09 May 2008

Rollin' up ma sleeves, playin' in da mud...

It’s May in Ottawa and the flowers are blooming. The daffodils are out, the crocuses have sprung and the tulips are blooming in all their glory. While I still find myself grumbling over the lack of palm trees, I do enjoy seeing the refreshing colours of spring in the capital. The sudden burst of greenery makes me itch to get out in the garden and begin to develop my lofty green thumb goals.

Last summer marked me and hubby's first official year in our new home. Because we were swamped with the move back in July 2006, we had no time to concern ourselves with landscaping or aesthetics. Needless to say, I had big plans for a major outdoor overhaul last May. I designed and dug my front landscaping which turned out decent for a relatively ‘green’ gardener. All my plants took extremely well (some maybe even a little too well) and I ended up with lots of colour through the summer months. I also ripped out some useless patches of grass between the front walk and the garage and replaced the strip with some river stone…not award winning landscaping by any stretch of the imagination, but it did turn out neat, tidy and easy on the eye. I’m very big on curb appeal!

Last year also marked a major improvement for our backyard. Hubby and I, with the some much-needed coaching from our fathers, built a large evelated deck for entertaining. We managed to have the entire project built in one weekend and to this day, it is still one of the main achievements that we are most proud of. Maybe this isn't a big deal for most folks, but building something from scratch is a monumental victory for people who even have a hard time managing to patch a small piece of dryrywall….go us!

Now that our front and back landscaping essentially has a foundation, this year I plan to add all the bells and whistles. Surprisingly, most of my front garden survived the winter from hell. I have a few more shrubs to plant and some annuals, but thankfully that's about it. I want to keep things relatively simple in the front because we rarely spend time out there and the lawn so narrow that anything too ambitious looks ostentatious.

The bulk of my focus over the next month will be on the backyard. I want to remove the grass that’s dying under the deck and replace it with crushed stone bordered by pavers. Then comes the fun part; I’m going to start ripping out more grass to make way for a free-form garden that will surround the base of the deck. The goal is to give the impression that the deck has simply grown out of an established garden. It may take a while to achieve the look I want, and by then hubby and I may very well be searching for new digs, but I’m hoping that it’s something we can enjoy for a few years and eventually lure new buyers with. Most of all, it’s just an excuse to get out in the sunshine, roll up my sleeves and roll around in the mud…bliss!

Wish me luck folks. I’m trying to keep this relatively low-cost but my zany schemes always seem to snowball despite best intentions. I only hope that I don’t end up with half of my yard cut away, wondering what the heck I have gotten myself into now. Either way, I’ll be sure to post pictures of the beautification (or destruction) in progress.

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