October 18, 2017

Landscape Challenges, Request for Advice and a Coupon


First blooms of spring

While completely uprooting this city-suburban girl and moving her to the country some seventeen years ago created a fair share of bedlam moment stories, it also created beautiful more ones than I ever deserved.

Yes, I’ve “almost” acclimated to country living and whenever I doubt my decision, which occurs mainly on our drive into “town,” I just step outside, inhale the fresh air, listen to the harmony of birds and let my soul breathe.

Our acreage is breathtakingly beautiful.

So encouraging - The porch that took 17 years to build

I mean post card beautiful, isn’t it? With rolling woods and the wrap arond porch that took 17 years to build, it’s a a dream, until you get to our lawn.

How hard is it to care for a lawn?

Well, if you take lessons from us, incredibly difficult. I am “sure” it has something to do with our wooded acreage all around us, but it’s been years since we have had beautiful grass to walk on. We’ve tried. We really have, but it’s beenย  challenge. This is our year to change all that.

Having finally completed our front porch, landscaping is our next outdoor priority. It’s embarrassing to admit, but we haven’t done much since we built our house and the porch has been completed for nearly one year and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, even without any landscape, but again, we’re ready.

The beautiful outdoors before any landscaping

When we called a lawn guy to come tell us what to do and he pretty much informed us there was no help for this aspiring lawn.

Yes, his exact words, “Kill it all first and then start over.”

Then he quoted me an astronomical price for what he’d charge to do the killing and I knew it was the perfect time to give Spectracide a try. I will be using this weed and grass killer to begin anew and hopefully at this time next year, I’ll feel lush grass between my toes.

I am thrilled with the fact Sprectracide kills in as little as 3 hours, works straight down to the root and is offering a great coupon and rebate. In our side yard, we have some Poison Ivy growing and that needs to be attacked immediately. There is no waiting around when that comes into play and this will do the trick quickly.

I’ll be honest; tackling our yard is pretty much an overwhelming task for me, so I’ve broken it down into layers of what I can do on my own and then those tasks for which I need help.

This back yard area I can attempt on my own and that is what I plan on doing first.

Taking on some landscape challenges

This area where my table sits is my project over the next month or so. I need to kill all the weeds, add mulch, add additional shade plants and possibly a border and create something cute in that spot. I think it will be beautiful and serene. The perfect place for a little tea party.

Spring landscape projects

First, this tree needs to go. Years ago, we had the huge oak cut down due to the possibility it might land on our house. I told the men to keep the base because it would be a great tree house base for our young boys. Well, that tree house never got built. They climbed it a few times, but now it houses all kinds of country critters that you don’t want to see pictures of here on this blog. Our 18 year old son has been tasked with taking a chain saw to it.

For the front yard, I am going to enlist someone with an extensive knowledge of plants to draw up a design for area around our porch, but we will do the work. I know my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to tackling outdoor DIY and some one needs to tell me what plants flower year round and which bushes grow to certain heights etc. If I tried it on my own, the result would be a mismatch of plants and bushes.

Sand volley ball court before landscaping

Lastly, we’ll be getting the area surrounding our sand volleyball court a grooming. Yes, we have more outdoor work than I can possibly tackle this summer, but it’s all about baby steps, right?

It’s the perfect time of the year for you to give some outdoor gardening a try. I can’t even tell you how much I love having cut flowers and a cut flower garden is #1 on my wish list, not to mention spending time outside is just a therapeutic way to spend the weekend.

What are some of your outdoor spring time plans?

Anyone want to come help me figure out what to plant? What are your favorites that I should include in our yard? A few of you gave me some wonderful suggestions for around the porch and I’m starting my list.

To all of my yard warriors, whether you are after a total yard overhaul or just want to keep your yard looking its best, visit the Spectracide Facebook page for tips and savings to get started.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Spectracide. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. Sara Breeggemann says:

    I am in the same boat as you. With a 10th grader, I am looking ahead to her grad party in 2 years & need to start getting our yard whipped into shape. I’m looking into the Spectracide. Our main concern is that we have chickens we let roam the yard when we are home. I don’t want to put anything down that would be harmful to them. I also need someone to tell me what to plant & where. I’d like it to be as low-maintenance as possible as I have a black thumb. I can grow veggies, but not great with flowers. Especially potted things! Good luck!!


