Thursday, September 20, 2012

Add to the list of likes: landscaping...who knew?

Since my last post I've finished my undergrad degree (wooty!) and wandered off to China for two weeks (I highly recommend taking a trip over there - and DEFINITELY go to the Great is amazing).  Anyway, that is my super short and sweet update so lets get down to business.

June 2012 - Made it to the Great Wall!
 We found a house in Midland we both fell in love with.  Loved the location, the size of the house (not too big and not too small), and it had a pool (jackpot!)  So the problem you ask? All three bids submitted were rejected only to find out that we can't bid until November of this year.  Long story short there is a 2 year minimum between buying a HUD house as an owner occupant...did I teach you all something new today? Hope so!  We started scrambling to fix up the little baby Auburn house to get her in rental shape (first fixer upper...can't part ways with her), but due to the two year ordeal now we're just chopping down that to do list for ourselves to enjoy!

In the midst of all the above, we were working on a house and that project has come to a halt.  To increase the curb appeal we had purchased lots of little lovelies for the house, but since the project is on hold and the plants need to get in the ground (said in the same voice as get in my belly) I stole them for Auburn.  Enter: Yoda of Gardening - my mother - she'll make a garden jedi (or something) out of me yet.  I even ran to the store the other day and left with was very bizarre...and very foreign.

The front of the house right after she was purchased in 2010
The side/entry view in 2010
 Landscaping has been on the list since we moved in, but I never really knew where to start or what to do.  I didn't even know how to clear the existing bed weeds to prep the spot for planting.  Do you spray with weed killer and then pull? Or just go for it and start pulling what you can?  We went with the just start pulling and go for it method.  Here's what we started with:
so. many. weeds.  May 2012

Side/Front view May 2012

Only the side portion of the house has been mostly completed (I still need to mulch around the lovelies), but the front will be finished this weekend.  The front bed has been a total pain to clear out!

September 2012

Purple asters, dark pink mums, delphiniums, pink astilbes, and a peony that was already there

Yellow black eyed susans, more dark pink mums, purple aster, and a purple plant that was already there (and we aren't sure what it is!)  + a yellow mum basket for the steps

So what did I learn about landscaping?
  • Fall is a great time to plant and everything is on sale around this time.  The purple asters were 2 dollars a pop and the pink mums ran 4 dollars a piece (just to give you an idea!)
  • Buy smaller plants instead of bigger/full grown plants.  Why? You spend so much less if you go this route. You're still getting lovely color and will eventually have full grown plants in a few years.  We spent 170 total on plants (not all are shown) and supplies (purchased some garden soil, transplant nutrients, etc.)
  • Use a tarp of some sort to avoid getting soil on your lawn...we didn't and there are spots with lots of dirt from removing the weeds and grasses that were growing before.
  • It really isn't that bad/is actually pretty fun and somewhat addicting (you've been warned).
  • This sounds crazy, but ever since we started fixing up the exterior of the house I'm excited to live here. When I pull into the driveway I can't help but smile at all the beautiful colors and know that it was something we all worked on together (Yoda and Loges)
  • This should be a given I suppose, but water the plants every day :) 
I suppose that's all I have for this afternoon, but I just wanted to share my new found joy for playing in the dirt! Hope this might help encourage anyone to take a stab at landscaping/gardening :)  Enjoy the rest of this lovely fall day!