Thursday, May 26, 2011

Landscaping Project of 2011

As of the end of January of this year, we have been in our Georgia house for 2 years!! Wow! Not sure where the time goes. Perhaps the addition of a child to the mix plays a part in that?? ;) So for the past two springs/summers we have struggled to grow grass in the harsh red clay of the South. We had no idea it would be such a chore impossible! :( Growing grass at our Kentucky house was a piece of cake (throw down some seed and water it a bit and in 2 weeks, bam! A lush, green yard!), but then we actually had soil there, not this messy clay stuff...It probably didn't help that every time we would get a heavy rain it would wash all the seed away down the "pit" of our front yard, or that the nice, shady trees in the back yard were not conducive to allowing Bermuda grass seed to grow properly. Sigh.

This year we decided to do something about our mess of a yard. We were tired of not being able to use the back yard at all (and just part of the front yard) and Ethan is at an age where he really, really wants to play outside (I am talking 24/7)! So, we called Rocky Branch Garden Center and had a nice gentleman by the name of Johnny Bolin out to take a look at our yard. He actually works with the Callaway Gardens too, which is known for their beauty, so we figured we were in good hands. He came up with a great plan for filling in the front yard "pit," sodding the front, back and side yards, installing a 6-zone in-ground sprinkler system, planting some Asiatic jasmine (a vine) and placing some rock on the side hill to prevent further erosion, and filling in some areas that wouldn't do well with Bermuda grass with pine straw. Sounded great to us! We were hesitant at first about doing the sprinkler system with it's added cost, but as Johnny suggested, you would hate to spend so much on sod then have it die because we couldn't get it watered properly. So, with Josh at work all day and me being super preggo, limiting our watering abilities, we said what the heck and went for it! :)

Here are some before and after pics of the results! :) This first one is of the back yard. When they graded everything, they removed over a truckload of dirt from back here to help flatten the yard out on the side the picture is being taken from.

Here is the side yard that butts up to a creek that runs through the trees. While it didn't seem to be a huge area before the renovation, it is now a decent-sized usable space! :)

Here are some shots from the front. Unfortunately you can't truly appreciate how bad the "pit" was by looking at this picture. It took 4 truck loads of miscellaneous fill (rock and such) and 5 truck loads of dirt to help get it leveled out!

And now the "pit" is full of beautiful, green sod and the retaining fence has been removed!!! :)

This side of the driveway was notorious for washing out every time it rained. Water would pour over our driveway, down through the "pit," gouging out huge trenches as it went. Not pretty. On this side, Asiatic jasmine were planted to help with the erosion. Within a season, this vine should spread out and cover the area. They also placed some rock in one particularly bad spot.

Here is another angle of the back yard, showing the 12' x 16' outdoor building that Josh is currently working on. It still needs the garage door hung and the hardieplank siding completed, then it will be good to go for storing the lawnmower, 4-wheeler and various other items. :)

And here's one more angle of the back yard. The perfect area for Ethan to run and play now!! :)

Here are some shots looking out towards the road. This is a large area that is now much more level.

And here is a closer look at the front yard. So much more usable space now it is incredible!!

So as you can see, we are quite happy thrilled with the results of our project. Perhaps next year we will tackle a fence for the backyard (making it easier for me to keep the kiddos corralled!) and maybe a pool if we can swing it too! ;) Ethan still needs a playset built too, so we'll see if we can manage that yet this year as well. Next up inside the house is getting Ethan's big boy room finished up so we can move him over there and have the nursery ready for the baby! Whew! I guess we better hope this little guy decides to cook for the full 7 weeks he has left! ;)

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