My July Happiness Project: Curb Appeal (Get Outside)
How is it already August?! July always feels like the fastest month of the year to me. This July was no exception. With July typically having the nicest weather of the year here and with it being the only full month that my husband (teacher) is home, this was the best time to focus our efforts on yard work. Since I knew we would be extra busy with summer activities and scheduled trips, I needed to keep my Happiness Project resolutions simple for July. (If you missed my previous Happiness Project posts, you can find an introduction here and my review of June here.) My single July resolution was to do something, big or small, to contribute to improving our yard everyday throughout the month of July. This could be working on plans, collecting supplies, doing “how-to” research or getting out there and doing some sort of physical labor.
While our house is quite small, the property it sits on is not. Not only is our yard quite large, it also steps down with two steep hills. Our house was purchased and completely flipped before we bought it. We later found out from neighbors that the couple who had previously lived here were hoarders. It didn’t take very long before we discover that the house flippers had done a quick, cheap fix to cover up the previous condition of the yard. Soon we were overrun with weeds and finding all sorts of junk buried under the sod and bark they had laid down to cover the mess. In the first year or so that we lived here, we had to dig up the whole front yard to replace the old, crumbling pipes leading to the sewer. We also had to take down a massive old tree that was dangerously close to the house. Both projects left the front and back yards a complete mess. We were overwhelmed by the amount of work that would be required to clean up the situation. We were also out of extra funds to spend on it. As a result, we have just been avoiding dealing with our unsightly yard for several years now.
Interior projects are my thing (obviously) but exterior landscaping work is completely out of my comfort zone. Plus, my allergies often make working in the yard a miserable experience for me. For all these reasons, I’ve been trying to ignore what’s going on outside the exterior walls of our home. I cannot ignore how much our yard bothers me any longer! I am embarrassed by the unattractive condition of our home’s yard. I imagine our neighbors are not super thrilled about it either. There is so much potential, and we have a ton of ideas for the awesome outdoor spaces we could create. My husband and I decided that the time has come that we need to design a plan and start working towards making our yard goals a reality.
I am happy to say that even with us being out of town for a chunk of the month, we have still been able to make impressive progress this summer. My husband has been putting in long hours of tough physical labor clearing and prepping the soil. There is still so much work to be done and it will be an ongoing process for quite a while. We have a plan and are moving forward. That is what is most important. The projects that we have started are all still in beginning stages so there is not much to share yet. I intend to write separate blog posts for each of our individual DIY yard projects as we complete them. The overarching theme is that we are attempting to accomplish these landscaping projects with a very small budget and being as environmentally friendly as possible. Here is a list of our top yard project goals:
Install The New Shed (This will include building a retaining wall, flattening out the ground area and laying gravel at the new shed site.)
Remove The Old Shed
Clear Out Most Of The Backyard Grass (and weeds)
Build Raised Garden Beds (This will include laying ground cover to prevent weeds.)
Build A Play Structure
Build A Composting Area
Install A Rain Barrel
Landscape The Hills With Rocks and Bee-Friendly Native Plants
I look forward to sharing our progress and the completed projects here (hopefully) soon. As my husband and I continue working on our yard together, my new August Happiness Project resolutions will be focusing on strengthening our marriage. Stay tuned!