After painting and making bench cushions, my next house projects were not actually inside the house -- they were yard stuff. We moved into our house in March 2011 and pretty much just let the yard exist that first summer. But, much like beige walls, a totally empty yard was too boring for me, so the next spring it was time to do something about that. I started in the back yard where we had trouble mowing around the air conditioning unit and a little Rubbermaid shed that we have. I noticed some of our neighbors had put stones all around their air conditioning boxes, and that seemed like a good idea to me. I can't remember how many bags of rocks I ended up getting, but it was more than I had thought I would need. We went for a mix of white and brown. I also got some of that black landscape edging which, it turns out, I'm terrible at putting in. I initially thought I'd be able to just sort of push it into the ground, which is not true. Then I got the shovel and tried to make a little channel. I think this was the right idea, but I probably just didn't make the channel wide enough, as I still had trouble stuffing the edging into the ground. But I was lazy and decided it was good enough.
Next I moved to the side yard. I wanted to plant some bushes along the side of the house. I checked our HOA documents and verified that, as long as I wasn't doing anything in the front of the house or something that could be considered a "barrier", I didn't need HOA approval. My dad, who is a wonderful gardener/landscaper, recommended getting a mix of evergreens and deciduous bushes. After much thinking and planning and measuring and googling pictures of bushes, I made a plan. Then I made this Powerpoint drawing so Zach could visualize and approve my plan.
I bought the bushes at a local nursery called Meadow Farms. I tried to get bushes that would all get to be about the same size. I got wintergreen boxwoods, dark knights, and gardenias. I dug all the holes, placing them all about 3' apart, as they all called for about that much spacing. It turned out that our "soil" is pretty much all rocks, so digging holes was hard and not much fun. My initial plan was to move my hibiscus out of its pot in the house out into this line of bushes. It was significantly bigger than the other bushes, so I made Zach dig that hole. It made him appreciate how hard I had worked on planting all the other bushes. The weather had been fairly warm, but unfortunately we then had a cold-snap, and my hibiscus started looking like it might be dying. I decided it might be too cold here for the hibiscus to survive outside, so I dug it up and brought it back in the house, where it revived and continues to flourish. I replaced the hibiscus with a solar flare bush. Zach was a little grumpy about the huge hole I'd made him dig, since the solar flare was much smaller than the hibiscus, but I told him that I had dug so much more than him that he wasn't allowed to complain. The good news was that we ended up with lots of rocks to weigh down our little shed int he back yard to keep it from blowing over in the strong winds we get.
I did later have to take down the little white landscape edging because the HOA classified it as a "fence" that requires permission. We've never gotten around to filling out the forms and getting neighbors' signatures to get it approved. Maybe this summer.