April 2, 2014

landscaping, patio, or fence

So here's the deal, this winter has been seriously brutal. It got into record books as the second snowiest winter, and they've been updating those books since 1884. Let me also say that 2010 has a hold on number one, which is only four years ago. This means that my want to have an awesome yard for the spring, summer, and fall months is really a need. It's now April and I haven't done anything house related in what feels like forever. That to-do list is starting to make me cringe.

Since being outside is a priority for us right now, we started to think about our yard and what we could do. While our house may be imperfect and incomplete, it's still looking a lot like home to us. Our yard on the other hand ... it's not home at all. There's giant spiders living in our patchy grass, we have no patio to hang out on, and we have no privacy in our side yard. Everything is really under-cooked and needs some major TLC.

This year we want to get one or two projects done: landscaping, patio, and/or fence. In a perfect world, we'd get it all done at once, but these things are labor intensive and very expensive. A year ago the husband thought we'd do all the heavy lifting ourselves, but he quickly realized how backbreaking landscaping is. He and my brother-in-law took out a bunch of shrubs around our house this summer, and let's just say ... never again.

Here's our pleasant patio: overhead wires, dirt patches, overgrown shrubs, trash cans. Paradise.

Here's what I think:

Here's what it could be:

That's Photoshopped if you can't tell, and that table is not to scale. Joking, joking. Obviously the fence would have some texture, the umbrella would have to be reconsidered because of overhead wires, and we'd place some large pots with tall plants along the house and fence. One of the landscapers said this space reminds her of a cute and cozy back patio you'd find behind a Philly row home. I love that!

Trying to make sense of our awkwardly shaped side yard is also a huge challenge. We thought we would put up a fence around the entire yard, but I found out that we'd have to apply for a zoning ordinance. Our yard is not a true corner lot so we'd need a 30' setback. That's ridiculous. Between the lot shape, the slopes, the existing plants, and the pests eating our shrubs, I realized how little I know about landscaping.

We'll remove the grass near our shed and the shrub at our porch:

Here's a privacy hedge I initially thought would work (Emerald Green Arborvitae):

Here's a more natural looking privacy hedge (Viburnum) that the landscaper suggested:

All this is way over my head so we'll need to really trust the landscapers. That also means we'll need landscapers with some imagination and knowledge ... and probably spend some more money. Tackling this project piece by piece makes the most sense in this order:

1. fence
2. hardscaping
3. landscaping

After doing some online research and seeing what people spend on their landscaping, it seems prices are all over the place ranging from $1,000-$100,000. There are many variables, so we're getting three quotes that are broken into the three categories (fence, hardscaping, landscaping). And no, we're not spending $100,000 on landscaping, that's just crazy.

Getting excited! Can't wait for barbecues and fire pit s'mores!

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