Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Updating Our Curb Appeal

With the spring comes beautifying our outdoor spaces.  You have heard us talk about our Big Backyard Plan here and here (which we are getting closer and closer to starting), but in the mean time, we decided to do a small project in the front yard.  Well, we thought is was a small project considering the space is small.  This "small project" ties into our overall plan for landscaping in our backyard as well.  Let me explain. 

This is the future backyard plan, (minor things have changed, but that is another post).  I have noted the "issue" of a huge gravel pit we have in the back yard currently.  It is where the previous owners had a child's play scape.  

As you can also see in the plan above, we do not anticipate incorporating sad said gravel pit into our new backyard plan; therefore, we are finding useful and creative places to use the tons of pea gravel that currently occupy that large corner.  This is the culprit.

Enter our front yard plan. 

Below is a rough plan.  Items seen in color are either existing upon moving in or recently completed projects, while the items in white, are future projects. 
 For now, we will be talking about this particular strip of our front yard. 

It is the small strip of yard that lies between the sidewalk and the street. 

The issue with the strip is that the 4 sprinkler heads that are located there primarily spray the hard scape rather than the grass, and the grass in that area is...well...mostly weeds.  So in an effort to minimize water use and give the strip a face lift we opted to get rid of all of the grass and replace it with the pea gravel that we have an abundance of, and some ornamental grasses that require little water.  2 birds, 1 stone!

Simple right?  Well, digging all of that earth out of the 3 foot strip of lawn was tough.  We spent the entire day Saturday just removing the grass.  We dug down a good 6 inches or more if you include how much the grass was mounded up.  2 reasons.  #1, we wanted to modify the sprinklers that supply the strip, and #2, we wanted to fill that sucker with as much pea gravel as our biceps would allow. 

Here is what it looked like from our front porch Sunday morning after we almost died taking all of the grass out.  A special shout out to my big hunk of husband who kicked that grasses butt!  Another special shout out to Ibuprofen for keeping our muscle pain at bay.

So day two included the sprinkler re-work, installation of weed cloth, planting of new plants, and finally moving of gravel. 

We had 4 sprinkler heads to deal with.  3 in the large strip and one in the small strip on the other side of the driveway.  Devin converted the 3 in the large part down to 2 so we would have a total of 3.  He also replaced all of the heads with these super cool drip system heads.  Each kit from Home Depot, was about $11, and each kit replaced one head.  This would solve the problem of spraying the street and sidewalk and concentrate the irrigation only to the plants we have planted there.  SWEET!

The weed fabric went down super fast.  We used some that we had from this front yard project we finished last year.  Then the plants went in.  NOTE:  we actually dug the holes for the plants prior to installing the weed fabric.  It was much easier to dig without having to work around the fabric.  We then simply sliced the fabric where our holes were to plop our plants in quickly. 

We used 5 Mexican Feather grasses, and 2 Rosemary plants.  The Rosemary essentially flank the driveway. 

Oh and you can see in the picture above that we installed two pave stones in this large strip.  You can see on our plan, that we eventually will extend a paved walkway all the way up to our front door. 
 After we had the plants all planted, and the drip sprinklers in we could start hauling the rock from the back to the front yard.  YAY!

We finished the small strip to the right of the driveway first.  Notice the sprinkler head in the lower left side of the gravel, it has 4 quarter inch drip hoses going to the rosemary planted there.  It is all under the pea gravel.  Cool huh?  We think so, but we get excited about those types of things! 

Moving the gravel went fairly quickly, much faster than digging out the grass the day before. 

We finished up before the sun went down.  Then it was the time that Devin had been waiting for since the first shovel full of grass came out.  Power washing all the mud off of the sidewalk and gutter.  Cleaning it all up to make it pretty was definitely the finish line.

Now for the before...

and after!

We love it!  We are excited to watch these new plants grow and thrive.  What outdoor projects have you guys been tackling?  Any of you rockin' the gravel like us?  We would love to hear.

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