Sunday, April 20, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Super Man and I are on a mission. Well, Super Man is on a mission anyway - I'm just going along for the ride. ;)

Our yard has looked like hell since we moved into our house seven years ago this June. And I say that with 100% sincerity.

Our house was a dump and the yard was even worse. An overgrown jungle of weeds, a ton of dead and crappy trees (which I think were once weeds that just grew out of control), knee-high grass... It was a total mess. However, because the house itself needed so much work, by necessity the yard had to take a backseat. After awhile, we really didn't think about it much either. We were just so used to focusing our efforts inside the house that we didn't care much about the outside.

I should mention that the property originally had a large, old, diving-depth pool in the backyard which had, unfortunately, been horribly neglected during the years the prior owners had the property, and we ultimately determined that it would cost us a fortune to salvage it, so we opted to fill it in instead, and have a bigger backyard. Sometimes we regret that decision, especially on those hot, humid days of summer when we'd kill for a quick dip in a pool to cool off, but most of the time we love having a big backyard for the Super Kids and Super Dog.

Once Super Man got around to renovating the exterior of the house and made it look beautiful, we turned our attention - finally - to the yard and were mortified by what we saw: What had been a jungle when we first bought the house was by then full-blown anarchy. It was awful. It made us feel sick to our stomachs just to think about how to go about tackling that mess.

We started small. We called a tree guy and had him come out and remove the obvious arboreal problems in the front yard. That alone made a huge difference - at long last, we and our neighbors and the traffic passing by could actually see our house from the sidewalk or road! For the first time in our years of inhabiting our house, when we told people where we lived, they didn't automatically say, "Oh, you mean the white house next to the library?" That's how bad it had been - our house had been so obscured by the overgrown yard for so many years that most people didn't even realize our house was there behind all of it. Of course, painting the house RED didn't hurt either; prior to Super Man's exterior renovation and repainting, the house had been sided in a horrible ugly green aluminum siding that just sort of blended in with the foliage.

From there, we started using heavy duty pruning shears and cutting back some of the smaller brambles and bushes that had sprouted from weeds. We put in an actual concrete driveway to replace the dirt driveway, and did a little work on the north edge of the driveway, creating a nice area for planing flowers and shrubs. Two years ago, we hired an aspiring independent landscaper to come out and create a few berms in our front yard on which he planted more bushes and shrubs, to provide a little sound buffering from the street noise. For once, our yard actually looked more like a yard than the jungles of South America.

Last year we put forth a little effort on the lawn, trying to repair the damage done by Super Dog and neglect. It didn't work very well and we spent the majority of the year with bare patches on our back lawn, and not a whole lotta green growth in the front yard. That, my friends, is the impetus for Super Man's desperate mission in 2008 to finally get some grass to grow on our godforsaken lawn!

We've spent hundreds of dollars on grass seed, ground cover, our water bill (eek), and I don't even want to think about the cost of our time spent on all of this! We also decided - okay, I decided - that we needed a little more oomph in our yard, a little more color, a little more excitement. Oh, and um, some of the plantings that the aspiring independent landscaper put in also died, which meant we had, like, FOUR dead bushes hanging out in the front yard. Nice curb appeal, eh? So we spent a few hundred more on new bushes, some cute little arbor vitas for the back yard, and LOTS of flowers. We've spent the past three weekends - and I've spent many weekdays in between - planting, weeding, shoveling, grating, raking and watering all manner of plant life.

I'm proud and relieved to say that it's shaping up, my friends - it is shaping up. At least the back yard is. The front yard, well... we really need to chop down a few more trees so we can get some darn grass to grow! Stupid grass...

Anyway, I think I can safely say that my dad, the king of the well-groomed yard, is going to crap his pants when he sees how much better our yard looks this year than last. Which would really be the ultimate compliment he could pay for all our hard work.

I'm gonna go take a nap now.

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