Category Archives: Landscaping

WINDOW BOXES!!!

I fell in love with a particular window box right after we moved into our house.

Window Box Grandin Road

I saw them on the beautiful home at August Fields and knew that they would be a perfect addition to our home. They are the Nantucket Window Planter from Grandin Road and by golly, they aren’t cheap! So, I did what any bargain-loving lady does…I checked their website every week until they went on sale. I was beginning to give up hope that they even ran sales on them when in November (go figure?!) I checked on them and they were on sale. I literally ran upstairs and burst into the room my hubby was in, shrieking with excitement that after waiting 7 months, my beautiful window boxes were on sale! Yippee!! I ordered them that minute. 🙂

I can’t tell you how excited I was when the weather finally cooperated and we could get them hung and more importantly, I could get them planted!

Window Boxes and front windows

Front of House with Window Boxes

Window Box and Window

Aren’t they dreamy?? I just love the corbels and it seriously looks like they were made for our house the way they match the shutters. LOVE.THEM.

They are already filling out so nicely! I find myself just standing out front looking at them. 🙂

Window Box Grandin Road

They are filled with 3 fuchsia geraniums* (they look red in the photo, but they aren’t), 2 Diamond Frost – Euphorbia, 2 sweet potato vines, 3 white trailing verbena (one is between the vines and then on each side), and 2 Superbells – Tickled Pink. I am so pleased with how they are already filling out and I can’t wait to watch the verbena and vines trail down the front! 🙂

*I told you in my post about Lowes that I scored some gorgeous geranium planters for 4 bucks. Each planter had 3 plants full of buds and beautiful green leaves. SO, I pulled them out of the planter and split them all up and used them to fill my window boxes! $4 bucks for 3 plants vs $4 PER plant at the local greenhouse I picked up the rest of my annuals. Now THAT’S a good deal! 🙂

So what about you? Do you have window boxes or a new space this Spring you are loving?

Shopping at Lowes: Discount Perennials and Annuals

I should have posted this a couple weeks ago because this is one of my favorite things to do and it has been awesome again this year!

Do you know about the markdown section at your Lowes Garden Center? It’s one of my favorite places. Our location always has an amazing selection of marked down perennials, shrubs and bushes, usually at least 50% off, and even deeper discount on annuals!

The first time I stumbled upon it last year I was shocked to see how much was set aside and super marked down. I went and found an employee to get a little info, truly expecting for them to tell me that something was wrong with the plants. NOPE! They have such a constant stream of new inventory that comes in that if it has bloomed or needs to be deadheaded, it gets marked down. For reals. Cha-ching! A few weeks ago it was a perfect time to buy anything that blooms for Spring and that had already peaked. They want that stuff outta there! Don’t mind if I do!

Plants from Lowes

This is just part of what I picked up last year. I think I went 3 times and filled the back of our truck. The variety available was amazing: spirea, Knock Out roses, perennial salvia, lily, Russian Sage, etc. If I remember correctly, the majority of those perennials you see towards the front were 2-3 bucks a piece. See that Knock Out Rose in the upper right of the photo? I think I paid 6 bucks for it! And it wasn’t a lone plant – I bought 3 of the best looking from the bunch. All of them just needed their spent blossoms trimmed off and they were as good as new.  This year, my Mom and I hit the jackpot on amazing geranium planters. Gorgeous, full planters of geraniums that just needed to be deadhead – for $4.00! I’ll show you soon how I made that deal even sweeter. 🙂

Remember, because our house was new construction, we had NOTHING around our house. I had about 10 pieces of plants I brought from our last house, but otherwise, I was starting from scratch. Finding the discount section at Lowes was like hitting a gardening jackpot for this gardener. 🙂 If you need plants for your yard, I highly recommend stopping into your local Lowes and seeing what deals you can find!

I’ve been working on photos to share how all the landscaping is shaping up this year. Oh, and I can’t wait to introduce you to my super exciting addition – WINDOW BOXES!! 🙂

Backyard Landscaping – Part 3

Alright, let’s finish this up, shall we?

You saw where we started:

IMG_1664

And what things were like with the project in process:

IMG_1700

(I actually forgot to share this photo yesterday – ta-da!)

So let’s take a look at how things ended up when it was all said and done. We’ll start with the view from up on our deck so you can see the big picture.

Once all the boulders were placed, the entire area was finished with edging and then we spread yards upon yards of mulch. It’s a deep brown color and I love how it looks against the trees. Won’t it be fantastic when grass has filled the lower and side areas?

upperleftview

Looking a bit more to the right…

uppercenterview

In this last picture, you can see the three new trees we had planted as well as one that still needs to be moved to another part of the yard.

upperrightview

The two larger, leafy trees to the right are Serviceberry trees. They are really common for our zone and will flower with white flowers in the Spring. They have really pretty, small, oblong leaves in the summer and the trees themselves are full and lush. I’m thankful to have them against all the pines for a change in texture and color.

You can’t really see it in the photo very well, but centered between and in front of the Serviceberrys is a Crabapple tree that was given to us as a housewarming gift by my Mr’s brother and wife. SOOOO thoughtful and touching. It has gorgeous purple flowers in the Spring and I can’t wait to watch it grow along with the others. I’m excited to see how all three trees show this year for their first Spring in our yard!

That medium size pine over to the left needs a new home. He will probably be moving back into that open area to help fill it in a bit.

Ok, time for some closeups!

leftside

This is to the left of the stairs. In addition to the plants I split and transplanted from my old garden, I planted over 40 new perennials throughout the entire landscaping and I have literally said prayers about them being happy and ready to grow and bloom this Spring. I am SO EXCITED when I imagine all of these plants after a few seasons of growing and getting established.

