Are you ready? It’s reveal time for the Backyard Back to Life series after weeks of work on the outdoor space. It’s been long enough that we actually had another kid in between the kickoff and the completion! But after the yard demolition on phase 1, the fence bump out on phase 2, it’s now time to check out the space and wrap up and use our new outdoor space!
This entire project series wouldn’t have been possible without our friends from The Home Depot Rental where you can now reserve your tool rentals online up to 30 days in advance! For phase 3, we went light on the rentals, but heavy on the loads of landscaping which is why we picked up a Lawn & Garden trailer and trusty wheelbarrow again. If I needed additional landscaping equipment like shovels and rakes, my local Home Depot had me covered there too!
A Long Time Ago… (Like Two Months Ago)
In a backyard far, far away (literally out my backdoor), we started with an overgrown, neglected patch of landscaping and an unused side of the house. It was a little embarrassing and when we had urban chickens (yes… for several years), they would often hide in this snarl to lay eggs.
Meanwhile, on the side of the house, there was a short fence line, a holly tree and a whole lot of space that was completed wasted. I mean… I paid for the whole property and yet we never went over there. So it was time for a change!
A New Place For Space
With the new fence up, I prepped the space by leveling out the ground. After years of leaves and debris gathering up we had a nice little grade between the houses. Nothing a little shoveling and raking couldn’t fix.
After saying nope to slope, I got busy installing landscape clothto the entire space. It rolls out easily and comes with little staples to hammer in to keep the cloth in place. It’s not a perfect way to keep weeds out, but it’s a great first line of defense.
I then picked up the Lawn & Garden Trailer from my friends at The Home Depot Rental and started hoarding piles and piles of mulch. Or at a minimum, tractor load after tractor load of mulch for the space. All in all, it ended up being 9 giant scoops and three trips to refill the trailer.
As my wife so astutely pointed out… I should have finished the fence AFTER I brought in loads and loads of mulch. So this is where the wheelbarrow came in along with some help from my neighbor and dozens of trips back and forth around the house to the trailer.
Did I mentioned how much mulch I got? So much. Now for the actual landscaping. To create a border around the space (and to contain the mulch), I picked up edging stones from my local Home Depot. I was hoping this would also contain my new problem…
Sort of like a crazy cat lady bringing cats home every time she leaves the house, I kept buying plants every time I drove by a garden center. I spent more money on plants with each visit then my wife does on a Target visit. I know that hit home for some of you. Ha!
Can I tell you how much I like grasses in a garden? I’ve been trying to put grasses in our yard for landscaping for over a decade now. I finally got two plants into this set up. And some variegated liriope which is pretty much a grassy plant in my book.
Sometimes I Wet My Plants
Let’s talk about the plants we picked because I feel like this is a topic that’s one of the most difficult decisions when it comes to landscaping. We have a ton of shade in a majority of this space. And let’s face it, shade plants just aren’t all that pretty typically. Contrary to that, we wanted plants that attracted pollinators (see if you can spot the bee in the image above). But then we also wanted plants that discouraged mosquitoes… And we live in central Virginia, which is actually a pretty good growing zone, so what did we pick up?
For around the base of the massive tree we went with an alternating pattern of Begonias and City Light Hostas. They both do great in the area that will get the most shade. And as the sign at our local Home Depot says… Begonias are the easiest flowers to grow. Score one for Begonias. For the sitting area we added some large potted Citronella plants and then added Lavender to the hanging planters (more on those in a minute). Both plants heavily discourage mosquitoes. For the one spot that will get the most sun against the new fence we planted Buddleia Miss Molly’s or Butterfly bushes. Within minutes of planting these, the butterflies and bees had already found them. They’re definitely as good as advertised!
The Backyard Reveal
Enough already! Let’s see the space. What a difference pulling out the rhododendrons and bumping out the fence made. It makes the yard look so much bigger and also gives us one less neglected corner of the yard.
The sitting area with the ratan and teak chairs provides a nice shady spot on the side of the house which actually gets a nice breeze. No more overgrown holly bush and ivy clogging up the space between houses.
Then for my favorite addition is the floating planter boxes. It’s just an added element that adds a little personality to the space and gives a little bit of a different look. They look simple, but they come with an added feature that I’ll touch on in a future tutorial.
When the solar fence-post lights kick on at nighttime it gives a nice little cozy ambiance. We have great space we can hangout as the sun goes down and the kids can play while we can relax with a glass of wine or in my case an Old Fashion.