Sunday, April 7, 2013

Adventures with FREE landscaping!

This is one "steaming pile" I like to see
in our front yard! ha ha!
The weather is still cool here in Houston, so we decided to take advantage of it and do some yard work. As noted in my previous post, we had a delivery of wood chipper chopped up trees from a tree trimming company dumped on our driveway.It was beautiful, steamy and smelled like a Christmas tree farm with all the pine tree trimmings. It was way more than I anticipated. I'm sure our neighbors were curious what we were doing with this refuse.

My youngest son toted load after load into the backyard. We dumped it where we now have pine bark nuggets that surround our square foot gardens and take up most of our backyard. We made a thick layer. Then we added more. It didn't even make a dent in the pile. Gulp.

We needed to do some work in our side yard. Years ago we had lots of pine bark nuggets there but we had neglected it last year and the weeds were starting to take over. Well, we hired a strong young friend "J" to help us tackle this portion. We had to move rocks from our previous "dry creek bed" landscaping look. We then put a thick layer of newspaper (4-5 layers thick) right over the weeds. Newspaper is amazing stuff. It smothers and kills whatever is below. No need to pull up grass or weeds. 

Then we piled up a very thick layer of our wood chipper delivery. Then we piled on more and walked on top to help it settle. We were careful to keep it well below the bottom of the siding and brick weep holes around the house. We don't want a friendly location for termites to enter the home. It smelled like heaven. I transported an old log from our backyard to this location. It really added a woodsy feel. I added the rocks back to make a "dry creek bed" look. I planted a small fern on the hollowed out end of the old log. I put a little dirt in there to help anchor the fern. I also pulled aside the layer of chipped tree and put a bunch of dirt and compost down to the newspaper. I planted another small fern here. I also had some sheet moss from the decorator store. I put a little dirt in the cracks of the log and pushed the moss here and there on the log. Below are before and after pictures.

The chopped up trees will turn browner as the days go by. It feels very natural and smells just amazing. It is springy to walk on and is a natural fertilizer for the cypress trees in this location. We still have a nice amount of chopped up trees sitting in our driveway. Enough to do the other side of the house. We are awaiting some more newspaper.

The best part? Everything was FREE! The newspaper was from our "extreme couponer" friends (thanks Holly and Renee) and the chopped up trees were courtesy our electricity company's contract wood trimmer. All we did was make an inquiry to our electric utility company via e-mail and Voila! We did pay our young friend, but that was all the money we have spent on this project and it was worth it to have the extra pair of hands.

I am so thrilled. In years to come, we will just need to get another free load dumped and then spread it on top of what we have already done to keep a thick layer. In a few years, if we so choose, we can plant in the mulch which will have broken down enough to support some vegetation. I am thinking blueberry bushes on the other side of the house. Yummy!





Closeup of Fern planted in the hollow end of the log. Added a little moss for effect.

Moss with a little dirt added to bark of the log

Dry creek bed and the log

closeup of moss planted under the bark

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