Monday, April 29, 2013

The "Making the Front Yard Less Scary" Project (and other news)

So what have we been up to?  Well, lots!  Not all good news, though.  The full time teaching position for the philosopher did not work out, alas.  But he has picked up two classes for the summer, and he's on the books for two classes in the fall, so we are certainly not as bad off as many people these days.  We still need to figure out where God is leading us, tho.  All we can do is wait and watch and pray.

And in the meantime...

We can dig in the dirt!

No, seriously. That's what most of our front yard is.... dirt.  Well, dirt and gi-normous tree roots.


You didn't believe me, did you?  Dirt and roots.  (Wait, can you call Georgia red clay "dirt"?  Pleh!)

The trees are swamp poplars, and have thick waxy leaves almost like a magnolia.  Which means that three of the four seasons every year it's so shady under the trees that nothing will grow.  When we moved in there was this very untidy ring of wall stones (improperly used and executed) in a huge circle around the trees.  The circle was filled with... yeah ... mostly dead leaves and trash.  So just by clearing that mess out we made it better!

But this spring, I was filled with the ardent desire to look at something nicer every time I peered through my front windows.  So I proposed taking those dreadful, poorly used wall stone to ... actually make a wall!  (I know, shocking, right?)  It's hard to tell from the photo, but the yard is pretty sloped, so by building a retaining wall at the low end we could backfill, level things out (burying some of the worst root offenders at the same time) and make enough space to do a little bit of planting.


I started with this:

We brought the original "circle" in, because that low area in front of the wall should actually get enough southern sun to support grass.   The wall is four levels high, but only for about a quarter of the length.  I half-buried the bottom level, so I'm hoping it will withstand the weight of fill and water down the road!

A week or so later, I conned... I mean, I convinced the philosopher to go fetch dirt with me!  A load of fill and a load of topsoil later and we have this:

 Plus I added the edging all the way around.  And I *refused* to make it a circle.  (The philosopher has taken to calling it the front yard amoeba... I'm not sure how happy that makes me, but at least it isn't a circle!)

This past weekend, I took my grandma's hostas (which you can see stuffed into the big pots in the picture above) and divided them, putting some in the new bed right by the wall and leaving one in each of the pots.  (I also have lots of babies that I'm hoping to keep alive long enough to deliver to their new homes!)  

I also had a bunch of heucheras (coral bells) that I transplanted, creating a pretty shade bed!

 Our next step is to lay down landscape fabric over the rest of the amoeba's interior (now look - I'm doing it too!) and add a layer of mulch.  That will tidy up the roots, and if I can talk the philosopher into it, I want to add a bench for a nice peaceful shady spot!

This fall, when it's time to plant grass, we're going to go get another load of topsoil, a bag of Atlanta Blend fescue mix, and some erosion mats.  Then we'll see, this time next year, if our hard labors pay off!

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