5.02.2011

Mulch Appreciated

After four weekends of bad weather, cold temps, and tornadoes, we finally had a perfect weekend to get some much (or mulch) needed yard work started.

Early Saturday morning, my brother came over with his truck and he and the hubs went to our local mulchery (I think I made that word up) and loaded up with 2 cubic yards of lovely brown mulch.
It was a little more than $50 for a loaded truck-bed full and that seemed like a good deal. The last time we mulched we were in our previous house and we went the way of "buying bags and bags from Lowe's" and hated it. It was much better this time and we had the perfect tools to make the job feel like less of a struggle. More on that in a minute.

The hardest part of the day was for the boys - unloading the truck. I have no pictures of this event because I was trying to be helpful, but see if you can visualize. We laid out a large blue tarp on our driveway and the boys proceeded to shovel all the mulch from truck to tarp. It took about 15 minutes or so. I hopped into the truck bed with my trusty yellow broom and swept out what was left after the shoveling. It was fun.

After the great unload, I made a run to Lowe's to get some gloves, a pitchfork and a bow rake.

These are the 2 tools you need to make your mulching experience enjoyable and easy! We decided that using a pitchfork instead of a shovel was like using a spoon rather than a fork to eat yogurt. The pitchfork goes right into the mulch and picks up tons whereas using that shovel only makes it harder on you and you wear yourself out quickly.

Additionally, the rake saved my back. Seth would pitch the mulch into the wheelbarrow, then bring it to me and dump it, and I used the rake to spread it out. SO MU(L)CH easier. We agreed that when you have the right tools for any job, it makes a world of difference. It only took us a couple of hours to put mulch out in the front and down the side of the driveway.

We did have some major weeding to do before we put down the mulch. We had long neglected our landscaping since we uprooted our crape myrtles last summer.

Here's what we started with:

Here's the driveway about half-way through.
And here we are after:

Please ignore our clumpy, spotty grass. We have two types of grass in our yard and will eventually till it all up and start fresh, but I don't think that's in the cards for this year.

There was barely enough mulch to cover the area around our butterfly bush in the backyard, but we managed to spread it thin enough to at least make it look nice:

We planted this guy last fall and were semi-afraid we'd murdered it, but he came back nice and purty a month or so ago and I'm just waiting for his lovely purple cones to blossom! We're going to get more mulch to thicken his bed up and also to spread along the entire right side of our house. (Side note, I'd seriously never even been on the right side of our house until Saturday. Weird, right?) We thought 2 cubic yards would be a ton, but I think we could've used one or two more!

Another long overdue (but not really our problem) project we tackled was thinning out the mess around the bottom of a crape myrtle tree that's technically on our neighbor's property but blocks our view of the street when pulling out of our driveway. Our neighbor's house is actually some sort of a convalescent home and the folks living there don't do any yard work. They have someone that comes by on occasion to cut the grass, but that's about it. The builder/seller of our home told us they wouldn't mind us doing some pruning and in fact they sort of welcomed it.

Again, here's what we started with:
This last shot is me standing in the driveway shooting parallel to the street. All the crud at the bottom totally blocked our view when pulling out into the street. Luckily, we live on a quiet street and it's usually not a problem, but I always worried about people walking and dogs - not as easy to see behind this junk as a car!

We grabbed all the tools we had. Some big ole limb cutters, the FatMax saw, the weed eater and a rake and had at it.
(Pardon my blue picture, I didn't set the white balance and all my pictures came out blue.
This one I forgot to edit. Get over it.)

Here's the after:
Again, this last shot is me standing at the same point parallel to the street as I referenced above. Kind of a big difference, don't you think?

We found all kinds of craziness while cleaning up this area. It looks like the tree has put off a bunch of shoots and most of what we cut away were crape myrtle shoots that were just a pain and not pretty. We even found some lovely monkey grass in there which I insisted we keep. There was even a strawberry in the mix!
I wanted to save the strawberry, but I think the weed eater got him. I'm sure it made for a lovely snack for one of the birds that was hopping all through the grass on Saturday!

Last but not least, we sawed down this dead tree on our neighbor's property. It's clearly dead so we figured it wasn't ours, but who would want a dead tree in their yard?
He smelled good after we cut him, though!

There was one area we didn't get to that's our next small project.
This area is right at the end of our fence and right on the edge of the driveway and we think is technically ours. We wanted to mulch around it but ran out before we could get to it. The main tree in that clump is a pecan tree and it litters its goods all over our driveway in the fall. There's also some lovely irises there and although you can't really see it, they have some pretty purple flowers on them right now. We really need to rake that area out and give it some fresh mulch.

Also on our to-do list for the yard:
  • Mulch the right side of the house (I also want to plant lots of hostas down that side, too.
  • Have stump grinders come in and rid us of the stump left over from last year's great tree murder.
  • Plant plants! We've done nothing but take out. It's time to put in!

3 comments:

  1. that mulch made a HUGE difference. great decision.

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  2. Looks really great!! we ordered 10 yards last year and still did not have enough! I was hurting for days! I love new plants..hopefully you get to plant some soon!

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  3. So nice, S&K:):)
    Love to see S working in the yard. You know he didn't get inspired by watching his dad:(!!

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