Mulching and Edging

Thomas and the kids applied all the mulch to the flower beds a few days ago and they did a great job especially considering that they had five huge beds to mulch.  (They’re superheros)!  I did help them a little because I wanted the beds edged before the mulch application and I didn’t want to add that to their hours-long list.

Front Bed


The front beds look pretty good although I do have to fill in with a few more flowers which I just bought today.  I’ve learned that when you have beds that are as big as ours, you need to stick to one maybe two colors for flowers otherwise it just looks like a crayon box puked in your front yard.

The side beds need a little help and it’s on my radar, but at this point, I’m just happy to have the huge pile of mulch out of the driveway and in the flower beds.  Besides right now, I have vegetable/fruit plants (zucchini, blueberry, cucumber) planted there so we’ll see how that goes.  If it’s a bomb, then next year, it’s flowers.

Side Yard

Side Back

I also got out my reciprocating saw and cut down a few dead trees that I was tired of looking at.  Although it kind of blocked the mean neighbor behind us, the dead branches were too ugly.  What I need is one of those huge bushes shaped like a guy mooning his neighbor.  Maybe I should have asked for that for Mother’s Day… oh well, next year.

Here’s the before:

Dead Trees

 Unfortunately this is the only pic I had of the dead trees

Here is the after:

No treesAs far as the edging goes, my neighbors use landscapers and in previous years we’ve just dumped the mulch on the beds and called it a day, but I noticed that the landscapers dig a little trough around the mulched area to help keep the mulch in when it rains and this year I did the same.

Deck and BedI just took a spade-like shovel and dug all around the front of the where I wanted the trough to go then I dug around the back to make a “V” of dirt that I just scooped out.


TroughIt took a while, but I think it looks so much better having the mulch in a defined bed.

Finished Bed

Patchy GrassWith a yard this size with all the flower beds, I really have to do something yard related a few hours a week (one hour a day is ideal)… but who has the time for that!  So, I do what I can and ask for help with the hubs and kids over the weekend.  Next on the to-do list for outside is to stain our new deck.  I just picked up some stain brochures from Olympic and am deciding between a solid or semi-solid stain…  Choices, choices.

How to Not Kill Plants

I actually don’t know the answer to that great mystery of how to not kill plants because every time I plant my flower beds in the Spring, I kill half of of the flowers guaranteed.  But, I still plant every year and hope, hope, HOPE, I won’t kill all my plants.  Every year a few remain so in a few years I’ll have a nice full flower bed…right???

Here is what the beds looked like before planting:

Before Front and Front Before front side Before Side Before front

There’s actually supposed to be A LOT more plants in there since I planted a butt load of perennials last year but I guess they didn’t take… again.  Oh well, I persist.  After my mad dash to the local nursery, dropping $400, and wasting $200 with my soon to be dead plants, I laid out the plants where I thought they should go:

Plant placement

Then I planted:
PlantedI spaced the plants a little further apart than I’d like to see initially only because I’m hoping that they’ll fill in as the summer passes.

Planted Side

In previous years, I went to either Home Depot or Lowe’s and bought my flowers there.  This year I went to a local nursery and talked to someone who knows what’s what about plants and after I explained my situation (I’m a plant killer), he recommended some hardy plants that were not only deer resistant and shade tolerant which I needed but also pretty idiot proof which I desperately needed.

He also recommended some deer spray that actually doesn’t smell like rancid cat urine.  It smells like mint instead 🙂 .  I sprayed it on EVERYTHING!  I followed the motto that if a little is good, a lot is even better.  With the amount that I applied, my flowers, house, street, and neighborhood should be deer free.

The kids and my husband are applying mulch for Mother’s Day (I love hard labor as a gift!) and they have 7 cubic yards of it, so yeah, they’ll be applying mulch for two days straight.

Resetting our Brick Edging

Since the weather was so nice outside this weekend, the kids and I worked in the yard.  I’m lucky that I have kids that aren’t afraid of hard work… Sofia complains sometimes, but she still does the job, eventually.

This weekend’s project was to take out all the edging along our walkway and build it up.

Crooked Edging

We have a real problem with flooding since we live downhill and because the edging has sunk so much into the ground, the water flows down the walkway and right over the edging into the mulch beds.  Then the mulch beds become saturated and a lot of the mulch flows out of the beds all over the walkway.  It happens every time it rains even moderately.  I am hoping that by raising the edging then when it rains, the river of mulch won’t be so heavy.  I still expect for it to happen to some extent.  To get rid of the problem altogether, we have to invest some major dollars for proper drainage… or move 🙂 .

So here is what the edging looked like before:

EdgingThe kids helped to pry out the edging with a crow bar since the edging was so deep in the dirt.

Trajan taking out edging

Edging buried

After all the edging was out, I built up the trough, tamped down the dirt with the flat edge of the crowbar, and measured the depth with a long screwdriver that I marked with a sharpie so that the depth was the same all along the trough.   I just measured from the bottom of the trough to the top of the brick walkway and made sure that the mark on my screwdriver was even with the walkway.

It took about 4 hours to do the entire walkway on both sides, but now it looks like:

Finished edging

proper edging beginning

We also installed flower troughs on the back upper deck… I installed and the kids planted and now it looks like this:

Tuscan helping


3 kids


Deck 2

Even the dogs helped hung out:

DogsI still have to plant our massive flower beds and will be taking a trip to the nursery this week.