New concrete…oh yeah!

So we have these black wood mulch beds all around our house and I’m not really a fan.  Then, we also have rain gutters that wash the said mulch into our yard.  It’s frustrating to say the least.  We’re going to go buy those gutter extensions so that the water will run straight to the grass instead.  But first we jumped on a project that we felt was necessary.  Concrete!

We have 2 big garbage cans that MUST stay on the side of our house (love the HOA).  To put them on the street we had to pull them through the mulch beds which pulled the mulch into the grass.  We really wanted something to make the process of taking the garbage to the street more smooth and less messy.  I called around to a handful of local concrete companies and landscape companies and ended up going with a concrete contractor that was reasonable and friendly (those are my two big qualifications).  He showed me some pictures of work he’s done and was able to get to it within a few weeks.  I really wish I had taken some before pictures but I didn’t think about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doesn’t it look great?!  I never thought I’d be in love with a concrete slab but I am.

After they installed the concrete, I also did some more gardening.  I took out a big Holly bush where you see these new flowers.  Holly bushes are the worst.  When you trim them, you get stabbed to death.  It was so annoying at our last house that I’d just end up leaving the branches, that I trimmed in place rather than collect them all and end up with war wounds.  That resulted in green bushes, sprinkled with dead branches.  The bush also seems to attract those big black carpenter bumble bees and wasps.  When I saw them install holly bushes here at our new house, I knew they weren’t going to stay long.  I planted a gardenia tree, hydrangea that I had in the house and different varieties of begonias.  I can’t wait to see them grow.

So now this little corner is much more beautiful and practical.  If we could just get the construction to go away on our street now.

Gardening

The downside of having a new home is that there’s not much to the landscape.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m super grateful that our builder put plants in and sod down for us…but it’s just blahhhh.  Here’s a prime example.  

The garden bed used to come out about 5 feet more into the yard but when it rained, the driveway drainage forced the water through that bed like a raging river and washed it all out.  I told them they needed to make the bed smaller and put sod where the water drains.  Now it’s always soggy sod.  Oh well, you can’t win them all.  We’ll have to figure out drainage issues later.  Anyway, in the front of our house it’s just bushes, nothing pretty…and I like pretty things.  So I went to Costco.  That in itself should be a blog post.  I also love Costco….so much.

Costco had just put out all their spring gardening things and even though I just went for eggs, I left with so much more…as always.  I bought some massive ferns and a whole bunch of perennial bulbs.  I took out the bushes in the front row and planted to my heart’s desire, about 25-30 perennial bulbs.  Fast forward two months.  I’ve been waiting and waiting for these bulbs to come up and some have been starting to sprout, especially the hostas.  I sent my son out to spray all the weeds around the house and neglected to tell him not to touch the front.  Needless to say, he sprayed all my emerging bulbs with weed killer, all except for the hostas.  I almost died.  I’m not sure much else will happen with this garden bed this year as far as these perennials go.  Not much has come up.  I will have to plant some annuals, although I have no clue where all the bulbs are in there.  It will be a bit tricky.  If you look really hard in the front, you can see tiny little green shoots that were supposed to be Bleeding Hearts, there is also some Astilbe and Hosta.  They’re all shade varieties of perennial bulbs as most of that bed is shaded.

I also bought a blue ceramic pot at Costco (wishing I had bought a cheaper lighter version somewhere else though) big enough to plant the hibiscus tree they also had.  I went to a local nursery after that and got some plants for the bottom of the tree in the pot.  Here is how it turned out!  Now I have something to look at out there on my still empty deck.  Next project is to stain that deck!  Well, we’re also pouring some concrete next week.  That may happen first.