Just after I'd complained about how cold it was, the weather decided to warm up for the weekend and it was fabulous. So fabulous. I think I could have sunburned my nose if I hadn't put on SPF 25 (protect your skin! very important!).
Although it would have been tempting to go to the beach for the day, instead we spent the hours of sunshine working on our backyard. If you aren't acquainted with the whole process that is Operation Backyard, then you should catch up at this post, where there are some nifty before and after pictures.
To catch you up just a little bit, here's what the backyard looked like a few months ago:
But then little backyard fairies flew in and transformed it into this:
Of course, those fairies had a lot of help from Lowe's, Home Depot, and my hardworking husband. In fact, come to think of it, those fairies didn't actually do anything. Except make sure that Operation Backyard went smoothly and no one was injured, and no boots got stuck in cement, and no one cried. I guess that's worth something.
This weekend our major task was weeding, as well as putting down wood chips and bark dust. In fact, for the first time in my life, I went to the garden store and got a yard of bark dust. Jason coached me through the whole thing, so I ended up looking like I totally knew what I was doing. I went in, asked for a yard of fir bark dust, drove the truck around back, and waited while the bark guy (not to be confused with "barking guy"...yikes!) took his tractor with a front end loader and dumped in two loads of bark. I didn't make a fool of myself by driving off after one tractor dump (that's only 1/2 a yard!), and gave the guy a thumbs-up after he was finished. I was so cool.
Other than all that work, we've been hanging around watching the grass grow. Literally. We're watching it grow.
We had planned on laying sod down and then voila! we'd have a lawn. But then for reasons which I cannot fathom right now, I said, "Let's just plant seed instead. It'll be cheaper."
Learn from me: don't plant seed. You think it's smart. You think you're saving money. But then two months later after snow, hail, sleet, and frost, your poor little patch of lawn looks more like a "la" than an "lawn." I have to give it credit though--it has survived and is working very hard at trying to grow. By the time real summer rolls around I think we might actually be able to walk on it. In hindsight though, I should have agreed with Jason when he said, "Should I go get sod?" Yes, he should have. Yes, I should have kept my big mouth shut about throwing down seed.
And that rhododendron bush in the picture? It was planted up above the retaining wall, but we had to move it. Jason dug it up, transferred it, added some fertilizer, and miracles among miracles it lived! I really want to take that rhody with us when we move because it has yellow flowers, and I hardly ever see yellow rhodies. Do you think the new owner would mind? They certainly won't appreciate a yellow rhododendron as much as I do.
As for the wood chips:
They make the play area nice and safe (no splinters! no icky mouthfuls of dirt!). You may notice that the retaining wall has two different styles going on here: manor stones and cinder blocks. The manor stones we bought back in November; the cinder blocks we already had. It would have looked nicer to have manor stones all the way around, but those babies aren't cheap. So we recycled what stones we had and called it good.
Just to get you oriented, across from the play structure we have the patio.
Here's a view a little farther back that takes it all in:
And then from here, if you turn to the right, you will see what we have yet to do. Brace yourselves.
I think we have some kind of plan for this area, but we haven't been able to sufficiently kill off the weeds yet. We've tried, and only now, after multiple spraying of poisons that are probably responsible for melting the polar icecaps, are we making headway. The bank of ivy, blackberry thickets, grass, and other assorted awful plants is a massive project. Care to volunteer to fix it?
I'll make you lunch. I'll make you dinner. I'll pay you $100, which, by the time you're finished will probably only be worth $72.14 considering inflation, but think how proud you'll feel after a hard day's work. Consider it, will you?
This picture. That's all we have left to finish our backyard. If only I could Photoshop the backyard to perfection. Wouldn't that be nifty? Ah well, we have accomplished a lot.
And that is amazing.