Saturday, November 10, 2012

Yard Crashers

Cameron & I definitely lack green thumbs, and our yard shows it.  This is what the yard looked like when we moved in:

A few bushes & azaleas in the front and nothing in the back. 

Our first spring in the house, we got the itch to do some yardwork.  Because that's what homeowners do, right?  We tore down the decrepit swing, and laid out some beds with brick edgers.  We planted a few plants and hoped for the best.

After we covered the deck, I started to spend more time in the backyard and yearned for a beautiful yard.  It's a lot to wish for given that we have 2 (now 3) rambunctious dogs and 3 water oaks - not a good combination!  This summer, I had had enough.  I called in the big guns - MOM.  My mother comes from a family of gardeners.  My grandmother, mom, & aunts know their stuff.  For years they have been trying to pass off cuttings of this, and bulbs of that to me.  I was just not interested - until now.   When my mom visited this summer, we talked a lot about where the sun hit in the yard and what plants would work where.  She advised me to hold off on planting bushes until it cooled off.  Last week, Cameron & I took a couple days off work, she came down from Memphis to help and we went to work.

Here are the befores on Thursday:

And here are the afters:

In the front, we dug up the 4 white azaleas to relocate them to the backyard.    We moved the pink azaleas to the end and added boxwoods & pansies on both sides.

On the side of the house, we have an orange tree that was massively overgrown.  I didn't take a before picture, but here's everything we cut off the tree...

and here's the finished result.

We went ahead and picked the oranges, even though some still have a ways to go before they are ripe.  We ended up with over 100 of them. 

And I saved the sweet little bird's nest we found.

As for the backyard -

We kept the same layout for the beds, but filled them in with more soil.  We added loropetalums and some azalea cuttings from my mom's yard in front of the camellia - one of the few survivors from my first attempt at landscaping.

We added several Indian hawthornes & golden euonymus in the sunny area.

Then more azaleas, a few sasanquas in a beautiful bright pink color, and several cleyeras on the shady side.

Around the deck, we planted gardenias & Japanese holly.

While I wish we had a lush, beautiful lawn - baby steps.  This spring we will address sod.  But for now, I'm thrilled with the improvement.  Now, if we can just keep everything alive...


  1. I'm like you, Heather. I've never even heard of half of those plants you named in this post but now that I'm a homeowner I yearn for a lush, beautiful space for outdoor lounging and entertaining. Maybe one day. Good luck with keeping them all alive!