn how to care for palm trees!

  4. Hey FBS, I'm new to Yakezie and just stopped by to check out your blog...and i found a fellow Pennsylvanian! We're still recovered from the snowpocalypse and i'm seriously considering shopping around for a snowblower...of course, we probably won't get a single flake next year.

    Anyway, i'm about to breakdown and do the mulch thing in another week or two. I'm considering having the drop off instead of the lugging bags from home depot (i haven't priced it to see which is cheaper yet...but i will), and that newspaper trick is new to me. Does it really help that much? And do pieces of newspaper end up being visible after a few weeks? I'm very curious, but willing to try something new....weeds were almost as bad as the snow last year!

  5. Car Negotiation Coach - Definitely price out the mulch. I don't like the bags, because of the trash. Also check to see if your municipality offers mulch and if they do, ask your neighbors about it's quality or even go check it out.

    It is funny you asked about the newspaper sticking out of the mulch. This is the first time we have tried it, so I don't know yet how effective it will be. But there is paper sticking out around the edges, if I do this again, I won't bring the paper all the way to the edge of the border. As the mulch is breaking down around the edge, paper is peeking through. Now I'll have to go and rip those pieces out.

    Thanks for your commments and welcome to Yakezie.

  6. I'll see if the township offers something,thanks! And i wanna try the paper experiment too....i may try it in a small area first....i've got way too much landscaping at my new house (but it does look great IMHO so i gotta keep it up... at least for a few years).

  7. We too lost shrubs to Snowpocalypse 2010. One was a large one over 10 years old that we just had to remove completely so much of it was dead. We are trying to save two others by tying the branch up and giving them some support to hopefully regrow into shape.


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