Landscaping project in detail.
In yesterday’s blog I talked about some of the reasons for my extended absence from JSF this month. As I mentioned yesterday, one of the bigger projects I’ve been working on is a complete redesign of our landscaping. It seems like whenever I bring up my various landscaping projects (and that includes my herb, vegetable and pepper garden, the pond and so forth) many of you are interested in the details. Today I’ll provide a little more information about what I actually did over the past three weeks.
I started with the backyard. As many of you know from this blog, awhile back we completely nuked the entire landscape . This is what our pond looked like in its prime, so you can imagine how difficult it was for me to start fresh:
We had no choice but to do this, thanks to a large number of invasive plants that the original landscape designer put in. Don’t get me started on that. Those invasive plants literally took over the entire landscape, and were impossible to control. After I took those sad photographs back in February, I had to rototill the ground a total of 5 times and treat the weeds and invasives with a product I hate to use unless absolutely necessary, Round Up.
By the way, this is the rototiller I used, and it’s a beast! Worth it’s weight in gold if you have some earth to turn.
Not only were some of the invasives hard to kill, the weeds kept coming back up over and over again.
So during the first week I pulled the two dead foxtail palms (winter got ’em, along with one other one), weeded everything by hand, turned the earth with the rototiller one more time, planted and then mulched with pine bark nuggets. I also gave the pond a complete overhaul, re-did the pathway and pressure washed all the large rocks and stones. I added some nice plants in hanging baskets on shepherd hooks, trimmed up the plants, trees and bushes and basically got everything looking fresh and new. We still are going to add a few select plants to the landscape, but we’re going to be very restrained with our choices. Lisa and I are digging the cleaner look a lot. I’ll get some pictures once we get the final few plants in. This part of the project took a solid week.
The front yard was a huge undertaking. The weeds were out of control (only a couple months of neglect, which I mentioned in yesterday’s blog was all it took), and many plants needed to be removed. This part of the project took two full weeks of hot, hard work.
Keep in mind that I’d go out and ride 40-50 miles (or more), then come home and go straight to work in the yard every single day. After several weeks of this, the heat and humidity combined with the physical workload really started to take their toll on me. I was in machine mode, though, so there were no thoughts of a break. 🙂
A JSF member asked about some of the plant choices, and so I’ll repost that information here.
I kept most of my specimen plants and trees, all of which are doing fine: 2 mature queen palms have not contracted Fusarium and are thriving (for now), 3 large crepe myrtles, 3 big oleander trees, 2 mature sago palms, a large magnolia tree, 4 canary island date palms, 2 beautiful pindo palms, a large podocarpus, 2 low-dense topiaries, a large orchid tree, a Japanese magnolia tree, a bottlebrush, an orange tree, 2 big live oaks and a foxtail palm.
I actually had 4 foxtail palms, but lost 3 of them this past winter. They don’t do well in the cold, but the one that survived is doing very well and may be okay long-term due to its somewhat protected location.
I pulled a ton of smaller plants that either require a lot of maintenance, are ugly (IMO) or tend to die/get hurt in sub-freezing temperatures.
Some of the supporting plants, shrubs and flowers that remain or were added include double knockout roses, firecracker plants, Ilex schillings, firepower plants, Asiatic jasmine, iris, bougainvillea, African bulbine, a camellia, Texas star ligustrum, dozens of azalea, blue daze, amaryllis and some viburnum (I’m not a fan of viburnum, and many were pulled, but I left the hedges around the outside air conditioner units and one on the back yard). We also always buy lots of annuals, this year we’ve got some nice sun impatiens out there.
I probably missed a few, but that’s a nice sampling of the stuff that made the cut. I didn’t include the pond/water plants.
If that sounds like a lot, you should have seen what I had going before!
We still plan to add a few more plants and trees. We’d like to add a big flowering tree (like an eastern redbud) to the north side of the house, and a few other plants and roses.
All told I spread almost 20 yards of mulch, pulled more than a dozen 45-gallon bags of weeds, dug up a couple dead trees, trimmed more than 100 plants, trees and bushes, pulled dozens of plants and bushes and planted new items. I did more than that, but that’s the major stuff.
I’ll leave you with this morning’s bulky item trash pickup. Keep in mind that I’ve had piles about this size out every Tuesday for the past month and you’ll have an idea of the scope of this project. I need a vacation! 🙂