Over Memorial Day weekend (yes, this post is way overdue) we had the mulch delivered to be spread over the portions of the newly leveled backyard that will become landscaped beds. 12 cubic yards of mulch, to be exact:
The tarp was a cute thought, but no.
Before we spread the mulch, we treated the area that we’d be mulching with Round Up. We hadn’t been super successful at growing grass back along the fence, but there was enough that it’d come through the mulch if we didn’t go the herbicide route. We also had endless Virginia creeper vines and other weed varieties that we didn’t want coming up through the mulch.
We let it sit overnight before spreading the mulch over it. The rest of the weekend was mostly a blur of landscaping rakes and wheelbarrows.
By the end of day 1, we’d made some good progress:
On the left side, the mulch ran all the way to the side fence and stopped.
On the right side, it ran up under the conifer (red spruce?) and stopped.
On day 2, we staked out the run up the left side ending with the area under the blue spruce:
We also removed the bulk of the honeysuckle bush next to the blue spruce. This is a lousy photo of it, but it had these bizarre looking shoots going 4 or so feet above the height of the rest of the bush, plus it was big, messy, and didn’t bring much to the table. So with considerable effort with a pruning saw, out it came, less the stump that’s still there. Along that fence, we planted a pair of lilac bushes that we’d been given a while back, that hadn’t had a place to go. They’ve overwintered twice on our deck – they must be extremely hardy! Then in went the mulch.
We will eventually take the rest of that honeysuckle stump out. We’d just maxed ourselves out for the weekend.
We also planted grass seed in the back corner in the areas that previously were not grass, but will be in the future. The lawn will go a couple feet deeper to the fence than it used to (in theory).
While we were in removal mode with the honeysuckle, we also removed the “miniature” lilacs in the planter boxes on the deck:
As much as I love lilacs, these have been pretty miserable about 50 weeks a year for most of the time we’ve lived here. (The other two weeks, they’re blooming.) They were never meant to be contained in a space that small, so they were constantly growing onto the deck, into the grill, into the stairway, etc. These pictures were taken in mid-May, by which point they were already overflowing their spaces. The constant pruning effort isn’t worth the brief bloom.
So out they came!
For lack of any other amazing plans, I just planted some annuals, and will put in some herbs. The planter boxes are in really rough shape, so it’s one year at a time. At least I won’t have to keep cutting the lilac hedge back to keep it out of the grill. As a bonus, we can see over them to see our hard work on the back corners from the deck now!
Since I’m writing this post a month later, we have a little perspective now on our efforts. For one thing, I envy us our lush green May lawn. It unfortunately got a little crispy while we were away earlier this month. We’re also having some trouble with weeds coming up through the mulch. It was predictable, but it’s annoying — some are almost as big as the hollies we’ve been planting. Dealing with that is going to be an ongoing effort. I guess that’s what happens when you reclaim what was growing wild and try to domesticate it. The mulch is great though. It makes mowing the lawn so much easier, and it fills in the low areas so we don’t get big puddles like we used to. I hope that translates to fewer summer mosquitoes, and I know it translates to fewer wet, muddy dog paws coming in the house.
Next up, along with sporadic lawn projects, will be the half bathroom redo, which I think we’re finally going to start this month. Hopefully I’ll get pictures of that up more promptly!