Get ready y’all, this is a Big One!
When I last left you I told you that we were able to have the concrete poured that we needed and we finished staining the fence.
This is what that all looked like when it was finished. The stain color is from Lowe’s. It is Dark Mahogany by Olympic in a semi-transparent finish.
I will say that it did take A LOT of stain to cover the fence, much more than we were expecting. Because we had to stain both the interior and exterior of the fence and it really soaked in, we used about 4 of the large 5 gallon cans. When it was all finished though, we loved it.
Next up came the yucky part, addressing those drainage issues.
After watching the standing water following the rains we determined that we needed to install French drains in a “u” shape, with each stem of the “u” going from the gutters on the corners of the house towards the back fence. Then we needed to tie those into another drain that would run parallel to the fence and along the back yard to a sewer drain just outside of our fence.
This whole drainage thing took a lot of work, lots of digging, lots of hauling rock, then putting it all together with the perforated pipes and drain boxes. Because we did it all ourselves and between work schedules, travel schedules, and other commitments – life happens; this part took us MONTHS to finish.
For the French drains we dug trenches about 6 inches wide and 12 inches deep. The trenches had a 1 inch drop in grade for every 10 feet in length toward the low side of the yard to promote drainage. In the bottom of each trench we laid about 3 inches of egg stone, followed by a sleeved perforated pipe. Each pipe was then topped with more egg stone and then gravel. Then each trench was covered with landscape fabric to hopefully keep out some of the debris & silt in order to prevent the drains from clogging up. Whew-eee!
Once that part was all finished it was time for the fun stuff. We laid out the beds by outlining them with a garden hose – to give us soft curves. We marked those lines with spray paint then cut them with a shovel. On the bed side of the line we killed all of the grass with Round-up. Our grass here is Centipede Grass and it was put in as sod so it is very sturdy. It actually ended up taking two applications of the Round-up to get it good and dead.
You can better see the bed making process in the pictures below when I did the same thing to created some beds at the end of the driveway in front yard.
FINALLY…it was time to start putting in some plants. We started with the trees first. Before we went shopping I put stakes in where I planned to put the trees and shrubs. With the stakes in I could better visualize size and placement.
I had some trees in mind, things that I enjoyed in our old yard. Fortunately those same things would grow here. We were able to find everything we needed at a local tree farm. Usually, the tree farm only sells wholesale; but since the economy is stinkeroo they were happy to sell to us. (We also ended up purchasing 10 large trees, so maybe they just had a minimum order, dunno)? Anyway, one benefit of purchasing the trees directly from the grower is that they were nice large specimens. Be careful what you wish for. Because they were so large, between 400-500 lbs. each with their root balls, we were unable to pick them up and plant them ourselves. Fortunately the folks at the farm were able to recommend someone to help us. That part worked out marvelously!
We planted 5 Crape Myrtles (3 in the back yard and 2 in the front), 1 River Birch, 1 Brandywine Maple, 2 Camellias, and 1 Cryptomeria (in the front yard). After the trees were installed we added some shrubs: 5 roses (that were transplanted from the front yard), 7 Tea Olives, 1 Gardenia, 1 Fig and 3 Blueberries. We still have some Muscadine vines, New Dawn Climbing Roses, and Nikko Blue Hydrangeas to put in; but it has come A LONG WAY.
I think the thing that made the biggest impact, aside from the trees, was the addition of the pine straw. Pine straw is a very common bed cover (like bark or mulch) that is used here in the deep south.
Now that I have totally inundated you with my mundane pictures I’ll leave you with one more teaser for “next time”, my Pinterest Trellis comes to life.
**I have received no compensation of any kind for specific products or retailers mentioned in this post.