Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Landscaping is pretty far down on the list of things I enjoy.  I don’t take pride in being self sufficient.  However being a homeowner with a significant amount of unstructured time, I do take care of the yard.  I cut the grass in the summer time, rake leaves in the fall and shovel snow in the winter.  A couple of times a year I will trim the bushes.

When we moved into our home, the back yard had recently been professionally landscaped.  My father in law went one step further and planted perennials that year which have really added great color to our back yard.  Over the past few years, the area has deteriorated and is now as much weeds as it is beautiful splashes of color.

That brings up my landscaping project for the weekend.  I headed out Sunday morning to join the masses at Home Depot.  The crowds were as expected, but there was plenty of staff on hand and the lines were moving pretty quickly.  I was guided to the mulch and black plastics area and was quickly overwhelmed by the selection at my disposal.  Fortunately there was another shopper who was comfortable doling out advice.  I bought 3’x50’ roll of weed block, 20 weed block stakes, 10 cubic feet (5 bags) of large bark mulch, a pair of work gloves and a short square point shovel.  With my wallet $80 lighter, I headed home to go to work.

Clearing the old mulch went reasonably quickly.  I was also pulling a lot of weeds and at times getting confused between weeds and foliage to be preserved.  However after 90 minutes I had a trash can plus 4 lawn bags full of weeds, mulch and other debris.  Next, I started with the black plastic.  By this time my daughters had taken an interest and were holding one end of the weed block roll and handing me stakes to hold it in place.  I ended up being about 10 feet shy of what I really needed, but it worked out OK.  Next, I started application of the new mulch.  10 cubic feet only covered about half of the area in question so it was back to Home Depot for another 5 bags of mulch ($20).  This took care of the job pretty well.  The last item was re-routing all of the sprinkler system lines.  This is something I should have done before putting down the mulch.  As a result the lines are not hidden, but fortunately are not that aesthetically distracting.

The whole project was 3 hours start to finish and looks great through the first week.  Hopefully it is a job done right and not a job that I will be revisiting next year.  $100 was pretty reasonable and hiring the job out would have cost a couple hundred dollars and may not have been performed well.

Assuming everything works out, I met get the girls a smallplanting set up.  I hate to feed the squirrels any more than we do already, but it is a good learning experience.  The biggest drawback would be fending off the squirrels and building structures for chicken wire is not my idea of a good time.

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