Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Curb Appeal--Real Life

I often wonder (as everyone does, I'm sure) "what my dream job would be?" 
Well, I DO love my current jobs. .but I'm a passionate kinda gal. .and I like LOTS of things.
One thing that I think would TOTALLY rock, is being a landscape designer. .for someone who has lots of money and doesn't mind spending it. And one that also has a garden laborer--who doesn't mind digging holes and moving heavy rocks and hardscaping. .cause I'm getting too old for that.
Last weekend I took my first crack at the job. .and helped my sis and her husband with the front of their house.  It was a ton of fun for me. .and because it rains there-I didn't even mind digging in the dirt.
They had some big 'ole nasty shrubby bushes covering up the whole front of the house--I didn't even know what they were.  Chris took those out a few weeks ago and did a little dirt work the day before we got there.  Kristi sent me pictures and dimensions several weeks ago so I could see what would fit and get some ideas.  Then she went to the local nurseries before I got there, so she could take my ideas and decide which plants she liked best. 
Saturday morning we turned loose of all the kids and husbands and went shopping.  We got a great deal on the shrub.  It is a Colorado blue spruce. .Fat Albert to be specific.  He grows about 15-16 foot tall and not quite that wide.  This guy was out back--the tallest they had--but a little neglected.  They gave her a 75% discount--plus a 6 month warranty.  I think they can easily make it grow.  When we pulled it out of the pot, it was easy to see why it was looking a little rough.  The roots were so bound in there, it wasn't even funny.  I showed her how to snip, cut, and tease them out so they will grow down into the ground now, instead of in a circle.  I'll owe her 50 bucks if it dies!
We filled in one side with mums in her favorite mum colors.  On the other side we planted two tallish grasses, as well as Crazy daisy shastas, purple catmint (Napeta walker's low) to sprawl up toward her sidewalk, and some purple salvia. Because Uncle informed us when we got back that we hadn't spent the whole allowance (only because I didn't ask and she didn't volunteer that information) I think she will go back and get some more smaller mums to fill in.  I think they will love the vibrant green grasses with the blue of the spruce, complemented by the whites, yellows, and purples of the periennials we planted. 

We finished the project by stealing her super cool birdhouse and bath from the backyard and putting them in the front display.  We worked on the project with a limited budget.  Because of that, we opted to fill in the bed starting closest to her front door.  As time marches on, they can gradually add a section at a time to fill in the rest of the bed.  As it works toward the right side of the house, it gets much shadier and will require different types of plants.  Chris and I talked about some dirt work and edging effects they could try.  We both got pretty excited about the possibilities.  They have the perfect setup to make a dry creek bed to carry the excess rainwater down the hill and away from their house.  I'm a little jealous, because I would love to put one in at my house--but the ideas and logistics haven't hit me yet.  So I can't WAIT for them to get to that part of their makeover!
So, for less than $200, we were able to really improve the curb appeal of their home!! And the best part for her?? The consulting fee was only 2 pina coladas and a couple red beers!!
It don't get no better than that!!


  1. You did good! I'll bet that spruce does just fine. She gets more rain obviously, but she may need to water it this winter as long as the ground isn't frozen so it doesn't dry out. Pretty mum colors. Starting at one end of the bed and doing more as time and money allows is smart. You could do small scale landscape designing. I'm with you on wanting a garden laborer. My husband is awesome but I tire him out too much to want to do other projects when I have him move big rocks and stuff. Please post updates next year on your sister's new landscaping.

  2. I think it's gonna look great! I bet that spruce will make it. A 75% discount and 6-month warranty are worth the try. I love the birdhouse.

  3. That's nice to see a yard improved. Love the Spruce! I sure hope it grows alright. I like that idea of a dry creek bed for run-off water.

  4. Looks great!! And sister time too! Doesn't get much better than that!

  5. I just love driving up to my house and seeing the beautiful landscape. Thanks for the help!


  6. aw, that was so sweet of you to go and help your looks like you guys did a great job. Hope the pine tree survives! It probably will not that it is out of that constricting pot and in the earth!

  7. I water my trees in the winter. Zone 5/6 usda or 35/41 Climate Zone. And you'll only owe her money if it dies in six months!
    I think your plans look GREAT!