You can see how I planted at the very top of the wall, within the wall, and then at the base. I love the layers and am excited to play with different styles of plants to have it really fill in with a lot of different textures and colors.

largearea

This is the same area, looking straight on. Hello pretty flowers – come back soon, ok?

rightside

This is to the right of the stairs. I want to reach into the photo and pet those flowers. “Please oh please come back this Spring. You’re so PRETTY!!”

We did spread grass seed and have a small amount of grass there now. It will need to be done a few more times to get it looking nice. How I wish we could lay sod and have lush grass right away! THAT would be awesome – and expensive! 🙂

So there you have it! Our backyard landscaping as of last summer. Pretty fun to see it go from this:

Backyard Sketch

To this:

leftside

Remember, if you’re in our area and have a project in your yard where you need some professionals, we recommend Murray Landscaping.

We will be working out there a lot this Spring and Summer and I’ll be sharing our progress and projects along the way!

Backyard Landscaping – Part 2

When we last left off in our adventure, we had set aside our shovels, rakes and mini rototiller and called in the big guns. Using a (pitiful) sketch, the design torch was passed from the amateur to the professionals. Professionals are awesome. So efficient with their fancy Bobcats and lifts and power tools. We worked with Murray Landscaping and I highly recommend them. They do free consultations, their quote was the lowest of the 3 companies I had out, and their work is exceptional.

As a reminder, here is the sketch I did. I know I told the landscape architect and her foreman at least 3 times not to laugh at me before I handed it over.

Backyard Sketch

In a nutshell, we wanted a loose rockwall with plants in between and “built-in” flower beds. Over on the left, about the 1/3 mark of the sketch, are stairs (steps?) that you can use to go from the flatter, grassy area up to the wooded area. You with me?

Remember the area that my Hubby and I tried to tackle ourselves?

IMG_1664

Well, the pros are super smart and while they DID have shovels, they also had this:

IMG_1677

They might have cleared the entire area in about 16.34 minutes. Bam. Machines are cool.

So, after clearing out all the junk and getting the terraced area pushed back where I wanted it, it was time to start placing the boulders to create our “loose” wall.

IMG_1678 IMG_1684

You can’t tell from the photos, but it was HOT outside. They work hard for their money. So hard for their money. We brought them ice water and big bowls of cut up watermelon during their breaks. And in return, we played on some heavy equipment.

IMG_1692

We were so fortunate to have Kelly, the landscape architect, on-site while they worked. She was amazing. She would watch as they placed each boulder and would suggest rotating or flipping them to get just the right angle and placement. It was priceless to have her out there with her designer’s eye ensuring everything was looking great.

After the majority of one side of the wall was in, it was time for the stairs!

IMG_1685 IMG_1687

The crew and I walked up and down those bad boys about a dozen times each. We wanted to be sure they felt natural to use – don’t want anyone misstepping and taking a tumble! I love how they turned out.

IMG_1701

 

 

Part 3 is coming up and I will show you how we finished it all up!

Backyard Landscaping – Part 1

Hey everyone! Did you get tons of new ideas from the Pinterest Challenge links yesterday? I pinned a bunch of new stuff and was impressed by so many projects people tackled. There are a lot of creative people and a lot of blogs out there – wowzers!

Since we’re getting a bunch more snow, it’s the perfect day to think about warmer weather and to talk about the huge landscaping project that went down in our backyard last August. This one was a doozy, so we had to call in the big guns. AKA, men with Bobcats and heavy equipment. You’ll see why.

When we moved into our house, we didn’t have a yard. The final grade was yet to be done, so we had hills of dirt waiting to be leveled and spread. It was such a mess. The final grade got done and then we had a sprinkler system installed. This was a step (expense) we didn’t plan on doing, but once I started having landscaping companies come out for quotes, it was clear we needed to do it. Every single person that came out and heard that the builders would be laying sod in the front yard said, “So you’re having an irrigation system put in, right?” After the third person said it, we just said, “Yes, yes we are.” I actually shudder to think what it would have been like to keep the sod alive in the heat of last summer. It wouldn’t have survived. I wouldn’t have survived lugging hoses and sprinklers around. Anywho…

The sprinker system and sod were installed and the front yard looked great.

IMG_1395

Don’t you love the patchwork-ness of freshly laid sod? It was torture for our girls to stay off of it!

So, the backyard was left up to us. I don’t have a good photo of what it looked like on sod day, but, imagine a bare, brown, dirt covered area. That was in May.  Then, after rain and areas getting watered where the sprinkler lines overlapped the bare area, this is what we were left with August 1st. I present our backyard jungle.

Backyard Mess

Ok, so not a jungle. This is Michigan after all and we live in a wooded area, but you catch my drift. If you look really closely, you can see the spot that we tried to clear ourselves with a small rototiller, a shovel, rake and our two hands. It took over 2 hours.

IMG_1664

We crack up thinking back to when we thought the two of us would be able to actually do something with this mess. If you wanted a lesson in botany on the various types of plants and weeds that grow naturally in Michigan, our backyard was THE place. We were standing out there, amidst weeds almost as tall as me in some places, covered in sweat and not making a dent when we looked at each other and my wise hubby says, “We need to hire someone. Now.” So we did. (whew)

I had been brainstorming what we could do with this space for months. We wanted some type of wall to separate the lower, flat yard (which would be grass) from the upper, wooded area. I also needed areas for flower beds so I could get my gardening on. I had an idea in my head and found the best way to convey my thoughts was to sketch it out. I am no artist, but I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and went for it. And, it’s what the Landscape Architect and her crew used to shape our backyard.

Backyard Sketch

Yes, it was embarrassing to show them my pitiful sketch, but it got the job done!

I’ll be back to explain my sketch and our plans and show you how it all went down!