Flowers, and vegetables, and plants, oh my!

I’ve mentioned it before that Nick and I live in a heavily treed community, and our lot is no exception. You can see in the aerial photo below, only a very small portion of our roofline is visible through the trees.

While all this shade is great for our summer cooling bill, it’s not great for growing things; a small corner of our backyard doesn’t get any sun during the day, and no amount of trying will make the grass grow.


Thankfully, our front yard gets a bit of afternoon sun and we’ve had much better luck with plants and flowers. We’ve done quite a bit of work in both the back and front yards over the years. When we first moved in we had a small plant bed to the left of our porch that was bordered by a few loosely placed rocks.


A few years ago, Nick and I added a brick border around that bed and added another in front of our porch, which we planted with alternating variegated and nonvariegated loriope (aka monkey grass).


Here’s how it looked a few weeks ago…


We had a few extra bricks from other projects we’ve completed, which we used to tackle another problem area next to our driveway, where we have a row of small shrubs planted. In past years we’ve mulched this area, but the mulch never stays put and mostly ends up in our brick driveway and grass.


So Nick added a border of bricks around this area, which has worked really well to help define the area and more closely match the borders around the other two beds in the front yard.


I took this photo before we mulched the bed, but the brick border is working really well keeping the mulch in place and makes it much easier to mow and trim the grass in this area.


The following weekend, we tackled another problem area in our front yard, which you can see in the picture below. While most of our front yard grass is green and thick, the grass in our greenway was anything but green.

You can actually see below the reason why our greenway was so brown…the street in front of our home is single lane, and our especially wide greenway has turned into a parking lot for delivery trucks.


Here’s a close-up shot of our greenway; the truck tires have caused deep grooves to form, and the grass was completely compacted and dead.


Since I’m not a fan of brown, dead grass I decided to fight back. So Nick and I bought two large whiskey barrels from the home improvement store, which we strategically placed so that delivery trucks could no longer park in this space. Take that Peapod! 🙂

We also loosened the most compacted soil, heavily raked, and reseeded the grass in this area, and while it’s starting to look a bit better we still have a ways to go before we have lush green grass.


We also replanted the containers on our front porch with two new small shrubs (azaleas, which have since bloomed beautiful pink flowers)!

It doesn’t get cold enough in D.C. to fully freeze our container plants, so they continue to need water during winter, but I haven’t figured out the right watering schedule yet and every spring the perennial shrubs I’ve planted have been crispy and dead.


We also planted some caladiums in our other front porch pots (I love shade-loving plants that are colorful too!)


We do most of our back yard flower planting in containers as well, which allows us to strategically place them in areas that get a little bit of sunshine. And of course, we plant hostas everywhere; I’m pretty sure these shade plants could grow in a closet!


We have a small walk-out porch off our kitchen, which gets the most amount of sunlight throughout the day. I’ve had great luck in the past growing herbs in this area, which I planted again this year.


We also bought three new containers and filled them with vegetables – zucchini, two kinds of peppers and tomatoes. So far, the plants are doing really well in this area and have practically quadrupled in size!


After two weekends of outdoor projects, I had one final to-do item on my list. The shrubs in the front bed have grown a lot since we bought the house and they no longer fit the space where the were planted (that stick looking tree in front of the window is a hisbiscus and blooms with the most beautiful pink blossoms all summer long)…as you can tell from the photo below, things were looking a bit crowded on the left.


So I had Nick dig out the large hosta and swap it with the small perennial succulent on the right. I think the end result slooks must more balanced.


I love spending time outside tinkering in the yard during these early warm and sunny spring days, and it’s even more satisfying watching everything bloom and grow!

Anyone else busy planting these days?


One thought on “Flowers, and vegetables, and plants, oh my!

  1. Pingback: Trimming the Trees | Isn't It Sweet

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