The dreaded landscaping project

Did you miss the last post? Click here to go back.

Can we just talk about the weekend? Because let’s be honest, were we really ready for it to be over? It’s Wednesday and I’m still grieving. 

We started this weekend on a project that I was really not looking forward to. Actually, a project I wasn’t supposed to have anything to do with…

After I had been living with C for a while, I mentioned that the landscaping in front of the house was horrible. And it really was. There were holly bushes planted out there, but they were extremely overgrown. C had never cut them, and it didn’t appear as though the previous owners had either. We have a block home, and the front porch sits three blocks high. The hollies were so tall they were almost to the top of the rail around the porch. And they were so wide that they had grown into each other. I told him it looked like the house had a mustache. And the border around the area were wood beams that were completely rotten and looked horrible. I think it took me pointing it out for him to see how bad it really was.

We agreed that we would love to have ‘desert plants’ up there – cacti, succulents, agaves, etc., but we weren’t ready to make that commitment yet. Knowing the hollies had been planted there for decades, we were going to wait until we had a tractor to rip them out with. But we did a temporary fix.

First, we gave the hollies a much needed cut. We got them down to a normal height, to about the height of the porch floor, and cut them back so they actually looked like individual bushes again instead of a mustache. Then we bought some loropetalums to go in front of/in between them. We also bought some pieces of flagstone to mix in as ‘accent pieces.’

C had mentioned to me that the neighbors on one side of us were landscapers, and walked me over to peak at their yard through the fence. They’ve done it all up so they can take clients there. It is beautiful! They also sell plants, and we needed a few more things to put on the ends, so we walked over to see what they had. They’re not actually open to the public, they just sell to nurseries and other landscaping companies, but they gave us a ton of stuff! A bunch of dyckias and an agave. We planted those on the ends as well as some grasses we bought from Home Depot.

Then last we ripped out the wood beams {which was a nightmare because they had become mush and were full of dirt and bugs}, installed pavers, and mulched.

That was about two years ago and we’ve been fine, until recently when the topic came up again. I told C that that was not a project I wanted to deal with right now, because I knew how much work it would be and it’s so hot outside. “You won’t have to do anything except pick out the new plants. I’ll pay for them and do all the work.” But I knew better…

Next thing I know, I’m inside one day thinking C’s out working in the shop when I start hearing this crazy noise. It’s C in the front digging up the hollies and loropetalums. I was not very happy, but it was too late at that point, so I just let him go at it. Then he was in a huge rush to buy the new plants because he didn’t like there not being anything out there. Well for one, we had too much going on and didn’t have time to go plant shopping. And two, I didn’t want to just willy-nilly buy stuff. I wanted to have a plan, know how much we needed, and what exactly I wanted.

I finally took the time to go out and take inventory. We had a few plants in pots that we had thought about putting up there, so I drug those out and came up with an idea. So off we went Sunday to the nursery.

These were a couple shots that I took so I would have them as a reference when we went shopping. You can see some of the stuff in pots.


We have a bunch of nurseries here in town, but this one is our favorite. They are really clean, organized, the employees are friendly and helpful, and they have a good selection. But obviously, you get what you pay for, so the nursery is pretty expensive. We ended up not getting any plants from there, just some more flagstone. But we love going to nurseries, so even though we struck out, we had a good time just wandering, looking, and dreaming.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the way back, we had to make a Walmart run for groceries and noticed their plant selection was looking better than it usually is, and so we picked up some snake plants. They also had cacti that we had looked at a thousand times at Home Depot, but they were bigger and cheaper, so we picked up a couple. Then on to Home Depot, where we we picked up some grasses, so it would flow with the grasses that are on the ends.

We decided to go back to the neighbors. We told them what we were going for, told him we had a hundred bucks, and asked what we could get for that. He talked to us for a while about the different agaves, cacti, dickias, etc that would do good in that location, then told us to load up as much as we could get to fit in the truck. Then even once it was full, he kept putting more in there. We made out like bandits! If my counting was correct, we got 9 massive dyckias, 1 crown of thorns, 2 blue agaves, 14 aloes, 3 of something that I don’t know what it was, a 7 of another mystery plant. He also broke off pieces from two other cacti for us to propagate.


I ended the day with cuts all over my arms, what I thought was a broken foot, sunburnt shoulders/chest/back, and two farmers tans because I changed my outfit.


Then the fun part… Even though C had got the hollies and loropetalums out, he didn’t get all the roots. That’s where I got suckered in. I couldn’t just sit there and let him do it alone. But holy cow, you talk about some hard work! We were pulling out roots that were 6+ feet long and 4-5″ in diameter. The two of us spent about 10 hours (each) out there over the course of three days. We finally just had to accept that it wasn’t going to be perfect and called it quits.

So that’s where we’re at now… We’ve got all the plants laid out where we want them and will be working on planting over the next few days. Actually, C’s going to be out of town for work, so it looks like I’ll be doing the planting… Grr… Then I think instead of re-mulching, we’re going to put rock down this time. So it’s a long project that I still don’t want to do deal with. I know it’ll be worth it and look nice, but I’m just so ready for it be over. I’ll take some pictures once we’re finished and try to dig up some old pictures. Since C started before I knew it, I didn’t have a chance to snap any ‘before’ shots.


So are you a weirdo like us and actually enjoy doing yard work? What’s the most labor-intensive project you’ve ever done in your yard?




If you liked this post, be sure to subscribe to be notified of new Chaotic Curwhibbles posts in the future.Subscribe


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s