Jul 8, 2013

Bless This Mess!

It is a mess, and that won't likely change soon.  My tidy neighbors with their manicured hedges and green lawn are lovely people, and cheerfully tolerant of the new messy gardener who has moved in next to them.  Good thing, too, because it's a long process.

Here are some "Before" photos for comparison.  But when you get to the "Afters", bear in mind that the plantings are small--mostly made up of starts from our last place and cast-offs from the clearance shelf at Lowe's--and the dirt removed from the walk way and the various beds has been strewn over the grass.  The grass will grow through, but right now it's a mud fight waiting to happen.

So here goes.  :~)
These first six are Before--the very first one being the Listing Photo from MLS.  Tidy enough, but you can't see the house for all those overgrown shrubs, and there's nothing but drought-damaged lawn anywhere else. 

If you click on the photos, they enlarge for better viewing.

I killed the grass in places where I wanted to start.  Also started taking down shrubs.

We live at a 4-way stop...people feel compelled to roll down their windows and shout encouragement!  And three or four men have actually stopped to ask me what I used to kill the grass.  Must be a guy thing.

I'd started an iris bed, but it got...bigger.  Wee Schultzie out there, guarding.

Our back yard is very exposed, so we decided to grow a "green" privacy fence.  Some was fast, in the form of morning glory vines and sunflowers.  The rest will be slow--climbing roses, pyracanthas, and other perennials.

Our messy back porch.  Plants in pots, mulch, pavers, and general chaos.  The chaos is a permanent feature.

And now, the afters.  I didn't get quite the same angles, but I tried to capture the main idea of what all has been done.
I spent a week hauling 3 cubic yards of dirt. and spreading it around the low spots on the lawn.  Also used a lot of it from flower beds to terrace the yard, using large rock as a retaining curb.  That's Phil out there, helping me with the edging and weedblock fabric before we put down the walkway rock.

And the rock is in. I colored outside the lines a little, and will have to tidy up, but we're glad to have THAT done.  Serious work for 100 degree days.

You can see the house!  The large shrubs on the end of the house will come down this fall...can't even tell there's a window behind them, can you?  Cardinals nesting there right now though, and they don't like me trimming.

It's hard to be patient, waiting for those tiny plants to do their thing.

Double swirlies on the rock curb...a Texas Mountain Laurel on the far end (small tree, will get 15 to 20 feet), and a Texas Sage on this one (6 ft shrub with lovely purple blooms).

You can see my neighbors fine green lawn past our yard...glad they're so patient.

A baby Texas Redbud, and a rose, there on the right.  I'm trying to use as much drought tolerant material as I can, given that the climate here seems to be trending toward dryer...and this is not likely to change.

This corner bed was the first to get planted.  So many people have stopped to ask me about it.

The back (side?) fence.  Got the first morning glory yesterday, and the sunflowers have fat flower buds.  The tiny pyracantha bushes will get 8 ft tall, but they've clearly got a long way to go!

The iris beds, view from our front door.  Who left that hose there???

The porch, with cannas in bloom.  They are thirsty, but we must have cannas...it's our wedding flower, and I've dragged these plants around for 16 moves in almost 20 years! 

The giant pile of mulch to the left is the third we've put there.  And we'll likely need another couple this fall.

Roses!  This one is called "Double Take" because the inside of the petals are white.  It seems happy to be here.
I hope everybody enjoyed the garden tour.
I've really enjoyed the work, but now it's time to come inside and make dolls.  :~)


  1. It is indeed tons of work but you certainly have improved your lovely home Jan. You will be reaping the rewards for years to come. Great pictures!

  2. I'm no longer there but moved to Texas at the end of May one year. The home was new, with no yard in at all so I can appreciate all you're going through. I think fixing something is harder than starting from scratch. I can tell it's going to be lovely.

  3. You have certainly been busy Jan, but the hard work will pay off............ I feel lazy!!!!

  4. You are making great progress with your landscaping makeover. Those nice windows certainly didn't need to be covered with tall shrubs. I do hope you will share more as the plants grow.

  5. You sure have been busy digging and planting. It is looking good. It will really be nice when it has a chance to grow some. the house is nice and I like where it sits. I like the big plants around your back porch too. Great work. I don't have any flower beds, just some bushes, but I love them and yours are going to be be very nice.


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