Thursday, July 24, 2014

Instead of the Gym

Once upon a time at our house last week-

What Niall said:  "It might be nice to get some sunlouners for the garden."
What I heard:  "Let's take on a garden project."

We're making progress on the yard.  Enough so that we have really enjoyed being outside during these fantastic days of sun!

We have a side of the back yard that remains fairly pathetic.  We have plans to put in planter boxes and landscaping, but didn't want to do anything until we decide what we're doing with the (potential) side extension.  

Niall and I sat down and worked out an intermediate plan and a budget (£500).  We wanted to stop waiting until 'someday' and do a bit to make the garden more usable now.  For the £500 we wanted to:

1.  Plant seed for most of the lawn
2.  Put in a pad for the trampoline
3.  Lay pebbles and planters for the side of the house
4.  Get an outdoor table and BBQ

I decided instead of going to the gym I would work on the yard a little bit every morning.  It was hard work and actually had a bit of a result!   It doesn't look like much, but all the soil on the left is the result of the alternate gym activity.  It was had work removing all the overgrowth and grating through the dirt.

Plus the girls liked to come out and help me.

But there was more than the 'instead of the gym' work that needed to be done.  A few days later, our drive looked like this:

We were lucky enough to get four missionaries (from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) volunteer their time and move all the soil, pebbles and pavers from the front drive to the back yard.

Our garage is fairly pathetic (no door or window) so it made for an excellent through-fare for the wheelbarrow.

Here's the summary

Side of the garden:  January 2013 (first viewing of the house)

Side of the garden:  June 2014


Side of the garden:  Now (Sorry, no great visual update as the grass still needs to grow and that garage needs to be painted.)

The trampoline is on a pad and the apple tree has some pebbles (with weed blocker underneath.)

Back/Side of the House (May 2013) (Note the guttering and fairly pathetic side yard backdrop in our impromptu partial family portrait.)


Side of house:  Now  Planters with pebbles.  Maybe we'll put some flowers?  Someday.  (The bottles of water were for the missionaries!  And the blown blockwork was cemented over.)

Back of house:  Now
Finally!  A table and chairs (I've been looking for almost a year for a decent used one.  When we found this new six-seater reasonably priced we finally bit the bullet) and a BBQ.

In case you were wondering, we were using a hodgepodge of side tables, folding chairs and anything else we could find for outdoor dining.

Rear view of side garden (March 2013)

Rear view of side garden (Summer 2013):  Note the big tree!

Rear view of side garden (March 2014):  Big tree was removed, but the side garden is in headed for a weedy, unused future.  Until now!

Rear view of side garden (June 2014)

Rear view of side garden:  Now  Don't look like much, but it's a good foundation if we can get the grass to grow!  It's planted and we're watering it everyday.  For the first time since I've lived in Scotland we are having sun without rain.  (I'm not complaining!)

And the trampoline with its own little pad.  Finally level and in a designated place.  Down the road when the kids grow out of the trampoline we'll put something else on the pad; Small shed?  Hammock?  Actually, Niall is already trying to kick the trampoline off the pad to make way for a garden swing.  So who knows?  

Our budget was £500.   I price compared for everything to try to keep in our budget. We went £38 over, which was pretty much the best £38 spent ever!  It was treats for the missionaries and I do not begrudge one penny.  If they wouldn't have come to help I'd still be wheeling soil!

Paving stones, sand and delivery:  £82  (J.W. Grant )
3 tons of topsoil, 1/2 ton of pebbles, grass seed, weed blocker and delivery:  £207  (Total Turfing)
Outdoor dining set:  £152 (Argos)
Barbecue:  £50 (Argos)
Food/Drinks for free labor:  £37
Lawn Fertilizer:  £10 (B&Q)

Total:  £538

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