Sunday, December 28, 2008

As promised, my backyard makeover, still a work in progress

sure it looks nice, but do you want to pay $300 a month for watering and mowing it in 90F plus degrees??

Finally, slowly but surely, our big backyard is taking shape. Literally. After killing off the highly useless St. Augustine grass (in Central Texas, we're in a constant state of varying degrees of 'drought'), we ended up with caleechy exposed soil and a LOT of weeds. Finally, we made some progress.

half-way done..

We got rocks from a local cemetary where they literally have a pile on a side lane free for the taking, and we also found roughly chopped cedar mulch (which ended up having quite a lot of palm by the looks of it) from the Lake Travis Brush Recycling$3 a yard which, with the tax and delivery included, ended up costing us only $205.68 to be exact! (we got 25yards).

For Mother's day I had gotten several native, drought resistant trees; one Texas persimmon, one desert willow (they are happy trees here, bloom beautifully), one Mexican plum and two Possum Haw hollies. They all happen to have white flowers but are all still fairly short, about 3 to 4 feet. Digging the holes for them was not possible to do manually but that saga happened too long ago. Just trust me when I say; here in Central Texas, you build upon, you don't dig. Not if you ever can help it 'cause it'll mean having to hire machinery.

Anyway, without further ado..the before ...and the after.

LANDSCAPE FABRIC?? I know I know..some of you will have a cow but trust me..there's no saving this soil (caleechy works it's way up) and it's too expensive with a yard this size to keep putting top soil on it. If you go native, you do not need to worry about the soil. The fabric is to minimize the weeds as we are facing a greenbelt. When it's planting time, you just push the mulch aside, cut a whole, do a little diggin' well, scraping in our case, and voila..done!

A path running through it..

Taking shape...I have two vegetable beds that actually had to be covered from a freeze..

The truck with the 25 yards of mulch..

THAT'S what 25 yards of mulch looks like..whoa nelly!

Shaping continued..for now we have a few mulch 'humps' but I'll post some more updates, finished outlined path pictures later this week..


8 plus hours later, 3 wheelbarrels assembly line style, several helpful neighbour kids for a few hours here and there and the day before was finally done!

Like I said, we still have more pictures to show... It feels good though. It's a great start..perhaps I can even figure out a little video so I can give the panoramic scanning view of the ...we'll see how that goes.

cross-posted at Austin Permie

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Anonymous Yohay said...

Wow, you've put a lot of effort in there.
And it seems like you're going to enjoy the results...

3:30 PM  
Blogger R.J. said...

That looks like it's going to turn out very nice.

BTW, backyards in Cali tend to be about half that size.

5:27 PM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

Hi Ingrid my friend! You guys have done a heck of a lot of work. Does the plum and persimmon bear edible fruit at maturity or are they purely ornamental?
Anyway your E is still not working for me so I will answer you here! Hi Ingrid I hope you get this!
By the way at last count it was 300 dead and Israeli tanks were massed at the border! I appreciate the effort and will check into this! However this war will not be stopped and was a foregone conclusion years ago! Remember prior to the lies that got us back into the middle east that Israel wanted a peaceful buffer zone? Bush attacked Iraq to get into the middle east to help them and eventually go after Iran. It had nothing to do with fighting terrorism or unseating Saddam. The goal right along was helping Israel and they stupidly thought democratizing the middle east was the key. What it was , was the beginning of the end for any semblance of peace in the middle east.
Bush's insistence of Democracy in Palestine was personally responsible for this enabling Israel to go into Gaza and get this mess going. This is just beginning and will not be quelled peacefully. Remember Syria and Iran back Hamas and Russia backs them. Remember who backs Israel and I have long said coming to Israel's aid will be our excuse to go after Iran.
This mess is just taking shape and the timing is no coincidence. Remember to Bush and Israel war is peace. They will destroy everything to have their version of order. With Islam wanting their own version there will never be peace in the middle east not in many life times if we are that lucky! At any rate there will be no stopping this as all sides want to fight believing they can militarily have their way!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

I't a lot of work, but looks well thought out and very systematically done. Good choices. We should all be getting rid of grass--what a waste of soil and water and then the damn cutting.

Nice pics, well done my dear.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

What an ambitious project. I'm sure it will look great.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Blueberry said...

Looking forward to seeing some more pics! We did the same thing with our yard. Lots of work, but no more lawn!

5:39 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said... amazing ...and a HUGE's the funny part- I thought the TOP photo was the end result and I was very very impressed...too funny...

I can not wait to see more....very cool...and VERY impressive...

( will post some more snow pics this week....just for you ;-)

thanks for sharing this....

10:25 PM  
Blogger D.K. Raed said...

That is some project, but it's already taking shape & looking good! I feel so sorry that you have to deal with caliche soil. We suffered with that in Nevada. If you want anything to grow there, you bring in topsoil. And yeah, jackhammers to dig a hole for planting anything more than 5-gallon size.

Once you get used to being grassless, you'll never want to go back to all that watering, mowing, fertilizing. We converted to xeriscape in 1992 & haven't had grass since. Don't forget "Texas Purple Sage" for low-water bushes with tons of flowers!

Hah! I know all about that weed fabric! We used it here for the backyard. People who think it's weird don't realize it's permeable, so rainwater penetrates & the soil underneath can still breathe. Funny thing, we decided NOT to use it for the front yard. Instead we put crushed rock, I mean really crushed, called "chat", about 3" deep. It was an experiment that worked because we've had less weeds in the front than back yard!

That is a lot of hard work ... all those wheelbarrows! You must be pumped up now! Happy NY!

2:39 AM  
Blogger susan said...

What a magnificent project. Now your part is done and time alone will make it more beautiful still.

I read an average patriot's note to you about the middle east. He's right in every detail and I'm not holding out much hope Obama will attempt to turn the tide. It may be a new year but a lot of the same energy will apply unless we continue to demand change.

Wishing you and your family the best for 2009.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Mariamariacuchita said...

Woee....You have done a lot of work. When can I come have a peek???

9:37 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

sorry guys, I've been lax in responses. I had my eldest' b'day, preparing for other things, back to school stuff and other distractions..hope to visit you all soon on your own blogs..

thx for the compliments..I want to go back into the yard for the next thing..edible fruits Jim? dunno..I hope so but these trees are still too small to bear anything but leaves..[s]


10:17 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Oh wow! This is serious gardenscaping.

We are in the process of planning on doing the same to our property in Brittany. But we haven't started yet.

Kudos, Ingrid!

1:59 PM  

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