I have been dying to step up our curb appeal since we bought our house back in 2014. The sun faded red shutters drive me cray cray every time I drive up our street. I swore that would be one of the first things to be done when we moved in…two years ago. Here’s the thing, sometimes I think things in my head, don’t say them out loud, then later talk about them to Shaun, and he’s all like,
“Woah, woah, what are you talking about?”
And I’m like, “Ya, you know, how we decided we were going to paint the brick on the house…and the shutters…and redo the front garden, and beef up the posts, and…??”
And then he’s like, “No, we didn’t talk about that. We are definitely not painting the brick ever, and I don’t think any of those other things are priority until we get some major things inside done.”
Then I’m all, “Pffft, whatevs.”
Okay, not an entirely accurate depiction of how things go down around here, close enough. The whole painting the brick argument is a story for another day but I think I almost have him whittled down. I just have to let him buy a race car. That’s not even a joke…I’m still working on it. The shutters will definitely be painted before many other things around here get done. I’m hoping this summer, but if not, next summer for sure. Because I’m on maternity leave right now, money and time are both things we do not have a lot of. Neither one of us like to be at a complete standstill with the house though, so we try to think of things we can do that are fairly cost effective, but don’t require a tonne of work. Of course, with any renovation, things usually cost more and take a lot more effort than you originally anticipate…which brings me to our front garden.
Here’s what the front garden looked like on the day we moved in.
And here it is now. Ta-da! Don’t you just love before and afters? Even though, this technically still isn’t the entire after for the front of the house, the garden is officially complete. Well, except for the watering and the weeding and the trimming and shaping, and the re-mulching, and the waiting for the plants to grow, and the hoping they don’t all die…but you know what I mean.
So, here’s what we did:
Step 1: Chainsaw those mo-fo’s down. I’m always a bit scared when Shaun has a chainsaw in his hands. Not because I think he might go all Texas Chainsaw Massacre on me or anything, he just reallllly likes his chainshaw (like serious man-love) and he might just chop down every single tree he sees. So, I supervise. 🙂
Step 2: Get an unsuspecting bystander to help you work. Brad is Shaun’s brother and business partner, and best friend. Seriously, they spend way more time together than any other two humans I know, and they still love each other so much, it’s crazy and awesome. I thought I should introduce Brad, because he often gets suckered in to helping out with our projects (it works both ways, so don’t feel bad for Brad). Everyone say hi to Brad. Hiiii Brad!!
Step 3: Pull out the stumps. Shaun had a little helper this day…isn’t she cute? We were a little worried about this step. There were some pretty big stumps and weren’t sure what the roots would be like. We also have our gas meter stuck right on the front of the house by one of the stumps (stupid place for it if you ask me, but nobody asked me, so that’s where it is), so we had to make sure we wouldn’t disturb any gas lines by pulling the roots out. Shaun dug around the stumps as much as he could, then tied on to them with the truck. They actually came out pretty easily! Things going easily doesn’t happen too often around here, so yay for that!
Step 4: Fill in the bed with triple mix. Triple mix is a combination of top soil, compost and peat moss and is great for gardens. I know right now it seems like Shaun has done everything and I have done nothing, but we actually used 3 truck loads (or 3 yards) of triple mix. Shaun shoveled this one out and I did the other two (currently patting myself on the back). It was a great little workout, and Mickey loved digging in the dirt! Win, win, win!
Step 5: Spread it, rake it, spread it, rake it, water it. Because we put so much new soil in the garden I decided to give it a good watering to allow it to settle before planting. It’s kind of crazy how much work went into making it look like nothing.
Step 6: Buy plants and decide on a layout. This was one of the hardest parts. I had my mom help me figure out what would work best. It’s important to consider how big the plant will become, when or if it blooms, what kind of sun or shade it needs, and of course general aesthetics of the plants.
Step 7: Plant those little guys and water, water, water! I am certainly no gardening expert, so I hope I chose wisely with my plants. I love a pretty simple looking garden. Lots of different greens, symmetry and maybe a repeating pattern. Sure, that’ll work! I also tried to be budget friendly by picking plants that wouldn’t completely break the bank.
Step 8: Mulchy mulch mulch. Don’t go skimpy on the mulch. First of all, it looks great! But even more important, it helps to retain the soil’s moisture and keep weeds at bay.
That’s it! Only 8 simple steps! Haha. Honestly, in terms of difficulty level, I would say it didn’t take too much brain power, but it certainly took time and muscle and a bit of money. I love gardening though, especially at the beginning of the season. It’s just so exciting to see greenery after a long winter that it doesn’t even really feel like hard work. I love digging in the dirt and watching the fruits of my labor grow more and more each year. I just imagine us looking at this garden years from now, overflowing (but hopefully not overgrowing) with beautiful plants, and even if we don’t live here, saying, ‘I remember when I planted that garden, and look at it now’. Patience though, patience. With time, and love, and a bit of luck, it will grow.