Summer Projects

This summer was supposed to be about all the projects we could get done around the house, since our children were finally more self-entertained and we could work on bigger projects without having to worry about nursing and separation anxiety. We started with our landscaping.

Our front yard needed serious help. I mean, it was acceptable compared so some you see, there were plants and flowers and things and I kept it weeded. But there was no style and up against our flat, white, brick house, it was….boring.

Besides spicing up our curb appeal, the new landscaping was supposed to add some water protection. My house is below sea level and we have a basement. Combine that with a high water table and lots of rain and you see rain seepage. Now, I can’t complain, our basement never flooded and since we don’t have city sewer, we weren’t ever worried about the bacteria that could come along with that. But we knew we needed to improve the draining around our house to get the water away from the exterior walls. My husband installed a new drain and some tubing to the gutters and we knew a retaining wall and lots of brick would help out situation.

The before
The before

After some awesome Craiglist hunting by my dad, we found some of the big landscaping bricks for less than $1 each. We took them, even though it meant my husband and my dad had to load up about 200 bricks in our trailer and bring them home.

Mother’s Day weekend, our project began. I removed plants and helped level the ground and my husband and I laid out each brick and glued them together. It took an entire day to get all of the old plants out and another day to lay all of the brick.

We weren’t getting a shipment of dirt until the following weekend so I left some of my more favorite plants in the ground to keep them from dying. Then came the dirt.

We calculated that we needed six yards of dirt for the landscaping so we ordered 10 and we planned to use the rest of it in my vegetable garden and just in low spots around our house. What we did not expect was a mountain of dirt in our driveway. Apparently we over calculated.

This is what 10 yards of dirt looks like.
This is what 10 yards of dirt looks like.

After three solid days of moving dirt, one of which was in the rain, we were finally done (well, except for the small pile that the rain prohibited us from moving, but that wasn’t going in the landscaping anyway). We spent the next week putting in the flowers that we had purchased. This year, we decided to go for annuals. I have lots of perrenials already and I move them around every year, so we figured that until I knew exactly where I wanted everything, the annuals and all of their beautiful colors would help liven up the front of our house. Turns out, all we needed was the bring. We got so many compliments from our neighbors on how different the house looked just with the brick alone. It does look nice. So much more finished and polished.

The best part of the project? Doing it together. We didn’t argue over the project. We worked really hard, sometimes in heat (which I hate) to move a lot of dirt. But it felt like it was such an accomplishment to do something together that really improved our house. Something that we can be proud of for years to come.

The finished product—sure, it’s in here with the before during and after pictures.



Do you like the way I did the photos? Yeah, me too. I used Animoto. If you’d like to win your own Animoto Plus subscription, visit Detroit Mommies to enter the Animoto contest. Oh, I write there too.

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