Summer Landscaping

Last year I made a pact with myself that I would not spend all summer working my tail off here at BHH. When we lived in California, beautiful days were the norm. Now that we live in the frozen north, each sunny and warm day is precious. If you have read this blog for awhile, you know that I am not averse to hard work. However, I am taking back my summer this year. Keeping that in mind, I am trying to choose projects that maximize impact and minimize the amount of time I have to spend obsessing planning and working. I am also keeping the bigger picture in mind. To help keep me focused, I decided to stick to a theme. This summer’s theme is curb appeal, and currently, we are working on the flower beds.

Landscaping – A Look Back

When we moved to BHH in 2014, it was a jungle. (Look at that green house and the indoor/outdoor carpet on the stairs!)

After a couple of afternoons, the flowerbeds looks much tidier.

In some ways, the house looked better back then than it does now. However, there was trouble brewing. The winter of 2014/2015 plus the new roof in 2016 gave the landscaping quite a beating.

Snowvember 2014:

New Roof 2015: The forsythia bush was under that mess. (Please excuse the different photo size. It’s an oldie.)

After the summer of 2015, I pretty much just threw up my hands and walked away. I knew we would get to the landscaping eventually, but we had other priorities indoors and out.

Landscaping – Summer 2017

In February, when Andy and I planned the expenditures for this year, we both agreed to spend some money on curb appeal and our much-neglected property. The current state of affairs is quite sad.

The hydrangea that I planted at the end of summer 2015 continues to thrive. However, I will move the narcissus bulbs (that I did not know existed at the end of summer 2015) this fall. Until then, I will just clip them off at the ground. I plan to add mulch to this bed and finally swap out that window shade with something that matches the new blue exterior paint. (Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore)

Last year, we attempted to plant some perennials in the flowerbed under the big window, but only two of them came back. I have no idea what they are. When they bloom, it might spark my memory, but probably not.

I am going to remove the first twelve inches of the pachysandra (ground cover) and plant a border of impatiens for some quick color. Then, I will add mulch here too.

On the left side of the front porch, I am pulling out all of the ground cover and the wayward grass.

I planted a second hydrangea, but you may not be able to see it. Let’s play spot the perennial. It’s a tiny thing, but it has potential.

Aside from the hydrangea, rhododendron and that evergreen bush on the right, we will clear this bed, and I will fill the space with mulch. (Are you sensing a theme? The word of the day is mulch.)

From the next angle, it is easy so see that the rhododendron bushes have some problems. The center section was destroyed by the snow two winters ago.

Although it makes me cringe a little, I plan to chop off the entire right-hand section close to the driveway and tidy up the center. This bush has been growing for years. It feels sad to give it such a substantial cut, but I think it is the best course of action. We will enjoy the blooms first, though.

The final step for that flower bed is pulling all the weeds, and you guessed it, mulch.

Although the landscaping around the entire house needs an overhaul, this summer, we are sticking to the street side and our favorite side of BHH.

The last flower bed to address is this one.  Yikes!

There are four stumps buried in that mess. Remember when there were pine trees practically touching the house?

We were very pleased with the tree service we used, so I have called them back to take out the stumps. Then, I want all of that gone. I want no part of any of it. The size made sense when the trees were there. We will make a new flower bed that is about half that width. I am not sure which perennials we will plant there, but I think roses and peonies would be beautiful.

My goal, when this is all over, is to have something blooming from spring all the way through fall.

The project will probably take most of the month of June since we are relying on the tree service for the stumps and a landscaping company to excavate the large flowerbed. The actual DIY work should not take more than a weekend or two.

This summer, despite my decreased physical labor load, I will have plenty to share on the blog. I am going where the wind takes me when it comes to working here at BHH. I will have the new podcast for you and a guest room update (finally!) Also, I am working with a friend on a room in her house as well as some odds and ends at my mom’s house during my annual pilgrimage to Missouri.

Finally, today is the actual anniversary of the day we closed on Blake Hill House, and it is our blogiversary too.

It has been three years. Can you believe it?  In honor of this celebration, I would love to hear which topics you would like to read about here on the blog. We should also have a party, right? Is there something you would like to know about BHH or us? Shall I revisit something I have written about in the past? It’s your call. I’m a fairly open book. Please give us a shout in the comments section.





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