It is shady. Almost too shady. It takes a long time for grass to grow, and it needs some leveling out – right now all the good topsoil and such tends to wash out in the rain and land in the neighbor’s yard over time.
This summer, as I’ve said before, we aren’t going to a vegetable garden this year. However, we will get raised beds ready over the summer, so that next year we can plant more. I may do one bed of herbs this fall – we’ll see. Right now it’s just too damned hot for the work involved for setting up a vegetable garden.
But we did want to do a few things. A few months ago, we had the foundation of our pier-and-beam house leveled. They had to transplant some shrubs planted next to the house while they dug a giant trench, and the workers weren’t exactly treating them with love. They spent two days with their roots partially exposed (the shrubs, not the workers – that would be a completely different story), and then were kind of thrown back in place in the fill dirt next to the house.
The poor things were shocked. They didn’t survive. Tried cutting them back, but the damage was done. We now have sticks in the ground where we used to have shrubs.
So today we headed over to Home Depot to check out a few things. We had about $225 in gift cards, so we thought some beginning backyard improvement would help. We found raised bed kits and bought two – they’re 4×4. Over the summer, we’ll dig up the good grass where these beds will be placed, and transplant it. Apparently, before I arrived Hubs paid $400 for that grass (seems like a lot for something you can’t smoke or put in brownies, but OK), and he doesn’t want it to just be covered over or DIE. So we’re digging it up.
I thought I’d put a small path between the two beds, so that I can water and weed easier. Herbs in one, veggies in the other. We’ll use animal wire, too, because the fur boys have a fascination with newly turned dirt. The plan is to pull the grass up, build the beds, and then put down potting soil. Our new best friend at Home Depot used to be the master gardener at Fair Park, and he dropped some mad knowledge on us today, and gave me what he says is the best gardening soil recipe evers. We plan on using it in the beds this fall, and then covering over everything with newspaper – which will both inhibit any grass or weed growth in the beds, and will also attract earthworms, which will aerate the soil.
I’m also gonna be hitting up his container gardening class on Saturdays – it’s at 11.
But the first project is replacing those dearly departed shrubs. I wanted something flowering, or that would flower, and HD BFF recommended a few things for that particular spot, including hydrangeas. I lurve hydrangeas. They make effortless flower arrangements, and they bring back good memories of when I was a little girl, and we had one in the backyard. I’d play wedding, and cut off a bloom for an instant bouquet.
We also got some ground cover. The plan is to replaced the dead shrubs with these three hydrangea bushes, and then plant this cover in front of that, and in a couple of seasons, it should start to fill in. We’ll put in edging to control where that ground cover grows, and that’ll be the end of that project.
That’ll be the most of what we do this summer. We plan on trying to work with some solar lighting back there – it gets really dark back there at night, and if we can get it a little brighter, Hubs can mow at 10 p.m., since he’s getting a quiet push mower instead of the gasoline beast.
We may also work on having the yard leveled off. If we can get some good soil in, and level off these sloping places, drainage would improve, too.
Later, we’re going to put some pavers in this problem spot by the deck and garage. Tons of shade, poor drainage, and it becomes a mud pit when it rains. Pavers might just help with that.
But most of all, this is just a lot of fun. After several years of apartment dwelling, it’s nice to have a yard to tinker with. What are you guys planning on doing this summer with your yards? How have you combated this stupid clay soil?