Showing posts with label lawn repair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lawn repair. Show all posts

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Landscaping Solution for Areas Where the Grass Won't Grow

Our Front Yard Fix - My DIY Stepping Stone Solution
When You Want to Keep Your Trees but Can't Keep the Lawn

If you don't have to, don't cut down the trees.

Let me start by saying that I'm not a gardening expert. 

However, I did manage to pull off this DIY. Review the photos featured here to get a good look at the results.

Over 20 years ago we moved into our home in a new tree-less development. Other than the one tree the city provided, the yard was simply grass and a builder's walkway.

Landscaping was a must for us so we got busy planting trees and had a lovely interlocking walkway put in around the home.

My husband picked a tree he liked, a Birch Tree, and I picked a tree I liked, a Blue Spruce. We had both planted in the front yard with the birch tree surrounded by a small island featuring easy to care for Juniper. 

We put Boxwoods along the walkway, cedar trees on each side of the garage doors and a Bristol
A Close Up of Part of the
Front Yard
Ruby Weigela by the porch. On the other side of the driveway we had an English Oak Tree planted, which today, is magnificent.

For the back yard we planted about 50 cedar trees around the fence. You can see pictures of the backyard here with some gardening tips here.

In those early years, the trees were essentially our height or lower so keeping the lawn green and healthy was never an issue, until the trees became very large and as you can well imagine the little bit of exposed lawn in the front yard turned into a disaster.

One Day, I Decided that Was IT! No More

LOL I'm not exaggerating. One day about ten years ago I arrived home from work and solicited the help of my sons to do some Diy landscaping. Off we went to the local Home Depot to purchase the stepping stones you see in the photos. 

I chose bigger irregular stepping stones for most of the what was left of the lawn area, and smaller ones to go in front of the island. 

Not wanting the dirt to show between the stepping stones and not wanting to wait for planted ground cover to grow, I choose small red gardening rocks to fill in the cracks.

The only thing I forgot to do was to line the area with a protection barrier fabric to prevent the weeds from growing through the stones. But that's ok, I just dig out the weeds between the stones from time to time. It's good exercise, in fact I just did it again the other day.

A Closer Look - DIY Stepping Stone Fix
Also, to finish the look I put red cedar wood chips around the bushes and along the walkway. 

Was This a Hard DIY?

No. Since the lawn was mostly gone, there wasn't much digging to do to get the yard ready to receive the stepping stones. We poured the small red colored rock between the stones. Oh, and my sons did the heavy lifting.

Had I Ever Done This Type of Work Before?

No. I was totally inexperienced. The only advantage I may have had was that in my real estate years I had seen a great deal of property, and thus had a lot of visual assistance stored in the back of my mind.

What Tips Would You Give?

The most important aspect, at least for me, was to look carefully at the yard to roughly determine the
A Section of the Backyard Along the Fence where
the Grass doesn't Grow - These stepping stones are NOT
positioned close together on purpose!
size of the stepping stones needed and then do a bit of math to establish how many stones to buy.

It's easier to be as exact as you can than to continuously go back to the store to get additional stepping stones. However, I didn't get it right the first time either; I ended up at the store twice.

Also, install enough stepping stones. In other words, don't try to save money by spacing them too far apart so you won't need as many.

The closer together they are, the better the finished product will look. Plus, having them closer together means fewer red colored rocks.

What Did this Project Cost You?

Ok.... Remember this was done around 2008. My estimated price for the work I personally did was about $1000(ish) Canadian. Of course that doesn't include the trees or the professionally installed walkways. That money includes the stepping stones, cedar red chips, and red colored rocks. No labour costs, as of course, it was a DIY.

Don't be afraid to try this, it's a lot easier than it looks. I am not an expert and managed, so I'm sure you could as well. The photos really don't do this DIY justice :)

This is a recent photo (2018) - Stepping Stones still Holding Up Nicely, 10 Years Later






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Sunday, July 8, 2018

How to Bring English Ivy Back to Life - A Review of What Worked

How to Repair English Ivy
Let me start by saying, I'm not a gardening expert.

What you'll find here is something I tried from an online search on how to bring English Ivy back to life … and it sounded too simple, but it freaking worked!

I can't guarantee you'll have as much luck as I did, but considering how easy it was, perhaps you'll be able to restore your Ivy as well? It's worth a try.

I've included a couple of videos, both taken just recently in 2018: One shows the disaster that our Ivy became this year, along with patchy, blotchy lawn.

The other video shows the results of new lawn growth and Ivy growth after using the two products indicated below.

BEFORE: Take a Look at the Disaster of our Ivy this Year. You'll also see the Lawn before the Repairs. What a Mess!



What Killed the Ivy You Ask?

The Ivy that surrounds our back patio has been there, without ever dying, since we had the patio installed in the early 1990s. I've NEVER had to repair it. The Ivy has always been a reliable patio ground-cover support.

We chose Ivy because it's maintenance free and has been so until this year, 2018.

So what took the life out of our Ivy? It could have been the harsh winter we just had, but I doubt that as we've had many harsh winters over the past twenty plus years. Or it could have been dog urine. We recently had a lovely dog visitor over the winter and he enjoyed choosing the Ivy to do his business on. Quite frankly, we suspect it was the doggie urine.

What Did We Do to Repair the Ivy?

The big secret was Miracle Grow. Honestly our Ivy was so bad that I really didn't expect it to work. After searching online for what to use to revive the Ivy, the most consistent response Google kept kicking back was 'Miracle Grow'. So I gave in, and tried it.

AFTER: Take a Look at the Ivy and Lawn After the Repair was Done this Year!




There's a Few HOWEVERS Though

1. However, as mentioned above, each year I repair our lawn with Scotts EZseed Patch and Repair. Scotts EZ is a combination of Mulch, Seed and Fertilizer.
Here's the Ivy fully Repaired - The Lawn Growing Nicely

I highly recommend Scotts EZSeed!

Every year I buy several large bags and spread it along the perimeter of our cedar trees and on the dry dead patches of our lawn.

The cedar trees suck the life out of our lawn, so after replacing our lawn three times over the past several decades, I decided to consistently repair it year after year instead. Best decision.

Also, I  did try another brand of Lawn Repair and Scotts was far superior.

The reason I mention the Lawn repair is because who knows whether the fertilizer in it somehow enhanced the Miracle Grow on the Ivy. Not being a gardener, I have no idea, but thought you should know.

2. That's not the only fertilizer in our yard. Each year I also put 36 Tree Fertilizer Spikes in the ground around the cedars. You can read about how awesome that works for the trees here.

So in summary, our annual routine is normally tree fertilizer spikes and Scotts EZSeed Repair for the lawn, but this year's disaster with the Ivy called for Miracle Grow to repair it, and it worked!

Here's What the Ivy Looked Liked Last Year and Every Year Before that - Before the 'Dead Ivy' Crisis of 2018.

We've restored the Ivy again and it's Well on it's Way to Looking Like it has for over 20 Years




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