Sunday, March 20, 2011

Inspiration Sunday - Landscaping

Last year at this time, my husband and I embarked on a landscaping adventure. We decided that we wanted to have a rock path (replacing all the grass) from the back to the front of our house. And we decided we wanted to do it ourselves. We started digging out our grass. We dug out about 55-60 feet by about 3 1/2 feet and about 4 inches deep. Talk about exercise! We then had crushed rock and 3/4" limestone delivered. We lay down landscape cloth and then the crushed rock. We tamped down the crushed rock and then lay down the 3/4" limestone. What a difference the rock has made. We love it!

We knew we couldn't just stop at laying down the rock. We decided that we wanted to transform our backyard into a little haven not only for us, but for our kids. The entire backyard was simply just grass.

I was at Costco one day and saw a playhouse they had for sale. It was cute, but not practical because even though it would be fine for Tobias for a few years, Mateo would most likely have outgrown it by the next year. So I did some research on different playhouses and finally found one that I loved. It was a playhouse made entirely out of cedar, with cedar shingles as a roof and a porch in the front complete with lattice enclosing it. When I went inside the playhouse that was on display, I could stand up in it with lots of room to spare. We decided that this is the playhouse that we wanted for the kids. When they outgrow it, we could turn it into a tool shed which made it even more practical.

Although this playhouse came with a floor, we didn't want it sitting on the grass, so with my brother-in-law's help, we built a frame and filled it with crushed rock so that the playhouse could sit on top of the crushed rock. It was a large enough frame that to the left side of the playhouse there was an open area that we filled with 3/4" limestone so that the kids had a play area where they could fill their dump trucks with rocks.

I drew out a design of how I wanted the backyard to look like. Where I wanted the playhouse situated, how much grass I wanted to keep and how much garden space I wanted. Our backyard is rectangular in shape and I know that I wanted some curvature in it so it wouldn't look too boxy (is boxy a word?). I also wanted to keep enough grass that the kids could play soccer and have enough space to run around in.

With design in mind, I started digging out the grass. Once I was happy with the shape and an idea of what I wanted to plant and where, the fun started with me planting some small shrubs, trees, and plants. My favorites are the magnolia tree and japanese maples I got from Home Depot and an topiary type tree I bought from Costco. My parents gave me a couple of peony plants from their garden to transplant. I am hoping that they will fair well, as they were in shock last year with the transplant.

With everything planted and in place I wanted to have a distinct border between the garden and the grass, so I decided to get some cement blocks from Home Depot. I had the choice of either placing them horizonal - or vertical |. Although it would have been less expensive to place them horizontal, since it would require less blocks, I didn't feel it would look as good as vertical. So vertical it was. Having never "put" blocks down before, I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants and doing it like I thought it was done. I think it turned out really nice and it sure made a difference in the landscape, not to mention, it is much easier mowing the grass. The last step was to put mulch down. I decided on a brown-red tone mulch. What a difference mulch makes! I love the look of freshly put down mulch!

We are so satisifed with our backyard and are so happy that we did it all by ourselves. Although, it was hard work, it was so truly satisfying knowing that this little haven was the fruit of our own labor.

Wow, I didn't mean to write a novel. Thanks for sticking with me this long! :)

Here is some photos of some inspiring landscaping.






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