an update on my mom’s visit and the holiday weekend.
My mom’s visit was fantastic. She loves yard work….adores it. Personally, I don’t share quite the same level of enthusiasm, but I do enjoy it. Our first project – extending the patio with a 4′ by 5′ pad made of concrete pavers so that I could get my grill off of the patio (and more specifically, so that it was no longer sitting directly in front of my living room window). We dug out the grass first. Not as easy as it sounds like it should be…with the drought over the past several years, the grass and weeds that did get established had some serious root systems to contend with! Once that was done the smoothing and leveling began one paver at a time. It took 2 days to get the pad completed (really only about a day total – 4 hours each day with a total of 12 eighteen inch pavers). I have one that settled more than the rest with all the rain we’ve had, so as soon as the weather gets a little nicer I will pull it up and put some more sand under it to bring it back up to the same level as the rest. With the grill moved, I also relocated the patio furniture so that now there is plenty of room for folks to sit outside and still have room to walk around the patio without ending up in the grass.
Next project – planting beds and bird feeders! A trip to Lowe’s got us many bags of lava rock to finish the front bed, a concrete bird bath, bird seed, and the thought that we should later bite the bullet and go get pine needles to create the rest of the planting areas. Since it was sweltering that day, we did the easy stuff first – put up bird feeders and got the bath put out and leveled (smart mom – we used left over sand from leveling the pavers to make a little spot to put the bath that could be adjusted to keep it upright). We then dumped and spread the bags of rock and realized we were going to need more. But, before that, we decided to tackle the edging that I had purchased last year. The stuff is cool – it is the inexpensive black PVC stuff, but instead of the kind that you have to dig a trench to install, this has tabs along it that you just pound stakes through as needed. SO much easier to get in straight and even. Exactly two lengths of it completed the front bed! A little digging was needed here and there to get the ground under the edge level, but all in all, it was as easy as advertised! Someday I will replace it with larger stones to edge all of the beds, but for now this helps keep the rock where it belongs and give the bed a nice finished look.
Off to get pine needles. I learned that my truck holds exactly 12 bales (we ended up needing 14 – good thing the materials place is close to the house!). We bedded along the entire garage end of the house and also extended a couple areas around trees and finished around the holly bushes since the lawn guys never did. It looks amazing! While we were outside, a random neighbor from up the road stopped by to offer us two azaleas that she didn’t want and was going to throw away…cool! So we planted those too. When we went back to Lowe’s for the remaining red rock, we also ended up getting a couple bags of grass seed and some starter fertilizer/mulch to throw down on the bare areas in the front yards and one more bird feeder – I needed a new mesh one for the thistle seed.
Last but not least for the week – we installed the solar lights that I have had since I moved out here and also the copper tiki torches that I had purchased last year. The lights went in all along the house where we made the beds and also out under the trees and shrubs in the side and back yards. They don’t give off a ton of light (they have amber LEDs in them) but they do make for nice delineation of the yard at night and offer enough light to see the shrubs and trees that they are near. The torches went around the patio and will be filled with citronella oil to help keep the flying, biting, creepy-crawlies away while we are outside.
This weekend it ended up raining about half the weekend (Sunday and Monday and more today), which was OK. I got a little housework done, watched the entire first season of Dollhouse, and mostly just vegged out with the dogs. The best part was that I haven’t had to water the front lawns where we seeded. The rest of the established grass also seems to be very happy with the warmer weather and the water. It is already looking like it needs another trim and will be very ready by Thursday when the guys come.