Saturday, October 15

Friday Fixer-Upper

In an effort to immerse myself more fully in blog-world, to understand it more completely, I am creating a 'Meme'. Can memes be created by just anyone? Well, I am just anyone and I am doing it. So what if it's merely because I thought of a silly title for today's post. You don't have to tell anyone. In all actuality, posting today has nothing to do with the fact that it's Friday, accept for the fact that Yesterday was Thursday and it happened to be the day that Ariel and I finished (or at least very very close) a summer-long fix-up-project. It is still Friday in all of the United States. Hopefully it will be when I finish this post, because it would be some what less effective if it were not. 

Friday's Fixer-Upper

This is our backyard when we moved into our little duplex house in West Valley, Utah, 5 years ago. I am surprised that the grass was still green. It must have been those April showers. We've spent the last 5 years trying to keep that ugly grass green.  We've seeded and reseeded, watered by hand and with sprinklers, fertilized and aerated, and it has always been brown by mid June. With our dogs, it's been dirt clods by September. I take full responsibility though, because I'm proudly stingy with the water. It's more effective to use it on the garden, which seems like it takes  the same amount of effort but gives me fruits and veggies in return.

 Ever since we moved in, it seems we've barely left one project for five minutes to find ourselves knee deep into another. I've grown accustomed to one friend asking me as she comes up the stairs on arriving, "So what have you changed lately?" Which makes me feel good. Someone noticed.

So this year, it was finally time to do something about that grass. I'm just tired of it. One thing about me is, I don't keep up with the Jones'es. I just don't. I guess you could say I'm passionate about it. A trait I inherited from my Dad possibly? If someone thinks it should be done, I bet I'll find a way not to do it. But despite my neighbors well manicured lawn and neat little picket fence, I found myself planning out our landscape. Not the kind of planning that one day I would like to do, but the kind that you're going to do somehow and soon. ( I must admit, it has something to do with starting progress toward an ornamental horticulture degree from Utah State University. Talking so much about growing things made me realize that I could do a lot more with what I have than I thought.)

First things first, move the shed, and later on,
paint it orange. The paint was from a lucky find at Home depot of clearance paint for $7.

Enclose the house and yard with fencing and double doors. The best thing I got out of the old yard was the wooden door that came from the old fence. We reused every piece of wood that wasn't rotting apart and only had to buy about 10 slats of wood to finish the double door. Up until this point, everything has happened slowly, over a period of 3 years. Last year I tilled in half of the grass in front. It wasn't growing anyway. The portion closest to the house is my greens garden. It will be easy to protect when winter hits, being so close to the house, so the lettuce, chard and beets will grow through the winter. This year we turned the front portion on the drive way strip into a perrenial and herb garden. I planted alot of random seeds in the spring of wildflowers someone gave me a few years back. I have been delighted to watch the seeds sprout and guess at what is a weed and what is a flower. i have yet to figure out what these big pink perennials are. We also had a few varieties of mountain flax and poppies that were gorgeous in the spring. We also dug up a square of garden space that has been growing a few feet every year. This year though, we're running it all the way back to the fence.

Next, turn the gravel next to the car port into a patio. Something the kids can ride their bikes on. Thank You Liz and Edgardo for your hours of slave labor.We started out with about a hundred pavers that we found for free on KSL and from our neighbors and picked up a couple hundred more of the same size from Home depot for $1.50 a piece. This was by far the most expensive part of anything we've done out here. But I would have spent more, it has been so worth it.

Next Dig out the grass. I say dig, because one of my most active experiments has been reclaiming the clay soil that my garden grows in. Two inches of top soil goes a long way then everything else you're looking at is practically sterile. The grass we dug up was a significant portion. We split it into two sections, one with fabric and river rocks to serve as a pad for the camper trailer. I hope the grass will take care of itself now that there's not so much of it. (Yes, that straw colored corner IS grass) This week we found a great place to buy wood chips. The county reclamation sells them by the 'truckload'. But I'm pretty sure that must be a dump truck load. We mulched the front flower bed and everything in the back a good two inches and still had about a cubic yard to spare, all for thirty dollars and two loads in our utility trailer. It's the size of a truck bed, and the guys who loaded us up would have given us more for our money if we had a bigger trailer.
Since the soil in these areas isn't great either, and I dug what was up for the garden, the wood chips will decompose to help the soil and whatever I plant there in the spring.

We've also added half a ton of sand  to the garden and will be adding some horse (or whatever free) manure to help the garden. The area under our ugly trees has been a barely surviving flower bed. Our dog Molly gets a bit rambunctious, so we've hung some wire fencing and retail display pegs(?) to protect the plants until they have a chance to get established. Hopefully next year everything will grow! Then I'll take a residential landscaping design class and I'm pretty sure I'll want to do it all over again.


Cox Family said...

Wow, I'm completely and utterly impressed! Andrea, the yard looks fantastic! Who wants to keep up with the Jones? I wanna keep up with the Aguins.

lizroxy said...

It's fun to see the time line of the pictures and play remember when. You defiantly need to highlight the awesome play structure you put together, I am very impressed. Good luck with your classes, may they all be this fruitful :)