We started this Spring with a big family cookout.
My daughter, her family, my Mother & Father in law, sister in laws, nephews, my grandson, my mom, my husband and children were all here.
The house was packed there was lots if food, love and laughter.
This was the first cookout of the year before Germaine and I started working on some major outdoor projects to make our yard more hospitality friendly.
This is going to be a quasi long post with a barrage of photos do grab a cup of coffee and sit tight. I want to walk you through the process not do much for your benefit but for mine. I need a way to remember this year because so far the last eight or do weeks has been a blur.
I have been working on a three month sponsored project, training my blog team and still blogging and being active on social media.
On top of that I do have a life outside of the Internet. I have been consistent at working out 4-5 days a week, fellowshipping with another family once a week and becoming more active in serving at my church. Germaine and I were asked to be the guest services team leaders at church. Germaine was already an usher but I hadn’t quite found a place to serve. Now I help coordinate volunteers to serve in different areas of the church.
We have been working consistently to remain faithful to our commitments and also complete our personal goals.
DIY Yard Renovation Ideas & Cost
The biggest personal goals for the last 90 or so days has been this yard. We have waited 11 years to do this because we wanted to pay off all of our consumer debts before spending money on our yard. Now that we just have a mortgage (and a small hospital bill — long story for another post) we felt it was the right time to budget for this project.
The first thing we did was get our seeds planted. I bought a seed started kit from Walmart for around $6 and several $0.20 packs of vegetable seeds.
After writing out our goals for the yard we knew the seeds had to be started weeks in advance of any of the landscape project to ensure we had seedlings to put in the raised garden.
Once those were planted and growing we could start on the outdoor projects.
The first thing we tackled was getting 10 tons of dirt delivered to prepare the back yard for sod and level out the front lawn. 10 tons cost us $14o including delivery.
It took 72 hours for Germaine, the kids and I to move 10 tons of dirt to the backyard.
By day 2 I wanted to quit. I was hurting everywhere and was just tired of bringing dirt back and forth.
Germaine used his lunch break and after work time to get the job done.
By day three we had most of the dirt in the backyard and just had to spread the rest around in the front yard and move on to the next project.
The next thing we wanted to do was build a concrete paver patio for our grill. We had been buying a few concrete pavers every few weeks leading up to the Spring so by the time we started actually working on the yard we had the 77 we needed for the project.
(Ornamental Lilies – Clearance $2.50 each)
After getting the dirt to the backyard we began laying the pavers in place and leveling them. If you look at the image below on the right you’ll see some of our progress.
It took 2 days to get the patio laid but an additional 2 days to sweep concrete into to cracks and let it set.
By now I was feeling re-energized and loved how to patio turned out. It isn’t perfect, but I love it because we made it ourselves and didn’t incur any debt to get it done.
Each paver cost between $0.99 and $1.49 each. We used 77 or 72 pavers to make a 12×8 patio for our grill.
After the patio was in place we needed to order sod. We weren’t sure how much we needed so we ordered a pallet at a time.
We also ordered it this way because with just the two of us laying we knew we couldn’t lay more than a pallet a day.
We used the first pallet to surround the paver patio and most of the yard closest to the back of the house. After getting the sod around the patio, I was completely in love with my new backyard.
By this time we had been working on the yard for about 4 weeks and it was time to tackle one of our biggest
As you may know, we were remodeling the lower level of our home during the winter but stopped because of a leak in the den. Apparently the concrete had tiny cracks in it and we had to tear out the sheet rock and re-cement the walls.
We also decided to install a gutter on the house and take out the huge foundation bushes in the front after seeing tiny roots behind the wall inside the house where the leak was. Ugh!!
Removing the bushes was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. I dug a ditch in the military but pulling up this massive bushes was HARD!! Halfway through the project I thought about just cutting them down instead of salvaging them for another part of the house.
To get them moved we trimmed all of the leaves off. You can see how bare they were in the pictures below.
Then we dug a trench around each and cut through the massive root until we got the bush loose. We were able to dig up and replant one bushes per day over a span of 9 or 10 days! These bushes were strong and we were advised several times to tie it to our truck to pull them out. Now that they are where I envisioned them and are growing new leaves…I love them! I also love how much light is now shining into the lower level of the house.
By week 6 we were sick of working in the yard plus it was raining and the temperature dropped into to fifties. Whenever the son came out, I planted new flowers in my flower bed.
I’ve always been scared to grow roses because I think they are high maintenance and expensive, but when I saw some on clearance at Aldi for $1.99 I snatched up two to use as my experiment plants.
My neighbor has several beautiful rose species and I love looking at them. I am going to see how these do in the garden. The weather was cold and rainy for about 10 days so I decided to work indoors on the first of two 4×4 raised vegetable gardens.
I bought a 16 ft long piece of pressure treated lumber for around $12 and got it cut into 4 ft long pieces. I had some left over wood at home to use for corner supports. The picture below is my den which is a work in progress. The wall an insulation where the leak was which you can’t see needs to be replaced and then we can install the hardwood floors.
After assembling the 4×4 box, Germaine put it in the ground once the weather warmed up. Once it was in the ground, I planted the seedlings.
(2 – 20 lb. bags of soil for the vegetable box $2.99 at Walmart)
The weather was warming up again and because of it we got a much needed break. Now we were ready to dive back in.
We wanted to get started on the front yard again. After the bushes were pulled out we built the area up with dirt but it looked bare.
We will not plant any more bushes in this area because of what happened with the last bushes. We are going to plant foundational perennials that are green and some flowering.
This week I shopped for some flowering grass to plant. I bought 14 of them for around 44 each and was able to get them all in the ground within an hour. The next plant to go in the area will be lantana and peonies to add some year after year color.
Just as I was about to go inside I saw this lurking at my back door. It was the door I used to come outside so I had to wait until it slithered away to run inside.
After seeing that snake I was too scared to plant anymore flower this week so I decided to repaint my bird feeder with the FREE paint.
I bought Herb Cornucopia which is a pretty apple green.