Monday, April 14, 2014

flower bed · starting from scratch

{the front bed as of saturday - April 12, 2014 - we've owned the house for one year!}

When we moved into our house, the flower bed along the front of house was ugly and in bad shape. And the pest inspection alerted us that the mulch layer was too high, making it easier for termites and other nasty bugs to get inside.

{the front bed on the day we bought the house - April 12, 2013}

So besides the fact that the trees and bushes were all dying, except one little guy, we had to remove several inches of mulch and dirt anyway. And we don't really care for the look of red mulch (did you know a lot mulch is dyed?!). By the time we finished cleaning everything out, it was time for the wedding and we were deep into summer - much too hot to plant new bushes or shrubs.


{the front bed as of March 2014}

So this is how it sat from June 2013 until late March this year. We were basically starting from scratch. We added that ugly black downspout last summer to divert the rainwater that comes pouring out of that spout. It washed the mulch (when it was there) away and then a giant puddle formed.

We still needed to remove a couple inches of dirt, because it was still too high and most of what's there is a rocky clump of hard clay soil. And I've heard that plants like soil that will, ya know, actually drain. 

So we started our work this spring by fixing the downspout. We spent part of a day digging a trench and burying the downspout that used to pour right into the flower bed. So now it's buried and won't cause a issue once we plant the new shrubs/bushes and lay down the mulch. There is a temporary drain cap pictured, we purchased a pop-up drain that will soon replace it. 

{trench dug | downspout extender buried | temporary drain cap extending into the yard}

So then it was on to prepping the bed. We rented a tiller from Home Depot (the least expensive option in our area) and loosened up the top layer of clay soil so we could remove a bunch of it. We needed to lower the dirt level so once we add the mulch, it's not sitting up on the bricks again.

Then we dug a small trench along the grass line to put in the metal edging. Eventually we'd like to add a row of bricks or stones, but this was step one.

{metal edging installed}

On to the plants. I spent a decent amount of time researching plants. I checked to find out our zone (we're a 6) so I could identify plants that would grow well in our yard. The state botanical garden website was an awesome resource, as was a local nursery.

{the front bed, before clean up. you can see the foundation!}

I knew that I wanted a row of boxwood in front of the windows. They are an evergreen so we'll always have a little bit of color up there. We liked the idea of putting something tall in front of the brick, like one of the previous owners had done. So I looked at variations of boxwood that grew tall and thin. I found japanese sky pencil holly and we bought four in two different heights to flank the windows. They grow to about eight feet tall, one foot wide.

The boxwoods and mulch will come next. We may not get any flowers in the ground this year, but I'll just be glad to have something other than dirt to look at! And I'm sure our neighbors will too.

xoxo, christa

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