How’s everyone doing? I don’t know about you, but we have had SO. MUCH. RAIN. So much! And normally I’d be all, “Hooray! Water the plants! Let the foliage grow!” But it’s been so wet it’s actually begin to drown a lot of the plants in the neighborhood. All the beautiful, old peonies in people’s yards are dying and it breaks my peony-loving heart.
But with the rain comes something kind of nice, loose soil. And loose soil is pretty awesome for something that’s been looming over our heads for a while. Let me introduce to you… our curb appeal.
I know. Here’s the thing. Well, here’s a couple of things.
#1 This year, the Minnesota winter was brutal. Brutal! This die-hard Minnesota fan was all… let’s live somewhere else. Did you know we had over 50 days of sub-zero temps this year?? It felt like it would never end. It did end, however, but took its tole on a lot of greenery. In our yard, it struck our hedges really hard, killing most of the bushes. After talking to a couple of greenhouses, we decided there was no salvaging them (which I was fine with because, if I’m being honest, hedges are not my thing).
#2 Hedges are not my thing. I don’t like the way they blocked the house. I’m all for a little separation from the street, but these hedges were well-established, grand-daddy hedges. Big, beefy, and uninviting. I knew when we moved in that I wanted them gone, I just didn’t think it was going to be this summer.
So we took advantage of a break in the rain to do this:
Oh yeah! It’s landscaping day!
We used a really, sophisticated, well-thought out technique to accomplish this goal.
Step one: Find a large chain
Step two: Attach one end of chain to base of dead hedges
Step three: Attach other end to the hitch of an SUV
Step four: Rev the engine of said SUV (that’s more for effect than anything else) and pull!
At first it was like, “No! I’m too young!”
Put we were all, “Pull! Pull!”
And then it was like, “Fine. I’m actually kind of tired.”
By the way, if you’re wondering what I was doing during this whole process… I was taking pictures. Obviously. Also, I was being the overseer of the whole project. You know, telling people what to do and stuff. Because I was being “helpful”. Someone has to supervise!
Also, I don’t do spiky, awkward, evergreen-bush removal. I just don’t.
Sort of an unintentional effect of doing it this way, was that it pulled the wall out with it. Our original intention was to dig out each bush individually. But that soon gave way to the idea that the hedges could be pulled out with a truck and chain. Apparently this was the more manly option, hands were shaken and the process was begun.
Also, are you staring at those Adirondack chairs and wishing you had some? Yeah, me too.
Anyway, it wasn’t long before we were looking at an entire row of missing hedges!
The next step was to pile everything into the trailer and haul the debris and dead hedges to the city collection yard. So piled-in they went, along with a lot (read: A LOT!) of dirt, and a lot of wood logs from the wall that came down. And then they were gone! Hasta la vista!
Next, it was decision-making time. We settled on two different options. The first, would be to simply slop the area down to the sidewalk and seed/lay sod on the slope. The other option was to build a retaining wall back up and plant some flowers/perennials along the wall (partially because it’s pretty and partially to help keep little children far enough away from the edge that they don’t fall.
After careful consideration, we went with the first option, to slope the dirt down towards the sidewalk. So step one was to remove all the garden edgers that had line the hedge, and been place on either side of the yard to “divide” the yard from the neighbors. I had checked with both parties to make sure the edgers on either side of our lawn were, in fact, ours. Once I got the go ahead, up they came!
Those suckers were heavy. I tell you what, they don’t make things like they used to. I bet those edgers will survive the next world disaster like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.
So I pulled each one up and laid them by our house.
And because I’m all about salvaging what you can, I “Listed” the edgers with “Craig” and they were gone next day. Fastest $15 I ever made! That’ll buy three coffee drinks! (Did you hear how they’re raising prices??)
So the next step was appropriately smoothing, compacting and shaping the slope of the yard. Tim pretty much rocked it.
And now we’re looking like this! So much better! The best part is, now when we’re sitting on the step, we can see the girls playing on the sidewalk. It also opens up the site-line for us as they run back and forth to their friends’ houses. I can be sipping my tea, while watching them ride up and down the sidewalk on their bikes. It glorious!
Time to go get some sod!
In total this project cost time, and dinner and beers for the neighbors that helped out, but it was so worth it. I can’t wait to start planting!
What did you guys do this weekend? If you’re in some of the area that’s been flooding (like along the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers) please know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time!
Did you see this guy? Clearing he’s taking the flooding in stride.