Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Landscaping is Done

My yard has been a nightmare for me. It was a "fixer upper" as much as the house... with one major difference: I couldn't fix up the yard myself. Even if I could withstand long hours in the sun, I didn't have the physical strength or the equipment required to do the work. I would have to hire someone.

To my surprise, hiring someone turned out to be extremely difficult. When I wanted smaller jobs done, landscapers considered it not worth their time. I'd tell them my budget, and they'd practically laugh in my face. Later, when I'd saved up enough money to have major work done, landscapers didn't take me seriously; either they didn't believe I had the money, or they didn't believe I would be willing to spend it on a small, older house.

Everything I tried backfired. I found one landscaper willing to take the job; he used the cheapest materials and did a horribly sloppy job. I had a tree planted; it was too close to the house and caused the basement wall to crack. I hired someone to mow; he decapitated half the sprinklers.

The situation caused me immense distress. I'd look at the yard and want to scream or cry (or both). It was a huge problem I could not solve, and it kept me up at night.

FINALLY, after three years of searching, I found a landscaper who seemed trustworthy and who took me seriously. He agreed to take the job, a complete overhaul of the entire yard - front, back and sides.

It was a tremendous amount of work. He and his helper worked 10+ hours a day for 16 days. The end result? An outstanding job! I'm pretty picky, and the result exceeded even my expectations. Finally, I can look at my yard and smile instead of crying or screaming!

(No, it's not a lush lawn surrounded by a riot of flowering shrubs. But I live in arid Colorado. Green things, especially lawns, require enormous amounts of watering.)


Here are some before and after comparisons. (I didn't paint the house. The color looks darker because the after pictures were taken on a rainy day.)




And here are some before and after pictures of the back yard. The amount of lawn was reduced to about one third, which will save hundreds of gallons of water every year. Much of the yard is pea gravel, which is easy for my small dogs to walk around on.






22 comments:

  1. It's gorgeous! Outside work is very hard (I speak from experience) and if I could afford to hire someone, I would. We've been focusing on other things for the past few years and now we get to start focusing on the yard. I'm both excited and terrified because I know how hard this will be, but after seeing the before and after pictures of your yard, I think it's really helped me. Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Thanks! I had to save up for three years before I could afford to have all the work done. Now I'm on a ramen noodle budget for the foreseeable future. ;)

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  2. I love it looks amazing. I have been quite lucky with contacts fingers crossed apart from kitchen that's that was plastered and now cracking but I thinks to more with movemebt and an old house

    I think your gardens looking looks great and very dog friendly.

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  3. Looks so nice! Makes me want to move into a house. Hard to believe it's even the same place. They did a great job.

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    1. Thank you! They really did work a miraculous transformation.

      It was such a big change, one of my neighbors asked if I was selling the house. He thought I must be upping the curb appeal before putting the house on the market. Ha! No way. I'm staying here to enjoy the new yard!

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  4. Just looks amazingly wonderful. Good to hear that you found a landscaper willing to work with you. I like looking through all your pictures, because they give me hope for when I will finally have my own place for my two daughters and I. Just have to wait a bit longer. Anyway, congratulations on getting your whole yard looking amazing!

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    1. Thank you! I had to wait several years (and make a big change in my circumstances!) before I could get my own house. Hold on to the hope. :)

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  5. LOOKS FANTASTIC!!!!!! Wow! I am sooooo sorry you had to go through all that B.S, but happy that you got the result you wanted and it looks amazing.

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    1. Thank you! I would never have imagined it would be so difficult to hire a landscaper.

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  6. Just gorgeous! They did amazing work. One of these days I will get around to my yard.. maybe.. I love the fact that you made the watering space smaller, too many people want a large lush yard, but the area they live in is not a place which works well with that. I lived up in summit county as well as lake county and while there is more water still it's not as much in rainfall, more snow melt. Plus it's in a forested area, I never under stood that. You moved to the mountains to enjoy the forest then cut it down to put in grass... makes no sense. But anyway your yard looks great, I'm glad you can enjoy it now. Are you thinking of planting any flowers or bulbs? There are some really beautiful purple and black ones.

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    1. Thanks! I agree about the forested areas... Back east, it's common for home builders to cut down all the big trees, then lay sod and plant little twigs that will take 10 years to even resemble trees. Makes no sense. Around here, step one for new construction is relocating the prairie dogs. ;)

      The landscaper planted a few daylilies and some Russian sage, which has purple flowers. If I can keep those alive, I'll look at adding some flowers.

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  7. Nice job.... Next thing is to keep it looking good. You'll need to do a little regular maintenance to keep it fresh and in trim, but well worth it. I too have seen some nice black / dark red plants to keep the goth look in the garden. Here in Scotland we don't have the arid issue so it is a bit esier, but there are some good grass / dry condition plants that are black. Favourite for me here is black tulips, they don't flower for long but just SO goth, doubt they would work in Colorado though....

    Anyway, great job.....

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'll need to do some mowing and weeding once a week or so, but overall, it will be fairly low maintenance.

      Irises generally do well here. I'll probably try some purple irises.

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  8. Ohhhh another thought.... If your pine tree drops needles they are I believe quite acidic and can kill off the grass. May be worth sweeping off the needles, we had a Korean fir ( now gone ) that killed off the grass underneath it.

    C.

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    1. Yes, I'll need to rake the needles off the grass. Pines can definitely kill the grass underneath them. When I bought the house, there was an enormous pine in the front (ridiculously enormous; like half the width of the house). It was heavily damaged in a storm and I had it cut down in 2011. I was left with an obvious "circle of death" covering about 2/3 of the front yard.

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  9. AMAZING... My daughter just bought a house that needs major work done in with the yard. I noticed that you mentioned that you live in Colorado. I hope it's in the Metro Denver area, if so could you PLEASE tell me the landscaper that you hired? Also I just spent 3 hours looking at the awesome things you've done. I just discovered your Blog. Thank You.

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    1. Thanks! I am in the Denver area. If you can please contact me via the contact form or email BaneofGIY @gmail.com, I'll be happy to give you the landscaper's information.

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