We did it! We are officially #strongerthantheyard. We took our front yard from an overgrown jungle to a beautiful place where we can actually walk, talk to the neighbors, have future kids play and actually see the neighborhood.
Here is the best picture I have of where we started.
Getting the yard ready for laying sod, which was the ultimate goal, was a long process. We had to move all of the rocks. And the shepherd hook plant hangers, the stone benches, two arches, a cast iron bird bath and countless lawn gnome type ornaments. And when we got a few layers deeper, we found large Christmas light bulbs, a flip flop, a CD case, a lacrosse ball and an invisible fence.
And then we had 4 massive trees taken down. I didn’t get a great “before” picture, because we didn’t know exactly when the company would come take them down. So one day we had quite the surprise waiting for us when we got home from work. All of our neighbors said they almost drove by their own homes because they had come to use our yard as their marker.
Fear not, liberal, hippie friends (yes, I have those). Taking down the trees was a necessary evil. It was for the best and every other plant received a better home elsewhere in our yard. Here is the house mid-plant-migration. The pile of wood chips on the bottom left reminds me of Phoebe on Friends asking why the “Chipper” at the Christmas tree lot isn’t as happy as it sounds.
After we had moved every. single. plant in our front yard, we were still left with the “hedge.” I use this term loosely. It could be the stunt double for the forest of thorn bushes Malificent creates in Sleeping Beauty.
It was such an eye sore.
Scott went to town on it. While I did something around the yard. My efforts were less impressive than his, I’m realizing.
Ah, all cleared out.
We were finally ready to start leveling! And I realized we hadn’t moved all of the plants. Flowers just continued to spring up out of nowhere. I did my best to salvage them.
I will say one thing for the previous homeowners. They took excellent care of their plants. Everything grew back after the winter and everything was very healthy. Twice the size it should be. But healthy.
Once we had actually cleared the yard (it was a many layered process) we rented a rototiller and borrowed some metal rakes and set about leveling. It was around this time that I did not think that I was going to make it. Pure manual labor – moving dirt around – was what was going to finally break me mentally.
It didn’t help that it was the first HOT beach weather weekend. It did not help that friends on their way to the beach stopped by under the guise of saying hello.
It did not help that we kept finding THESE. Gosh darn those roots.
And Scott kept getting distracted by the machines and the cutting of the massive roots with an ax (these were actually very important jobs I wasn’t able to do. I realize this. I was bitter anyways). Which left the actual moving around of dirt solely on my plate. Uuuuuggghhhh I hated life.
But then my father-in-law started to help rake dirt (after he and my mother-in-law power washed our house – amazing!).
And then Scott started to help rake dirt.
And soon enough, the yard was free of plants and it was flat. We kept that pretty, little magnolia. It makes me feel like I’m in the South whenever I say magnolia.
And then this past weekend, the sod arrived!
I seriously underestimated the weight of this stuff. I couldn’t help nearly as much as I thought I would.
Luckily, we had help.
And 492304 grueling, hot hours later, we had this!!
And now for some stats and before and after shots. Because yes, I am that proud of this.
The side yard.
The front yard:
And some fun numbers:
- Scott moved 500 rocks
- Scott moved 30 stone pavers
- We moved over 30 fully grown plants. This doesn’t include the countless flowers.
- We had four trees professionally removed. They were a combined 126 feet tall.
- We removed six overgrown hedge evergreens on our own.
- We talked to at least 10 neighbors we hadn’t met yet throughout the process. They all approve greatly.
- We leveled 1500 square feet of yard.
- We laid 1900 square feet of sod.
It’s still looking great! And now we are a slave to watering. Let me tell you, I interact with sprinklers the exact opposite of the way I did as a child. Now I’m running to avoid them! It’s worth it. Now we have to focus on the inside. Scary thought!