landscaping lollapalooza

This summer, I’ve been landscaping up a storm.  Let’s just say I’m making up for lost time since I’ve done almost nothing in the yard work department since we moved in three years ago. Oh, I’ve wanted to.  I just could never physically or mentally get around to anything more than mowing and some weeding each summer before school started up again and my brain turned to mush.  There was no time for spring planting or planning beds or anything.  And, I knew one day we’d put up a new fence, and who wants to put in a bunch of landscaping only to have it trampled before their very eyes.  Not this girl.

I’ll start with some before pictures.

Front of the house.  Note the wild grassy stuff under the tree in the front, lower left corner.  Also note the wildness on the far right, on the side of the house.  Prior to these photos, there were two awful evergreen trees–one where you can see the gutter on the left side of the porch and one over in the right ‘bed’–both of which came down with our winter weather.  Praise God; I would have had to hire someone to take them out for me.  (I sound like an assassin.  A tree-assassin, that is.)

  This is the north side of the house. Note the tree stump of fallen tree, stairs leading to the door Andrew took out, and general weedy, wild look of what was probably once a bed of some sort.  I’d been imagining a new look for this section for a LONG time.
    Before the deck came down.  Note the large green bush and smaller yellow and green bushes (if you can) that are totally hidden by weeds.  Driveway is to the right, along it was a bed with three peonies and lots of weeds.
  After pictures:

The bushes near the deck had to be removed for demolition, and while I wasn’t in love with them, I didn’t want to just throw them away or let them die.  Also this summer, I finished removing all the brush and sticker bushes from the back left corner of the yard.  I fashioned a new bed, raked it out, lined it with found stones (seriously, where are they coming from?!  they are EVERYWHERE in our dirt) and put in the bushes. This photo was taken pre-mulch and planting new grass.

  The fence panel was from our patio area, also removed during demo and repurposed to give us some fencing where the existing fencing had come down.
  This is the back right side of our yard.  On the one hand, I love the ‘wild’ look beyond our fence, and I do love that it’s kind of a ‘no man’s land’ where I can dump yard clippings, see wildlife and glimpses of neighbor kiddos playing.  However, I’m pretty sure it’s also a breeding ground for poison ivy and the prime location for deer to enter our yard.  (They’ve already eaten all the hostas that were back there when we moved in; I rescued them and moved them to various parts of the yard.)  Next year: privacy fencing!  I transplanted a bunch of myrtle from up near the house when we cleared out the existing concrete pavers, and many of these large round river rocks where up there, too.  It’s been mulched and both the myrtle and vinca vine have taken quite well.  Next year–after the fence–I plan to put in GIANT hostas in the back corner.
  Side bed along the drieveway: tiger lillies and red and pink day lillies, with a row of iris in the back.  I’m thinking I’ll add daffodil bulbs in a row along the front this fall.  It’s been mulched and cut back. I can’t wait for spring!  (Don’t mind our awful peeling paint on the south side…we’re planning to take care of that next summer, too.)
  Here is that bed under the tree in the front:

I’ve always hated how wild and unkempt it was.  It was a mix of iris, tiger lillies, weeds, lily of the valley and other things, I’m sure.  I didn’t like that it wasn’t round, either.  So, I spent an entire morning clearing out EVERYTHING that was there, sorting it out and then tilled it into a circle.  I shared the tiger lillies with my neighbor and we both planted them along our shared chain-link fence in the back–very excited for our rows to come up!  Again, more giant rocks had been hanging out there, so they’re gone, and it’s been mulched and the grass I planted is coming up nicely.  It’s a tricky bed, as it’s part shade and part sun, but I’m thinking it will be an annual bed.  I tend to consider annuals a colossal waste of money, but they can also be very beautiful.  The back side gets almost all shade, so I’ll put a pretty hosta there with annuals all around the front and sides.

During the demolition of the patio and prep for the new one, all the dirt that was removed got dumped along the side yard to create some raised beds for me.  I was excited, but totally underestimated the amount of work (i.e. hard labor) it would take to make these actual ‘beds.’  Holy carpal tunnel!

It took multiple go-arounds at raking it out, and upwards of probably 10 loads of ‘crap’ (rocks, hunks of clay, roots, etc…) I had to shovel into the wheelbarrow and dump elsewhere.  It certainly made up for all the gym time I missed!

  I raked out and planted the side bed first: white Annabelle hydrangeas in the back (known for their ability to stand up a bit straighter and slightly improved deer resistance), three blue ‘drinking gourd’ hostas near the front and a border of lily of the valey (transplanted from the bed under the tree in the front).  The magenta plants you see are ‘zipper’ coral bells, but they’ve actually been moved to the other part of this bed.  In their place, I have some yellowy-green and light green large hostas from a friend.
    The front round part of the bed:  This bed, perhaps, is my ultimate pride and joy.  It was definitely the hardest–both in terms of labor and planning–took the longest, but also gives me so much joy and happiness.  I never knew I’d like gardening as much as I do.  As a kid, I dreaded helping my mom outside (not that she did a ton, but every good homeowner has to keep up on their weeds, right?!), yet now I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and plant.  I think it’s because this is the area in which I get to shine; it’s a home-improvement project I don’t need Andrew’s help with.

I’ve been dying to get an ornamental shade tree in the bed from the beginning, and I picked out a Rising Sun Redbud.  Definitely take a minute to Google it; new growth comes in pink and it’s truly beautiful.  After it went in, I started planning out the rest of the plants.  I also got quite an assortment of plants from some friends.


The concrete border is temporary; those pieces are in our backyard and I snagged some to make this a raised bed.  Next year, or whenever we do the landscaping in the front (oh, those bushes are living on borrowed time, I tell ya), I’ll do a border to match whatever we do with the other beds.  Because of the redbud’s pink color, I chose a red/pink theme for the other plants in the bed.

In the back, Solomon’s Seal which gives height and has white blooms and loves shade.  The color around the front of the tree are other types of coral bells: ‘lava lamp’ and ‘caramel.’ There are also two types of hostas: the front three are ‘aureonebulosa’ varieties with white blossoms, the back three are all light green, from a friend, and I’ll be surprised in the spring to see what color their blossoms are–hoping for white!  In the right corner of the bed, where the rounded part meets the straight part, are three sedum–two tall and one short–and a bunch of lamb’s ear.  The bed gets morning sun in the front and it gradually lessens until it’s full shade after about 1 or 2 p.m.


I’ll be working on yet another bed this weekend–we’re wanting to put in a tree/shrub in a small bed between the driveway and the new deck (still under construction) that will give us some privacy and shade.  Once that’s finished, I’ll snap some better ‘after’ photos as everything looks so nice after the mulch and new grass has started coming in.

I still have one cubic yard of mulch sitting in the driveway…the goal is to have it GONE by the end of the weekend!

5 thoughts on “landscaping lollapalooza

  1. Holly, one can tell yo put a lot of thought and effort in the planning and planting of your yard.It was pretty before to me, but gardening you have done makes me think it will be gorgeous. Landscaping is like a good workout! Hahahahahha ❤ Zunt mary.

  2. It looks beautiful. Thanks for the kick in the rear to clean out my garden. I’m in Florida and with the 100 degree heat and humidity the last thing I want to do is landscape. You’ve given me inspiration. Time to get the pruner and shovel out.

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