Landscaping: JaG Style

by Chris on May 31, 2011

I’m not gonna lie. I love my house. While I definitely have complaints about how much work we have to do because my husband we wanted to live on a large piece of land, I do love how it looks when that work is finally complete. Well, it’s never complete…you know what I mean.

colonial house

Because my husband is so cheap we wanted to save money, we put in the entire yard and landscaping by ourselves. With a 1-year old and a 4-year old. We’re crazy. While I was tolerant of the side landscaping we did, I was never thrilled. It wasn’t to scale with our yard and house, and we started to let it go because of our frustration.

landscaping before

Last fall, I took it upon myself to start ripping up the landscaping to redo it. This is how far I got. Let me be clear for you. This was HARD work. So I left it at that. Spray painting something is way easier.

landscaping before

The weather finally started to break this year, so I threw out an ultimatum for my husband. He does well with those about 50% of the time. It was the risk I was willing to take. It was either “hire a company to finish it up for us” or “hire a couple of my students to help us”. I’m sure you can guess which one he chose.

slope landscaping

It took us two afternoons, and we’re not even close to being done. Thanks to my brilliant plan, we extended the landscaping by about 10 feet. Husband asked, “Why?” I responded with, “So it’ll meet up with the patio you’re going to put in next month.” The element of surprise, people. I’ve always got it.

curved landscaping

Here are the “four men” hard at work. A.k.a student hard at work, son eating an ice cream, husband opening an ice cream, Nemesis waiting for his ice cream to be swallowed whole.


Wanna see the progress? It may not seem like we did very much, but this is SUCH a daunting job. Digging and edging and shoveling and raking. I think it’s turning out beautifully, and I can’t wait to start planting! It’s gonna be priority #1 for awhile, so you’ll just have to bare with me. landscaping hill

Speaking of transformations, here is the Nemesis on day one of landscaping. So handsome, right? This is his “I’m looking at you with one eye, your student with the other eye, and my ears are listening to the kids playing behind me” look.

bull mastif

Day two of landscaping. I have no words.

junkyard dog





I’m off to take a bottle of motrin and sit in a bath of aloe vera. I hope you had a great weekend!



Kristen @ More Than Mulberries May 31, 2011 at 5:13 am

What a JOB!!! But I can see where you needed something more to scale – I’ll bet those kids were happy to earn the money and eat ice cream, eh, er, work! It looks great so far – I’ll bet you’ll be sitting pretty on your new patio sipping lemonade before you know it and talking about how you should have done all this sooner! :)

pavani reddy May 31, 2011 at 6:26 am

ur home z beautiful..n Nemesis is rocking

Jennifer May 31, 2011 at 8:41 am

Wow, I hear ya! My husband and I do 98% of our own landscaping because it’s sooo expensive! And it is so expensive because it is such hard work!!! It looks great. I can’t wait to see pics of it all finished!

Lisa from Paint in My Hair May 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

I’m seriously impressed. I’m a do-it-yourselfer in almost every area, but I HATE yardwork with a passion. I go out there with such good intentions and within 5 minutes I’m in a foul mood and hating life. I wish I had some students to help!

Beth@A2Z May 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Oh how I love you! I needed that laugh this morning! You’re gift of humor is a blessing to many (and especially me :). Can’t wait to see your yard and future patio all gussied up!

Screaming Meme May 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I AM so PROUD of you!!!! I know how hard that work is…it is looking fantabulous! Can’t wait to see what you plant…:) And Nemesis…is a doll…gorgeous dog!

I am having a Chalk Paint Giveaway (2 cans)…though I know you are not in the painting mood…You will be after your garden and PATIO (heehee) is complete…:)


Chris May 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Is anyone ever not in the painting mood?? I’m off to check it out! That paint’s expensive, so it’s a great giveaway!

Kim @ seven thirty three May 31, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Landscaping is tough! When we moved into our house the previous owner was a green thumb and enjoyed gardening. We had bushes lining our driveway, to gardens in the front corners of our yard, a garden in the front center of the yard, one along the front, side and back of the house. It looked gorgeous the first year we lived there and not so much since. I do not have a green thumb. I know NOTHING about landscaping AND there were Lily of the Valley planted which is super aggressive and was starting to come through our driveway! I was also pregnant the first few years living in the house (or dealing with a newborn) so I was not in the mood to get on my hands and knees to weed and go that extra mile. We have since torn out a bunch of it and last year we tore out the Lily of the Valley with a backo (although we missed some so will have to do it again) and this year we actually hired a landscaper to come in, make it look pretty and plant bushes that have minimal care! I’m happy I did because it is back to looking PURTY and I know I can maintain it now (only 4 landscaped areas to take care of now!!!). ;)

Your house is BEAUTIFUL and your landscaping is definitely getting there as well.

michelle May 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I am so anxious to see what you do! I love your style. Funny thing, our front yard looks similar to yours. We are having deer trouble and I am threatening to pull everything out!

Kelli May 31, 2011 at 12:58 pm

It looks great! And look how green and pretty your grass is! We landscaped our front yard a few years ago and it was a lot of hard work…but my hubby did most of it:)

Celeste May 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I love your house! So pretty. We don’t really have that style of home here in Florida, unfortunately!

Chelsy May 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Looks awesome! I can’t wait to see what you decide to plant.

Lynette May 31, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Oh, I love your house, and I love your yard. In a few years, I’m sure I’ll have the same problem because we (my husband) wants a large yard. It’s looking good! I can’t wait to see what else you do with it.

