Friday, April 3, 2009

Making a Garden Bed - Part 1

Ya'll remember how I was uber-excited about starting a little landscaping project this spring? Well, you are about to find out why. That's are gonna see the ridiculous exterior landscaping of our house.

Before our house was majorly lacking. Our lawn and our shrubs were like Lindsey Lohan...a little bit pathetic, a little wild, and although fully developed, they didn't reach their full potential (sorry you LezLo fans!). So we got to work quicker than you can say "Samantha Ronson".

Armed with our trusty garden plan, we went to work marking the area of where the bed will border the future sod. (You can do this with a garden hose and a bit of flour!) We decided to work on only one area at a time so that we can maintain focus. So for the time being, the right side of the steps is it. With a hoe, shovels, rake, and some trusty gloves, we removed all the bushes, roots, and rocks from the space.

During this phase, all you can do is pick out the unwanted stuff in the top 8 inches of your soil. Basically dig, hoe, pick out nasties, repeat. It's not fun but it's free. If you got cash to burn, a tiller can be rented for around $50 a day. But make sure you remove all your bushes digging is still required.

Although we tried our darnedest to transplant our little shrubs, only the boxwoods would release their kungfoo grip on the earth beneath. The azalea 'bushes' actually turned out to be trees that were cut down by previous owners! The low-growing branches were so fully and bushy that we assumed that these 'shrubs' would be easy to transplant as well. We were more wrong than George Hamilton's perma-tan. You can see the hole after we chopped the suckers down and pulled the main root out.

After the first day our bed looked like this. This is my favorite side - yummy! And this is after only 1 day! The other side looked half-baked.

And these are some of the rocks we pulled out. The small ones are the size of grapefruits. So you can imagine that those biggies are ridiculous.

In part 2 of Making a Garden Bed, I'll show ya how we mixed our new root/rock/shrub free soil with some compost-fortified stuff. And how we hand-tilled the area and created a more even and balanced looking bed.

And part 3 is going over shrub placement and planting as well as ways to help the new little botanical babies get established. That is the fun part so stay tuned :)


Liz said...

Love it!! We have been working like crazy on the inside of our home so the outside has been totally neglected. And it is frightful - everything in the front was groomed by the prior owners into little snowball shapes, and the backyard is a total jungle (with 3 trees planted in a line across the middle of the tiny yard - who does that??) Can't wait for Part II of your tutorial!

Freckles Chick said...

Your house exterior is darling! I'm anxiously waiting for more.

Tee-hee @ "LezLo".

Marge said...

It's looking great! I love your exterior!!!

Do you think you could elaborate on the "flour & water" technique? Sounds interesting and we are going to be re-doing all of our beds this spring/summer.


Jennifer said...

Fun, fun! I think we had the same planting beds: overgrown boxwoods and azaleas and lots of buried bricks and rocks to make digging around kind of dangerous.

I know you're working hard, so I'm excited to see how it comes out. Even the smallest changes made a difference for us.

*claire* said...

wow! it looks great just getting cleaned out - can't wait to see what you end up with!

we have a side yard that we are going to have to do the same to - we've hacked everything down to ground level, but this summer we are actually going to get down in there and get the roots out - not fun.

can't wait for part 2!

Katie said...

Sure Marge! One of the easiest and best ways to mark where you want a flower bed is to use a garden hose and a bit of flour. First unravel your hose and lay it in the general area that you want to have your bed border. Adjust to your liking. It's easy to move and the hose is self-adjusting so that you always have a nice curvy border that is easy on the eyes. Then get out your flour. Sprinkle a bit along the inside of the hose until your bed is completely marked with your favorite baking supply. Then remove your hose. Take a hoe or shovel and dig a small ditch where the flour lies. TADA! You now have an outline of your bed without any nasty chemical spraypaints for absolutely free! Gives a whole new meaning to "FLOUR BED", huh? :)

Good luck gardening ya'll!

XO - Katie

Amy said...

That looks like a lot of work! Excited for you about the progress!

Emily said...

Oh Katie, you're a crack-up. Love the outside of your house. It's darling!

Jen M said...

Can't wait to see pics as it develops!

Kristen said...

I am laughing out loud at your LL analogy! You are too funny! You have a darling house - I can't wait to see it with the "flour" beds finished!

Kim said...

You have the most adorable house. I love it! I hardly noticed the landscaping at first, cuase it's so cute.

Okay, I cannot wait to see it all. I love all the bright pinks in your flowers.

(on the edge of my seat)

SweDaisy said...

Great work Katie. You and the hubby really put a lot of hard work into the prep work. Just like painting its the prep work that makes the final product look great. I can't wait for part two.

Take care,

SAB said...

I love the outside of your home (before and after). I think you are living my dream!!

Marge said...

Thanks for clarifying! I can't wait to try it!

queenbee said...

I look forward to hearing about the next step. I love the exterior of your house, the flowers, shrubs will make it look even better. Great job.