Sunday, September 18, 2011

The best thing about yard work

Instant Gratification.

Seriously. Unlike mudding drywall or tiling, which often take days (or in our case, months) to finish, you instantly see results with yard work.

You may wonder, if its so gratifying, why has our side yard looked like this since we’ve moved in?

Well, I have no real explanation except that we’re busy and lazy :)

I’m one lucky girl though. A few weeks ago my recently retired mother decided she wanted to do some volunteer work. A dear friend of mine took her to the Humane Society for volunteer orientation. Her cat-loving heart couldn’t handle it, so she decided to volunteer at the second most needy cause: my yard.
My dad and sister tried to tell her that this doesn’t count as volunteer work but I kept mum. After all, I’d love her help!

So I took Friday off and we went to work. My mom is an animal (I mean that as a huge compliment). She arrived at nine, gloves in hand, ready to work. She immediately grabbed the chainsaw and went to town.

Let me back up a bit. We were planning to tackle the left side of our front yard. A few month ago I showed you the progress we’d made on the right side of the yard.

But I purposely left out pics of the left side. Because, well, it looked like this.


Apparently it was bugging my mom, because when she ‘volunteered’ to help, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

First, we removed three azaleas. They bloomed beautifully for a few weeks a year but otherwise are pretty ugly, and weren’t doing so well. When we started to remove them we could tell that a lot of the branches were dead. I have no idea how old those bushes were but I think they were near the end of their lifespan.

Removing them was no small task. Check out this stump!


At first Matt didn’t believe that my mom and I did all the work. He kept asking me which neighbor helped us. It was kinda insulting, actually :)

After removing the azaleas, we weeded, raked, smoothed out the ground and spread bark dust. Bark dust seriously makes such a difference! I can’t wait to put it all over the yard. Oh, and my mom completely cleaned up the lilac trees bushes trees. Technically I don’t know what they are, but now they look like trees.

Here’s the results of our day of hard work.

My mom and I are so proud of ourselves! And really, really sore :) Who knew my abs would get sore from yard work? And my hands! The next day I could barely hold my coffee mug.

Totally worth it though. Here’s the before and after.


And our neighbors’ improved view from their house.


Now that the rest of the yard is getting in shape, I may be more motivated to water the grass :)

In the middle of removing the azaleas, I broke the chainsaw. That’s why there is still one ugly overgrown bush left to remove (in the back by the fence). My dad walked me through fixing the saw, so hopefully that bush will be gone soon too.

Here’s one more look, I still can’t believe we did all that in one day!


And a totally unrelated side note: Cost Plus has some of their outdoor stuff on sale – 75% off! Check out this cute outdoor pillow I got for six dollars!


What is your favorite ‘instant gratification’ task to complete at home?

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  1. Wow, what a difference. You can actually see your house. I spent the day today working in the yard as well. I don't love doing it, but I love the end result.

  2. I'm pretty sure that instant gratification is the ONLY good thing about yard work. BUT, this looks amazing! You and your mom did amazing work ... I can't believe you did all that in a day. I must be a very slow outdoor worker :)

  3. That looks like it was a TON of work. What a great transformation!

  4. Dang it! I knew I should have gone to CostPlus with you guys. Good thing I didn't though since we don't get paid till tomorrow. Next time!

  5. My favorite "instant gratification" project has been our "side-yard sloped-area". The previous owners planted tons of ivy to cover it, but towards the back by our garage, it has become over-taken by HUGE weeds (that look like bushes). Last spring I went through and cut down the largest, overgrown weeds and it made SUCH a difference. It was like a brand-new view out into the yard. It was nice... for about 3 weeks until they grew back. (Totally slacked on yard work this summer) :/

  6. Can I hire you and your Mom to pull out my disfigured arborvitae next summer?

  7. I cannot believe the difference! And your mom volunteered?
    Mothers are SO underrated. You're a lucky dog to have such an awesome mom.
    Love Newcomb Home site. Thanks for sharing with us regular peeps.


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