Schubert HQ: front yard landscaping progress

We’ve made progress on Schubert HQ this summer!!

Granted, this project cost us money we would have rather not had to spend … but this project HAD to be done for our HOA deadline, and we simply didn’t have the time to do it ourselves.

The backyard, though. That still looks like crap and we’ll probably end up doing that ourselves.

Anyway … all that to say, our house no longer looks like it’s “haunted” as Andrew has been describing it….

Andrew has been doing little projects here and there …. weeding and clearing out leaves and attempting to keep some flowers alive.

And then in June he braved a BIG project of ridding our front yard of a couple tons or so of gravel.

Then we just had an UGLY front yard …. in need of some TLC.

Here’s a BEFORE shot … You can see all the gravel on the right side of the yard, and all the dirt+tiny grass patches on the left.

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One of Andrew’s co-workers recently bought a house and really likes his landscaper, so we called that guy to come out, take a look and give us a quote.

The guy (Jose) came out on a Tuesday morning with a couple members of his team (including his son Richard who couldn’t have been older than 15 and *clearly* spending his summer working for his dad). They took a look at the yard before knocking on the door, so I surreptitiously watched them through the curtains. All I could think is they were sizing up exactly how ugly this poor yard was and thinking about how much work it would be.

So, we hired them to thin out our front tree, fix/extend the sprinkler system (there were no sprinklers under the gravel, obviously), till the dirt and plant grass…. All very basic things that just needed to be done for the HOA deadline.

And we woke up that Friday morning (730a or so) to a yard-full of branches already cut from the tree.

They started EARLY!

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Friday was spent thinning the tree, tilling the soil and making the sprinkler system workable …

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I honestly loved the scent of that freshly tilled soil ….You can just tell that this dirt was ready to be planted (unlike the sad, dead-feeling dirt yard we had before).

Monday morning they came back to finish the job – laying down the sod and testing the sprinklers….

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So interesting to watch them fit the pieces together.

You can kind of see in this shot below that we’ve left the gravel along the side of the house for now. Eventually that will also be out of there and replaced with a walkway and a small garden, I think….

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(Here’s another look at BEFORE)

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And AFTER:

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It looks GOOD in real life! And now I think our neighbors probably like us that much more ….

Although, clearly, we still have a LONG WAY to go ….

List of want-to-dos include:

  • extending the side wall all the way to the sidewalk (as a low retaining wall)
  • rebuild a fence blocking in the back yard (right now it’s just a half-wall)
  • build a brick walkway along the side of the house and turning the corner to the front of the house
  • plant in the resulting triangle of space between the brick walkway and retaining wall (I’m thinking maybe an herb garden)
  • replace the front columns with brick (or wrap existing with brick)
  • build a small planter between the columns to divide the space between the brick “porch” and the lawn
  • paint the exterior of the house (gray and white with a red door) and reroof
  • add lighting to either side of the garage

I think that’s all I can think of for now.

The grass was installed mid-July and Andrew has mowed it twice. …. all I want to do is go lay in it and read a book…. Maybe once the weather cools down a bit?

When are you going to come visit and see our pretty new lawn in real life?

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I’m so lucky Andrew enjoys yardwork

The other day, when I saw my father-in-law …. I made a point of thanking him for making Andrew do yardwork growing up.

Now that we have our house …. and the summer weather is warming up …. Andrew LOVES spending his mornings or afternoons or whenever he happens to be off work out doing yardwork.

Lucky me! !

The first task was cleaning up the wreck of a front/side yard … You can see in this BEFORE photo … In the shade (bottom right of the photo) he has started raking that area….. Months, if not years worth of twigs and leaves all built up on the hill.

I posted some other yardwork photos here … but this is a better look at the ‘after’

Some other yardwork he did one afternoon while I was at work – which means I didn’t get a proper BEFORE photo ….

You can see a little bit of it in this photo below:

In the left of the photo you can see this little area marked off with cinder block and wood stakes and some kind of green mesh.

I *assume* it used to be a garden of some kind, but A) it’s mostly in the shade because of the trees, B) I haven’t decided where I want a garden and C) good lord it’s ugly.

So Andrew took it all out.

The after (and after several months of not mowing the lawn)

LOTS more work to do …. but I can tell a difference ….

I am SO grateful for Andrew and his incredible work ethic …..

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We have quite a bit of yard work to do …. so we started with one of the smallest pieces….

This small piece of yard to one side of the driveway was ankle+ high in weeds …

Andrew spent a couple days clearing the weeds and *most* of the rocks …. it’s amazing how much work needed to go in to clearing this small piece of land!

Andrew’s mom gave us some of her geranium plants to put in!

I’m hoping they take … they’re so pretty!

As of this publishing they’re ….. struggling. But still alive!

So glad to have our front yard a little bit prettier!

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As soon as I got home from the gardening/composting class, I walked around our property a little bit (I use “property” very loosely as our lot is less than 5000 sq ft) ….. trying to think about what changes I wanted to make, where we could put the compost bin and other things ….

While we were there I drew a little rough draft of our property … thinking about the trapezoid shape, where trees would go, etc …

Not really to scale, but you get the general idea….

Our wall on the side that we share with our neighbor is up the hill slightly, and goes out at an angle to the house/other wall to make the trapezoid shape.

Because of the hill, we have a 3-ish feet high retaining wall that starts at the back wall, angles out a bit and heads toward the front of the house.

In the photo below, the retaining wall is behind Andrew and our property-border wall is on the right. That is the BACK wall of that particular neighbor’s house. They face a different street – we are the first house on our side on our street.

To look at it, you’d assume that wall just goes straight back, right?

Turns out, NO.

When I got home and started walking around, I noticed that that particular neighboring wall does NOT go straight back to meet our back wall!

Instead … about 7 or 8 feet before OUR back wall, it turns. It seems like that particular neighbor’s yard ends, but before OUR yard ends.

Then the final bit of our yard apparently backs up to a DIFFERENT neighbor’s yard at a different depth…

Does that even make sense?

Here’s an updated diagram:

Check out all these trees in that corner – you can see why we didn’t necessarily realize that extra ~15 sq feet of property was back there!

and looking back through the trees to the ‘new’ side wall

So, what are we going to do with this strange little corner?

I’ve got some ideas :)

You can see a little bit more in this photo . …. we’ve got this retaining wall with fence on this site of the yard ….

But it’ll be a BIG project.

  • The retaining wall needs to be replaced… the whole length from the back wall all the way to the front of the house
  • The fence will be taken down (and replaced in places)
  • we’re planning on taking all those trees out on this side yard
  • clean up all the leaves/twigs/mess that has built up underneath (including that newspaper. How did that get there?)
  • tentatively planning on putting our compost bin against the back wall of the yard on top of the retaining wall, at the bottom of the little hill
  • *maybe* build some kind of stairs or similar from ground level up to the top of the retaining wall
  • once that corner is all cleared out ….. I want to plant a couple fruit trees in this corner and make it our “orchard”

Here’s another look ….

What do you think?

Can you picture a little orchard there?

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