Operation Curb Appeal: Progress!

Progress has finally been made – hip hip hooray! On Sunday afternoon we completed our garden project along the fence with the neighbors.

It went from this:

an ugly mess of weeds covering part of the sidewalk with lattice attached to the chain link – to this:

We now have a flower bed that is graded correctly and exists next to the sidewalk instead of covering it.  We also opened up the space visually by removing the unnecessary lattice on the fence.  I know our plants look a little bit dinky right now, but we’re hoping next year they will fill out quite a bit more.  I was hesitant to purchase more mature (read: expensive) plants given my history and we think the slightly smaller plants will be a better investment.

To complete the project (which you can read about here and here), we finished digging out the poor quality soil which is likely filled with many weed seeds.  Once the soil was gone, we added pebbles to the bottom of our garden-to-be for better drainage.  We have plenty of gravel in our backyard that was under a previously existing deck.  We decided to use what we had on hand and hauled what we needed out front.

With the pebbles in place, it was off to Lowes for some garden soil.  I don’t recall what brand we purchased, but it had added fertilizer.  The neighbor boys (3rd and 1st grade) asked why it smelled like poop.  We topped the soil with landscaping fabric that we staked down.  Given the weedy history of this area of our yard, I don’t want to take any chances.

Next, we planted.  Yay! We wanted a perennial that could handle the full (I mean full, i.e. absolutely no shade) conditions in our front yard while growing just large enough to partially screen the neighbor’s yard.  We made a couple trips to a couple garden centers and finally landed on lavender.  We picked ours up at Merrifield Garden Center.  Here are the details for the variety we liked best:

The foliage should remain evergreen along with flowers in mid to late summer.  Like I said earlier, they should fill out and hopefully won’t be so dinky next year.  We’re also hoping to add some annuals for color and interest next spring.  As for now, the plants smell great and offer a vast improvement over the awkward weedy patch of before.  Just crossing my fingers I don’t kill them! After the plants were in place, we added a layer of cedar mulch to keep weeds at bay and hold in moisture.

We made a couple of other quick improvements out front on Sunday. We moved the gate that used to be located at the top of the staircase down to the bottom.  This accomplishes two things for us: we keep people waiting for the bus from sitting on our stairs and (hopefully) from leaving their trash in our yard.  Additionally, this opens up the front yard visually when looking out from the house.  I didn’t realize until we moved the gate what a difference it makes. I don’t feel like a prisoner in my front yard any longer! Here’s a before from about a year ago (I think):

Wow, that’s one ugly yard! And here’s a repeat from above of the after:

I think we’re improving it one step at a time, although a visit from Yard Crashers or Curb Appeal would be more than welcome!

In addition, I potted a couple hibiscus we got for just $5 each and put them out front.  We’re planning on moving them inside soon, but as long as the weather holds, we’ll keep them outside.  As you can see, the one is looking a bit worse for the wear.  I promise that’s not me! It’s looked that way since we got it home, but seems to be improving now that I potted it.

It’s at least still putting out beautiful blooms! (Ignore the rough looking planter next to the door.  The sun has not been very kind and I’m trying to salvage what didn’t burn up).

We’re plotting what we’ll tackle next with Operation: Curb Appeal.  We still need:

  • shutters out front
  • to paint the front door and mailbox,
  • replace the light fixture
  • do something with that ugly garden area above

We’ll keep you posted on our upcoming projects.  We want to take advantage of the slightly cooler weather and get more work done outside while we can!


3 thoughts on “Operation Curb Appeal: Progress!

    • I keep hoping I’ll develop the “Mason” green thumb, but I think it skipped my generation! At least I picked up several pamphlets and free guides at the garden center – I’m hoping they’ll contribute to my success.

  1. Pingback: Where are the Trick-or-Treaters? | Home By Hanley

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