Monday, October 24, 2011

The Smell of Progress

I spent the weekend in the yard. I think the most critical aspect of being a do-it-yourselfer is knowing when not to do it yourself. I'm still searching for that balance but this weekend was definitely a rough lesson in planting.

As I've mentioned before, my yard was dead. It hadn't been watered for years - who knows how many, since the former owner didn't seem to do anything to it. I've seen old photographs that prove there was once grass and trees and flowers, but there is none of that now.

This yard has highlighted one of my worst character traits: indecisiveness. I drew numerous landscape plans of my own and even paid to have a professional one created, but since installing that plan came with a $10,000 price tag, the dream was shortlived.

Winter lawns were created for the indecisive.

I get to test out a lawn for several months - do I want water bills? Do I like lawnmowers as much as I think I do? Am I allergic to the color green when I've lived with a dirt yard so long? These are all important questions that a winter lawn would answer.

So armed with optimism, research from Phoenix Home and Garden magazine and the very helpful advice from countless friends and neighors, I dug in.

The before shot:

I spent Saturday using the SUPER cool edger that I bought...I felt like a character from The Matrix, it was so noisy and powerful. I managed to even keep all my toes - when you're a klutz, you worry about these things.

Sunday morning the true work began. First came the seed. Then the fertilizer. This awesome little tool did the work for me - it looks like one of my nephew's toys but it made me look like I knew what I was doing.

Then came the "topper." Topper is, of course, manure. They have scientific names on the bag but let's just be honest - it smells bad enough to keep even pigeons away. Progress stinks. Literally.

An amazing neighbor loaned me even more groovy tools to help with this process. One looked like a giant Bingo cage - as I rolled it around the yard, it sifted the fertilizer evenly. I've never felt like a human bulldozer before - AWESOME. Another very cool toy filled with water and acted as a miniature steamroller, to pack down the layers and help it hold water in better.

As someone who never listened when people talked about planting grass, I understand why probably no one is still reading this blog post. (Seriously, talking about dirt really can't be that interesting.) Besides, it's time to go entertain myself with the sprinklers again. So I'll leave you with this not-so-beautiful picture of a front yard that now looks like a parking lot. Cross your fingers and hope for sprouts soon!


  1. Wow - the after pic looks amazing! Too bad it smells, it's already such a drastic improvement from dirt that I'm already impressed!

    Side note - your yard will be filled with birds. Don't be alarmed, it happens at our park every day & somehow grass still grows, so apparently they don't eat ALL of the seeds.

    The last thing I want is your neighbors to think you're insane cause you run around flapping your arms frantically to scare the birds away....they'll think your crazy enough even without that factor.

  2. I've been closely watching for birds, so the ship has sailed on me looking like a scarecrow. The good thing is that my friends the feral cats know that birds will come, too...they've been sitting on the sidewalk with tails twitching. There's not a bird in sight while they're standing guard. :)