We've been in our new house for almost two years now. This summer our goal was to (FINALLY!!) get landscaping in. Some of us are more patient than others.
Our venture began in June with a stamped concrete patio, followed by concrete edging, rock, trees and plants, patio furniture, and finally, by the start of August, steps to access all of the great outdoors. I have 323 pictures of the entire process taking up valuable space on my phone, so I'm going to share with you a handful of those accompanied by bits of entertaining commentary. Here goes…
Step 1: The Patio
The guys from Cash Concrete in Glyndon, MN did our patio and we could not have been happier with their work. They were always smiling, hard working, and even let the kids see just how heavy a wheelbarrow full of concrete is. They even saved said wheelbarrow from tipping over all in the yard!
We went a wood grain stamped, "bark" dyed concrete, stained and sealed. We've already gotten many compliments on the way it turned out. All the heart eyes for the patio!
Step 2: Edging and Rock
Haugen Landscaping did our concrete curb edging and rock. They did our grass and sprinkler system when we first moved in and we loved working with Darin and his crew so naturally we went back to him for this job. The concrete curbing was dyed bark to match the patio. He let the boys stick their hands in the concrete divider around the garden area which was gut wrenching for all involved parties. Apparently concrete guys don't like for you to touch their wet concrete. Wonder why?!
Since our house is gray and the stone on the front is a mix of gray and tan, we did a 50/50 mix of gray and natural river rock around most of the house, except the garden which he filled with black dirt for us.
Because we planned to put a tree in one of the landscaping areas in the front, we had to coordinate that between the curbing and rock installation. We started with 0 trees on our 1/3 acre lot and planted 11 this summer! Not everything went smoothly with the trees. When the second tree was being staked in the ground, the installer's hand slipped and…well, you can probably imagine. I did not take a picture of the aftermath but it did reassure me that the medical field has not ever been my calling.
Step 3: Plants
Here's the thing about spending hundreds of dollars on things that die. Some of them will die.
We purchased most of the 30 perennials that went in our yard from Bakers in Fargo, ND. They were great to work with. Since I'm a planner and have had two years to think about this, I pretty much knew what I wanted and where I wanted it. Hostas on the north side, hydrangeas along the east, hardy natives around the patio on the south and in the full sun landscaped circle in the front, and some lilac shrubs and peonies on the outer corner by the road that will someday provide us with a natural privacy screen.
We decided we could handle planting them ourselves. So together Hubs and I spent four long, hot, days moving rock and digging holes. It was quite the undertaking. And anxiety inducing. That whole thing about living things with the potential to die. We planted two dogwood shrubs after being gone over the fourth that had lost pretty much all of their leaves. Our four year old neighbor asked me why I planted those dead plants. From the mouths of babes. Then we spent the next 4 million hours worrying about whether they (and the trees) were getting enough water during the July draught. Ugh. I'm still praying most of them will sprout again next spring. But I'm not holding my breath.
Step 4: Furniture and Steps
After hours of searching patio furniture, I ended up purchasing everything online from Target. One single order. Nine individual packages. All delivered one at a time. At one point the FedEx guy was like "You and your packages. Every. Day." 😂 Then two of them were damaged during delivery and assembly so I had to order more parts. Fortunately Target's customer service is stellar and so was our FedEx guy who I hope gets a raise soon for putting up with me this summer.
Finally, we ordered Trex composite decking material from Lowe's and paid our wonderful neighbor to build the steps out to the patio. Picking out the color of decking was the hardest part of the entire landscaping project. I wanted light gray or dark brown. We ended up with dark gray. But they look great and I'm happy with finished product.
Step 5: Putting it all together.
We have so been enjoying our patio and landscaping here at the end of summer. We go out there every day at some point, to eat dinner, watch the kids play, chat with neighbors, or just soak up the sun. (I also threw a party out there one weekend when Hubs and the kids were gone. The steps weren't even finished yet so I'm just glad nobody was injured. And the house didn't burn down. 😉)
We accomplished everything within our budget and on a manageable timeline (for those of us who are impatient) and believe we will see the return on investment in the overall value of our home.
Now I just have to figure out where we'll store all this furniture in winter.
A shed, perhaps??