Last Weekend's Project: Landscaping

Last weekend I had a burst of energy and decided I would start landscaping in the front of our house.  Anthony had so much reading to do that he really couldn't help but I decided to go ahead anyway, taking what I've learned from watching him landscape, and revamp some of the beds myself.  Unfortunately, when I was uploading the 'after' pictures I took to show y'all the huge transformation, I accidentally saved them over the 'before' pictures I took.  The transformation was so incredible and I'm so sad I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing but I'll try to describe the scene as it was before my landscaping adventure...and use some old pictures that'll help set the stage.
First of all, down here in the south the popular thing to mulch with is pine straw rather than bark chips or other mulching materials.  For most people, pine trees stand tall in their yards so 'recycling' the pine straw that falls from them is easy and free!  In our case, our good friends have over 8 of them growing in their yard which makes for an abundance of straw.  So, because they love us so much they let me rake their yard Saturday morning.  :)  After getting the 7 1/2 bags home, I started on the landscape bed in front of the brick on our house.  

Here's an older picture showing what it looked like before:
     It's a little hard to see the weeds, leaves, and dirt that made up the bed (directly below the brick and two windows) in this picture but hopefully you get the point.  It was hideous and boring.  The first thing I did was dig out all of the weeds.  Then I dug up and out all of the brick edging.  We're more for no edging, just a clean line between the grass and mulch.  Of course, I had pictures to show the entire process from start to finish but they're in recycle bin heaven.  :(  After I got all of the brick edging out, I took a small, square edged shovel and dug a small trench around the perimeter of the bed so that the mulch would stay in the bed and not wander into the grass.  The extra dirt was thrown on the bed to make a sort of slope away from the house...this keeps water from draining towards your house and foundation.  Taking a break from his studies, Anthony helped me spread the pine straw over the bed and, wallah, we were done...for now.  Plants are next on the agenda but won't be in for another month or so.

Here's our finished, but unplanted bed:
   If we have time, we'd like to add some more 'curves' to the edge but already it looks much, much, much better. 

Now we move to the bed in front of the porch.  While I did this bed, Anthony kept me company by sitting on the porch.  I kept wondering what our neighbors thought...yes, he looked like a slave driver, chilling out while his wife did all the hard work.  :)  Little did they know I was born and raised a farm girl...I might not look it but dynamite comes in small packages you know.  So anyways, I did the same thing to this bed only weeding was much worse.  Here's a picture of what it looked like before (only this picture is older and the weeds had grown in really thick and up to my knees):

So after some sweating and shoveling, here's the new, clean, pretty bed:

Just like the other bed, we still have to get some plants in there.  We're also going to extend this bed around the side of the house and add a tree on the corner so keep in touch.

I'm so bummed all of my 'landscaping tutorial' pictures were deleted but if you have any questions, want landscaping ideas, or want to know how to build a basic landscape bed like ours, please email us and we'll share all we know.  Also, stay tuned for the planting and minor modifications to our beds (and for the story on our FREE wicker furniture).  See you next time! 

P.S.  A BIG thank you to the incredible Johnson family without who's pine straw and love, this post would not have been possible!  :) 


  1. Awesome, Sheena....can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks....
    Aunt Sue

  2. Looks great! I LOVE your house!!! It's just like one out of a magazine!