Landscaping 101

by Chris on May 22, 2012

Some big things are happening outside, and I thought I’d get you up to speed. This time last year, I left you with this. We were once again doing the landscaping ourselves.

house side

Well, since this was our second time attacking this slope, we did hire a couple of teenagers to help us. And then? That’s the way it stayed. For a YEAR.

landscape edging

A couple of months ago, as we watched some of our landscaping  sheeting blow away like sagebrush in the desert, my husband finally said, “I think it’s time we hire something out.”

clouds parting

After seeding two acres of lawn by hand (with a baby and a toddler) and doing all the landscaping ourselves (twice!), the time had finally come. Time to pay more money than we wanted to in order to sit back and do this–

IMG_9032 landscaping slope

In one afternoon, it took four guys to do what we had tried to do for for eight years. Worth. every. penny.


This is “phase 1” of our plan. Next year involves a couple of patios, stone stairs, etc. But for now, we sit and stare.


We no longer apologize to our guests who wonder why we dug a giant dirt box in our front yard.

landscaping stone

And we no longer feel shame for what our neighbors must think of the mess we had created.

stone retaining wall

Wasn’t this titled Landscaping 101? Here’s the lesson. Pay to have it done.



marie May 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

looks great! and AMEN to the idea of paying. some things just aren’t worth the effort. we had flooring put in and PAID. it took 2 guys 7 hours vs my husband doing it himself in 7 days. WORTH. IT.

Jenny@EvolutionofStyle May 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

I hear that! I’m trying to balance what I can realistically do vs. hire out, and much of it is (finally) being hired out. It’s a process, but things are looking better each day. I’m with you – at one point I felt like we should post a sign in the front yard apologizing/explaining the state of our yard.

I like your Landscaping 101 class – looking forward to more of your teachings. ;-)

Kim @ Plumberry Pie May 22, 2012 at 8:42 am

I AGREE. There are some things it’s just worth having done by a pro!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks great! Do you find yourself walking outside just to go look at its awesomeness?;) I would.
Hope you have a FANTASTIC week!!!!!!! full of sunshine, smiles and laughter – all good stuff!

Kim Porter May 22, 2012 at 9:46 am

hahaha…. looks great!

Efecto Verbena May 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

Where do you live that is that beautiful??? Looks like switzerland in that last pic!

Congrats for the nice landscape from Argentina! LV

Chris May 25, 2012 at 9:44 pm

We live in Michigan (United States). It’s VERY green here in the summer time! Welcome all the way from Argentina! How cool!

Marti May 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

It looks great. I’m ready to dig deep into my pockets so someone else can do the digging here (and design too).

Chris May 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Unfortunately, it’s not cheap, but they certainly earn their keep. It’s hard work, and I’m so glad I didn’t have to do it this time!

polly dove May 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm

AMEN sista!!!! If money were no object, my dream would be to rip up my entire front and back yards and have it done professionally. My yard has become an eyesore … I do a lot of apologizing too!

Angela May 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm

After just spending the entire weekend helping my husband dig up our old giant bushes in front of the house and plant all new landscaping along with shopping for supplies and lugging around a way too heavy new bench, I am so with you on the hiring out. I’m going to show my husband your wonderful retaining wall. We have a similar situation in our backyard and that is exactly what we need (just hoping I’m not the one who has to do it.) ;)

Chris May 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

I hear ya, Angela. Landscaping is HARD work! Good luck with yours!!

{Adventuresindinner} May 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Argh, we are just doing this right now (with a toddler in tow) and I am just about ready to give anybody, any amount of money that they want to do the rest of the job. Two dump trucks of dirt spread, a load of mulch done, plants…

I am feeling incredibly buff though C:

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Ha – I learned this lesson a couple of years ago. Some of the best money ever spent! Yard looks great Chris. May 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Love your curved beds…I’d love to hire someone to do this for us. Maybe next year. Congrats on checking a major project off your list!

Chris May 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Thank you, Jennifer!

Elaine May 23, 2012 at 2:35 am

Your wit… your humor… just like old times. Oh and your landscaping turned out beautiful!

Theresa McCabe May 23, 2012 at 11:17 am

love it, great job and great tip! i will remember that one.

Chris May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Ha! Thank you, Theresa!

Amy May 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Looks great! And that is perfect advise! I love your way of thinking! :)

Liz VanKirk May 24, 2012 at 8:59 am

Oh your so lucky with your hills on the Western side of our State. We are sooooo flat hear that you have to make berms in order to have a hill! Love the boulders too as a retaining wall. I’m a gardener (for my house only) so I know how hard all that work is. Great job!

Liz (Freeland)

Barbara Grooms May 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Oh Chris! Your landscaping turned out fabulous. I have the hill in my front yard, but no cool looking boulders. I absolutely love them. Those large slabs going down the side look great. If stage 1 looks this great, I better get ready to faint to see stage 2. I would do all my exercise just walking around your house and admiring the beauty. Just wonderful! Love you, Mom.

Lauren May 25, 2012 at 7:45 am

I am so jealous! I too am sitting here staring at a half completed landscaping job that we started last summer. I’m sure we are driving the neighbors crazy! It looks great! And now you can spend the holiday weekend just enjoying!

Kacy May 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

It looks great! We had the same thing for a while – a big dirt patch that was our “future garden bed” that we kept telling people was in progress…but in progress for like 4 years! ha ha. We finally gave up and seeded it this year.

How did you decide what plants to plant? Did the landscapers recommend them/provide them? Or did you buy them and just tell them where you wanted them planted?


Melinda May 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Amen sister!!!
Looks great.


Melanie May 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Wow, that landscaping looks great! I agree that sometimes it is worth hiring someone to do the work, especially after you’ve been trying to get it “right” after so many years!

Erin @ How to Nest for Less May 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I will be sharing this post with my hubby tonight :)

Christine June 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

I love this and it looks like what my friend wants to do with his yard! Quick question for you, did they line the boulder retaining wall with anything to “retain” the soil?

Chris June 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Ya know, I don’t think they did, Christine. I’m afraid I didn’t see how they did it, but when I look through the rocks, I don’t see any material, etc. among them. Just dirt. I hope that helps!

sarah June 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Late to this party, but how much does something like this cost? Really curious because it’s just one corner of your house…and there are four! I do my own (lousy) landscaping and would love to have help but am scared to even get an estimate!

Chris June 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Hi Sarah–I sent you an e-mail. Just let me know if you don’t receive it!

Previous post:

Next post: