Monday, April 11, 2011

Operation Yard Make-Over (Part One)

Yard Work.  Yuck!  It might be my least favorite thing about this time of year.  I know there are plenty of people who love to get outside and dig in the dirt.  I just don’t happen to be one of them.  However, I do really enjoy the benefits of a nice backyard.  It’s great for the kids to have a place to play.  I love barbeques and washer tournaments, bonfires and s’mores, and our vegetable garden.  I just wish I could skip all the work and reap the benefits. 

This year, we considered hiring a landscaping company to get our yard into decent shape. It seems as if the previous owner neglected the yard well before the cold of winter.  With two feet of dead grass and debris covering the entire area, this was going to take a lot of work.  After realizing our budget did not leave any room for a professional job, we sucked it up and decided to do it ourselves. 

Unenthusiastically, we made plans to get started over the weekend.  Surveying the damage, we knew we had to do something differently than years past. 

See, I’m great about saying, “Let’s do this and this and this and we’ll be done in no time!”  Then we actually start and everything that seemed so easy turns into a nightmare.  After twelve hundred trips to Walmart and Home Depot and a small fortune later, we have the basic supplies.  What I think should be completed in a few hours lasts for a few weeks.  The next thing we know it’s the Fourth of July and the yard is as good as it’s going to get.

Honestly, I do not have the time or patience for that this year. 

This weekend we made our first steps in “Operation Yard Make-Over.”  Determined to not repeat the mistakes of the years past, we decided to beef up our efforts with some power tools. 

Because the dead grass is ridiculously overgrown, a regular raking would leave us with less than desirable results and blistered hands.  On Sunday, we broke out the power rake (from a local rental company).  In a few hours, the entire yard was raked and bagged!  It was truly amazing. 

What is left (now that dead grass is gone) is dirt.  There’s a few small sprigs of grass popping up here and there…but mainly dirt. Disheartening, yes, but it makes it that much easier to prepare the ground for our vegetable garden.

After several weeks of watching the sun dance over the yard, we finally determined the best location for the garden to get adequate sunshine and avoidance of kid and dog play.  Thinking we would wait until next weekend to dig out the ground, I was delightfully surprised when the garden tiller made it’s appearance.  For years now we had been using the garden claw to irrigate the ground to make it ready for planting.  And for years, I swore that would be the last year we had a garden.  I even suggested doing a container garden this year because I could not go through the agony of hand tilling again.

This tiller thing…my gosh!  We now have a plot bigger than ever.  It’s so pretty and full of potential.  And it took maybe 20 minutes.

This dreaded yard work is becoming much less dreaded.  Who would have thought that all we needed were the right tools!  The cost has been significantly less than hiring a professional.

Next weekend, we have to do something about the grass.  I’ve heard there is a machine type thing that will plant grass seed with precision and ease.  Please reserve one for me!

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