23 May 2012

Curb Appeal: Part 2

In part 1 of the Curb Appeal series (series...it's really more like a mini saga) we removed some of the bushes and had dug the sidewalk flower bed. It took us a whole week before we were able to get some quality time in the front yard again. Once again, we had about an hour and half to get everything done since we have to do all of our work during Fin's nap time.  This time we also had rain looming over head so we kicked it into high gear and got moving.

Hang in there with me on this one, there's probably more pictures of tree planting than one person really needs, but it's better to have more than less. Right? And we definitely do not claim to be green thumbs - we are actually quite the opposite.  We just do what we think is right at the time and hope and pray that in the mean time we don't kill all of our plant life. 

A couple of years ago we planted an ornamental crab apple tree in our back yard. At the time (pre dog and kid), we had high hopes for our back yard. It was going to be an oasis in the city, and we would sit back there and drink coffee and read the paper in the morning. Ha! Couldn't be further from the truth. Our back yard is a disaster. We completely abandoned the garden last year since I was too pregnant to bend over and plant anything, and was then to tired after Fin arrived to even think about weeding it. As a result, this year the weeds have grown to astronomoical heights and have pretty much taken over the flower beds.  The dog has also decided that the world is his bathroom and that there is no longer a need for him to use the little corner of the yard that we dedicated for him for his 'business'.  Nope. He's still right pissed off that there is a little one in the house, and he's decided to take it out on the back yard.  The little apple tree that we planted a few years ago is taking the brunt of his peeing agression.  The little thing had no hope if a 130 lb dog is going to pee on it multiple times a day.  We love the tree and didn't want to see it sufffer any longer, so we decided to move it to the front yard.  

Here it is in it's old home, floating in pee.

Cherry Tree

Before digging the tree up we had to dig a new hole in the front yard.

digging a tree hole

Tree Hole

We sprinkled in some bone meal and some compost manure that we had hanging around (yes, that's right....we had a bunch of compost manure just hanging around).  Then we dug the tree up and moved it to the front. I could tell it was immediately thankful to be out of the pee pit.

tree in a hole

We filled in the rest of the hole with some more compost manure and fresh new black top soil.  

tree hole with dirt

We bought a tree ring at the garden centre to provide a little extra support to the skinny tree trunk and to also stop the weeds from growing around the the tree.  

tree ring

Once the ring was in place we used some of the extra sod to patch up the bare spots and then attached guide wires.

tree ring with sod

While Mr. Swell was working on the guidewires I started working on the new flower bed along the sidewalk that we had dug. We needed some edging for it, and after looking at the garden centre for new edging and not likeing the $50 price tag, we decided to reuse the edging that we pulled from the flower bed under the front windows.  It wasn't in the best shape, but was good enough for what we needed.  The biggest problem was that it was all wavy and did not want to be set in a straight line.  I had it all in place, but the wavyness of it was driving me nuts.  I just about caved to buying new edging, but finally decided to peservere knowing that I could much better spend thatn $50 elsewhere.  I used some wooden stakes that we had laying around in the garage and pounded them into the dirt so that they would hold the edging in place.  Great arm workout by the way....

Flower Bed Edging

It still isn't as straight as it would have been with new edging, but it's good enough for me. 

Once the edging was in, I filled the flower bed with new peat moss and potting soil.

sidewalk flower bed

That's as much as we were able to get done during that nap time.  This is really turning into how to transform your front yard all while your kid is sleeping, isn't it? Oh well. 

We managed to check a few things off of the the to-do list.

- Edging for the planter under the windows
- Edging for the new planter row along the sidewalk
- New bushes for under the windows
- Flowers, flowers, and more flowers
- New front porch light fixture
- New mailbox
- Paint the front door
- Paint the front porch with a slip proof paint
- Move the tree from the back yard to the front yard (missed this one on the first to-do list)

All of the heavy work is done (except for planting one more shrub). Now we get to work on making it pretty. I know the pretty stuff is more exciting to read about, but without all of the prep work, the pretty stuff is pointless.

How was your long weekend (for the Canadians....I know it's next wekeend in the US)? Did you get up to anything exciting? Anyone else do yard work? 


  1. well heres a dance of joy for you. Im always super duper impressed when homeowners do their own work. It turns out just the way they want it and they havent paid obscene amounts in labor costs. Keep on truckin....looks great!!!

    1. What a nice comment! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog.


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