I want to start with a note to express my deepest concern for everyone affected by the events yesterday at the Boston Marathon. Many of you know I am originally a New Englander and part of my heart will always reside there. I had a dear friend run in the marathon who, thankfully, finished before the explosions happened. And I’m incredibly grateful that two of my cousins who were at the event are safe and sound … and proud to say one was able to stay and provide help to the injured. That sports medicine degree is already coming in handy, Taylor.
But, to refocus here, I really need to brag on my man for just a minute. Usually I’m more about mocking him, that’s no secret. But for anyone who knows us in real life there are a few things that are for sure.
He is the calm to my crazy.
He is the reason to my insanity. That’s not the reason for.
He has the ability to take random thoughts I spew out in a matter-of-fact way and decipher reality from illusion.
I can’t even do that … and it’s my own illusion.
He really is, just down right, no holds barred, the coolest kid I know.
And I don’t mean cool in a Justin Beiber, shaggy hair and baggy jeans sort of way.
I mean cool as in everyone who knows him loves him.
Cool as in he doesn’t even know he’s cool.
Like he’s just going about life like it’s his job and being irresistibly charming, incredibly level-headed and laid back to a fault is just an innocent by-product.
He’s not just the sh!t. He’s my shi!t.
And he works harder than anyone I know. Or have ever known. Or could ever imagine to know.
He’s the bomb diggity. The kit and caboodle. The whole fandango.
And after a long week of his real job, he comes home to me, and creates a little yardscape.
But if you want to know the real deal … it’s him.
It’s as simple as that. And he made what I said wasn’t even really a yard, into the beginnings of a real, legitimate yardscape.
He actually pulled out palms and plants and things I would call weeds that were already in our yard and reorganized, rearranged and replanted them in a way that made sense, and looks awesome, and makes me swoon at him.
And he let me buy a fruit tree that has 5 different fruits on it!
Seriously!?!? And it’s called a Fruit Cocktail tree.
We like fruit.
We like cocktails.
The total we’ve spent on everything breaks down like this:
*fruit cocktail tree – $250
*alexander palm tree – $50
*dwarf fan palm tree – $35
*lilies – 4 x $4
*cuban oregano plant – $2
*orchids – 3 x $3.50
*small, filler flowers – $3.50
*1 yard organic mulch – $70
Total = $428 (plus tax)
And the total amount of times I swooned at my man making a yardscape while he worked hard to give me what I want … I’ll never tell. :)
And here are a few things we learned along the way:
1. We saved a bunch of money by using what we already had. From one palm tree that, with a trimming, ended up working in it’s spot to two transplanted trees we were able to replant to fill a few key spots without spending any money. And random rocks that we’ve cleared up from throughout the yard look right at home surrounding a couple of the trees. (And planting orchids and other short greenery and flowers (cuban oregano also smells awesome!) in and around the rocks give it all an organic look.)
2. Moving boxes make a great ground cover / weed preventor under the mulch. I just laid them all through the yard after we had all the plantings in and I had the dirt raked essentially level and then wet them down so soften them a bit and then layered the mulch directly over them.
3. We really ended up liking the look of layered textures. The whole space is only about 10 feet by 15 feet and we needed to keep a good chunk of it open as a beautified dog potty. But having the entire front space empty looked bare, but any sort of tree just broke up the view and made the yard seem even smaller. We ended up with a large piece of driftwood in front, with a stack of rocks nearby, keeping the view open to the flowing palms and more stacked rocks behind. Add in a unique concrete piece we have and a bucket with a few pretty flowers and we have a short view that draws the eye in without being too full for the small space.
4. Planting trees and plants at a variety of heights creates an appealing view to the eye and adds dimension vertically when you’re lacking the horizontal space to work with.
5. Lining a wall or other hardscape with row of plants or flowers, like a lily, really soften the area and help the hardscape to disappear into the background of your yard.
Now, we’re not considering this space done. Here’s what we’ll be looking to accomplish down the line:
*update the picket fencing around the whole yard
*change out the lattice gate to the back of the shed
*add a bird feeder, maybe on a tall pole
*paint the shed … did you see a couple of the greys we’re considering?
*hang a large, rectangular mirror on the shed wall – I am in LOVE with this idea, it’s another one of Joel’s and we have just the right mirror, just need to get it hung
*create a more refined outdoor kitchen area in the back corner. We’re thinking new grill, built-in banquette seating around a table, counter with cabinets underneath and building up the concrete wall to the counter height.
*update the deck
*create some sort of water feature
Here’s what that corner and part of the deck look like now.
We definitely weren’t thinking we would be starting on the outside of the house. But this little electric upgrade going on inside is taking for. ev. er. And we’ve really enjoyed creating a little outdoor retreat that we know we will use a lot as the house gets taken all out-of-order.
And to Joel, if you are to ever stumble upon this post … thanks man … if you ask, you know my answer … “I think you’re OK”.
Update: We have started the whole house renovation inside. You can see how to remove a drop ceiling, how to paint over cracked paint, the DIY lesson we learned the hard way and our first finished wall (board and batten baby!).
And what about you guys? Updated any small garden spaces lately? Do you work in layers of textures and heights? Do you prefer a nice grassy yard? I would really love a little grassy yard, it’s just not practical here. Oh well. :)