Karri May 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Oh wow! Its going to look so beautiful when its all planted!!!!
Love the doggie :)

Kaye May 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm

WOW that is a BIG job; but I don’t have to tell you that! I can’t wait to see more pictures of the progress and the patio!!!!!

Great job!

Sheri May 31, 2011 at 3:43 pm

So you are fried from a weekend of yard work too,eh? I swear I am changing my name to Lobster Girl. I am so red. And achy. But the yard looks..umm…decent.

Yours looks awesome by the way!

susan May 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm

OMG, sister girl, I feel your pain-we spent out loverly Memorial day weekend backhoeing, rototilling, and resetting pathway pavers in the front “yard” ( read: dirt plot).

OMG, it is back breaking work, and yes we are on a budget, so we do all the work ourselves…house was abandoned for two yrs before we bought it, so yeah…lots of work to do!
Landscaping is like childbirth-worth it when it’s finished, LOL

-minus one half day, Saurday, celebrating my birthday with dinner and a concert-

debbie May 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Hi-been visiting your blog for a while but never commented before. You have a lovely home and your yard is HUGE and looks AMAZING!! Your very funny too-had to laugh about your husband and dog comments-very cute!!!

Chris May 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Well I’m so glad you decided to comment! Thank you for doing so! If only my kids and husband thought I was so funny. :)

Valerie May 31, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I feel ya! My husband and I dug, edged, leveled… about a 20′ x 4′ section last year. It was a long process. We really need to mulch again this year but just the thought of working in that spot in the yard makes me curl up into a little ball. Now that our house is on the market I’m sure we will be looking at more back breaking work in our future. Yay?

Ashley | Domestic Fashionista May 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I think it looks great! You can most definitely tell a difference! We did some heavy yard labor last summer so I can very much appreciate the work that has been done so far. Doing the yard yourself is A LOT of work…but so worth it in the end. Just think about how wonderful it will be next year to REALLY enjoy it! That is what we are doing this year…enjoying all that hard work!

Nancy P May 31, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Oh.My.God. but your house/yard is beautiful!!!!!!!!!! I want to go there on vaction and just lay in a hammock all day!

Chris May 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Ha! Perhaps you can pull some weeds when you’re tired of laying there?? Thank you!!!

Chris May 31, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Well that sure was nice! Thank you not only for pinning it, but for telling me too!

Rachelle @ Fingerprints on the Fridge May 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm

A bottle of Motrin. Hahahahahaah that made me laugh. OUT LOUD.


So much work but it’ll be SO pretty! Looks like you’ll have a fun (dirty) summer ahead of you. Whoohoo!


Lucy May 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

I follow your blog in my google reader. Just wanted to share an idea to speed up the process and help the new plants get a great start. Have some black dirt hauled in – about 3-4 inches deep. It be easier to plant and your new plants will thrive in it. You won’t have to dig up the grass underneath. You could kill the grass under first, but we’ve done it both ways and found it didn’t matter. The grass eventually dies. Also makes it easier to make the beds wider where you need it.

I had several large beds when we lived in N.C. and they were all done this way. We created a few new beds each year to spread out the cost. I eventually edged all of it with red bricks set in mortar. You can see a few pictures of the beds @ different times of the year in this blog post I wrote shortly before we moved.

Good luck – and have fun.

Chris June 1, 2011 at 1:21 am

Thank you so much for your advice! I just checked out your flower beds, and they are just gorgeous! I’ve saved the pictures to help me with my planting!

Jen @ The Decor Scene June 1, 2011 at 3:33 am

It’s going to be gorgeous when you are finished. We have pretty much done all of our landscaping also, so I completely feel your pain, though we do not have the same large property as you do. But digging is digging, no matter how big the yard. ;-)

Handy Man, Crafty Woman June 1, 2011 at 3:51 am

oh, how I hate yard work. Good thing Handy Man knows how to do all that stuff, and likes it!! we had to dig up a smallish area, and I couldn’t BELIEVE how long it took, gaaaaah! Looks good so far!

Jenny@EvolutionofStyle June 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm

You are CR-ACKING me up! We had a similar weekend, and spent an entire day working in the yard, but you would never know by looking. It seems like *mountains* of work needs to be done to make an impact, and I just prefer indoor projects to outdoor ones. We have a landscape pond in the back yard, and it is a disaster – a pondstrosity – that I actually blogged about today. :-) Great minds.

The yard is going to look great though – big improvement already. When you’re finished with those students, will you send them my way?

And your dog – love him. Are you a dog whisperer? Because I think you’re zoning in on his doggie brainwaves. Reminds me of my own. ;-)

Piggy Giggles June 2, 2011 at 2:35 am

I’m right there with you. I’ve been working on our backyard…it has a long way to go until it’s tame!

Rob June 2, 2011 at 10:11 pm

I like the hired help. That’s what I did; paid a neighbor to weed for me. He got money for scout camp and I got my planters cleaned! :)

Elaine June 15, 2011 at 6:15 am

I cannot stop laughing. The day 1 and day 2 photo of Maximus along with your comments…classic! I can no longer get your blog at work (perhaps because of the wordpress change?) so I’m catching up here at home and loving it. The landscaping is coming along beautifully. Enjoy your summer, Chris.

Chris June 16, 2011 at 3:46 am

Oh, I’m so bummed to hear that Elaine. My work can be picky about what can be viewed too, so I can understand the frustration. ;) I’m glad you’re catching up, though! Glad I could make you laugh!

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