Got Mulch?

by Andrea Cooley

Pile o' mulch!It's been almost 4 weeks since we had a dump truck unload 4 cubic yards of mulch in our driveway. What were we thinking!?

This project was all Adam. If you remember, we started last summer, when Adam laid pavers around the garden and created a planting bed along the fence.

I wasn't against mulching our garden and planting beds, but I also knew I wasn't going to be the one hauling countless wheelbarrow loads of the stuff around the yard! He had a vision and I stood back and let him work. (I've realized, if I want his help with a project, I need his buy-in. Once he decides to do something, he does it well!)

So, for the last 3 weeks, we have been heading outside after baby boy goes to bed and tackling the mulch pile. And by "we" I mean mostly Adam. I helped spread the mulch once he dumped it and weeded and watered, but he did all the heavy lifting! And yes, we brought the monitor outside! We can get a lot done when baby boy is in bed by 7 and it's light out until 9!

baby monitorThe dump truck couldn't fit all the way to the back of our driveway, so the mulch was dumped in the middle of the driveway (and of course we didn't think to move one of the cars to the street, so Adam had to move all the mulch to the back of the house, so we weren't stuck). Adam borrowed a wheelbarrow from our neighbor and started the slow process of dumping piles of mulch around the yard.

Are you wondering how much we paid for the huge pile 'o mulch? We got it from a local landscaping company. When they cut down trees, they put all the branches in a mulcher and sell it. I think it was $25 a cubic yard. Not bad, considering you pay a couple bucks for a puny bag at the garden centers. We paid extra to have it delivered, but if you have a truck, you can pick it up yourself.

We knew we wanted the mulch to be 2-3 inches deep. That's enough to keep moisture in the soil and to keep weeds at bay. From what we've read, the mulch should last a couple years, so we won't have to do this again for awhile! Adam measured all the garden beds and figured out how much mulch we needed. He also got 2 rolls of newsprint from the local newspaper printer). We laid this down under the mulch (where there were no bulbs or seedlings) to help with weeds. Has anyone else tried this? Supposedly the paper will decompose and it's a lot cheaper than landscaping fabric. I think Adam said it was $2/roll.

So here's a little before and after (obviously I need to work on taking the pictures at the same angle, but you get the idea): gardenDoesn't it look good? And I love seeing how much things have grown in the last few weeks! We'll have more tomatoes than we know what to do with in a couple weeks!

planting bedI think I'm most excited about this little planting area in the front. It's a work in progress, but it's such a huge improvement over what it looked like when we moved in. This is the best before picture I could find from a few years ago: front yard beforeObviously the trees are gone and what we were left with were weeds and several inches of lava rock. (Side note: NEVER put lava rock in your yard. It is impossible to get rid of, it attracts weeds, and it doesn't look that great). Adam dug up as much of the rock as he could and spread it out behind our garage and then covered what was left with mulch.

The bed is pretty shaded, so I did my best to find shade-loving perennials. It will take a few years for it to fill in, but I think it's looking good! We still need to figure out what we're going to do with the bricks and eventually I think it would be fun to tuck a garden bench in front of the window. Adam also wants to burry the big black tube, but that's a project for later.

HydrangeaWe transplanted this hydrangea from the garden in the back. I wasn't sure how well it would do up front, but I think it's happy!Petunia potHere's a peek at my favorite copper pot. I wanted something that spilled over the sides and I wasn't patient enough to wait for individual plants to fill out (I also didn't really want to fill it with potting soil!) My secret? A hanging basket!  I cut off the plastic hangers, turned a smaller pot upside down in the bottom of the big pot, and set the basket in it.

Next up? Turning a room in the basement into a home office for Adam. Design board to come!

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Andrea Cooley

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