    Jen Reply:

    Ok Sara – Here’s the deal. As soon as I get all my recommendations and a plan drawn up, I’ll share it with you and you can just copy what they told me to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s the best kind of landscaping. We’ll just do what they tell us.


  2. Our big yard plans involve building raised garden beds, adding a paved fire pit/hang out area, and painting/staining our deck! The hubster is itching to get back there and start working!


  3. Make sure you use the right products in the right places. A systemic chemical meant for grasses may not be the right thing for a broadleaf like a clover or dandelion or something woody like a poison ivy. You could end up spraying and spraying and spraying and getting nowhere. If the stuff you’re referring to kills in 3 hours, that is mixed pretty hot, hotter than we’re allowed to use in ag.

    Something I miss from when I lived in the south is azaleas. We had beautiful ones when we lived in Louisiana, and I remember how they practically glowed in some lights. A dwarf variety would be lovely around your porch. Sigh.


    Jen Reply:

    Oh yes, azaleas and hydrangeas are my favorite and so far the only thing on my agenda. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have two tiny azaleas planted now. Hoping they will grow.


  4. Again we have some similarities. We don’t live in the country, but as I mentioned in my flooring comment, our house is almost the same age and we have struggled with growing grass ever since we moved here as well. And this is the year that I decided I WILL improve it!!! I want to enjoy our outside!!! I also got a quote that sent me down the “I am just going to have to learn how to do it myself” path. Since we just replaced the floor with laminate (which wasn’t cheap) and now I REALLY want a new recliner for the living room (the recliner we have is my Grandma’s old hand-me-down). We can’t afford both. Then there is the deck I’ve been wanting forever. 7,000 for a simple deck with no railing? No thank you. I’m laying flagstone myself. I’m going to fix the grass problems. I AM! (Not to self: repeat this phrase over and over until it is believed!) I don’t have a handy husband so this is truly a do-it-myself goal, but after remodeling our master bath all by my lonesome, I CAN.


    Jen Reply:

    We are twins!! My husband isnt’ handy either. Amazing man, but the do it yourself and outside stuff is just not a priority, so I am with you. If I want it done I need to do it. The flagstones sounds wonderful! For our deck, I planned a deck building party for my hubby’s 40th bday. Oh yes, I did. I aske friends to donate a few hours of their day to help with this surprise project. It was built in a day and everyone stayed to help. It was the best thing ever. Tackling the master bath? Not sure I can do it, but it has to be done since we have a leak in our wall. Yep…they will need to tear the bathroom apart to fix it. ๐Ÿ™


    Andrea Reply:

    @Jen, Jen, you CAN do your bath! If you’re curious about how our bath turned out, I posted a pic on FaceBook….my name is Andrea Burns Shuman. I know that your leak makes your situation different…I was able t ouse all of our old, cheap stuff and you probably will have to actually replace…regardless, I’ve spent time on your website and completely confident that you can and will do a great job on it”!!! I look forward to seeing how your yard looks at the end of the summer (mine too!)


    Jen Reply:

    You are so sweet!! I do not feel nearly as confident about my abilities as you do. I love to paint etc, but the actual tiling and cabinets….we’ll see. I want to learn to tile since I want to do my kitchen in subway tile backsplash and this may be a good place to practice since NO ONE comes in our bath. Which is a little why I am bummed to have to put so much money into it. We won’t sell. This is our forever house, so I am not thinking resale. I’ll let you know. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. You’ve got a lot of big spaces to fill in your garden! How do hostas fare in your yard? Here, the deer think they are salad, but it you don’t have deer issues you might try Humpback Whale Hosta – it is new this year so get it NOW or you’ll miss out (White Flower Farm is already sold out) but it is SEVEN feet across so it’s a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ – and it’s so eye-catching! Since you hope to use your property as an event center one day, you’ll want low-maintenance and high impact – since you have a lot of shade you’ll have lots of pretty plants to choose from!


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