I actually finished leveling the dirt pile last week, but somehow forgot to show you how the new front yard turned out.
Voila. This took forever.
The 8 yards of topsoil that I had delivered a few weeks ago took 2.5 weeks to move. Between rain, sickness (from trying to move soil in the cold rain), a weird bee sting, and some traveling for my birthday, it felt like it took decades. Geez Louise.
The dirt was bought primarily for filling in part of the driveway, making way for more grass (and a more leveled front yard). And that, it did. We even put grass seed down last weekend which is finally starting to sprout. Note the single exceptionally long blade of new grass on the right clearly trying to be the gym class hero:
But even before we could get to the point where we could rake, level, perfect the slope-age, tamp the soil smooth, and plant that wonderful sun/shade grass seed, we had to actually move much of the original 8-yards into other parts of the property. As planned, it was plenty of soil to fill in existing garden beds and bring them up to a lush height.
But we made a few new planting areas too: one in the front, and one in the back.
In the backyard, I had given you a sneak peek of the overgrown lemon balm thriving behind the garage. It was awesomely thick and happy, and a terror to remove, but totally worth it, because I was left with a nice empty area for landscaping (and maybe the future home of a little backyard firepit).
While in the process of transporting the soil to the backyard, I went to town edging out the half-circle that I had been eager to wrangle into shape. The best garden edging technique I learned from my mom was to create a guide path before digging anything; this way, you can play with the curves and angles of the garden bed and, if necessary, perfect that symmetry you’ve been craving. Mom has amazing garden beds, so I trust her planning techniques.
Surely there are dozens of self-made and store-bought models for creating a nice, even, rounded garden edge, but I made it easy (and free-zilla) for myself by gathering all of the screwdrivers we had in the house (ten, which seems excessive) and a spool of twine. The screwdrivers were plugged into the ground in the shape I planned, wrapped in twine, and adjusted from there until I was happy with the curvature.
Edging along the twine took all of 3 minutes and gave me a better sense of where more transported topsoil was needed. Sadly, I edged and moved topsoil in a light drizzle (so I wasn’t photographing the actual work) and by the time the skies had cleared, 40,000,000 helicopters and leaves had fallen on my work zone.
Rounding out that part of the yard also gave me the idea to extend the planting bed just a smidgen to wrap around the back corner of the garage and into the yard. And if you read this post a few weeks ago you probably noticed this little Sharpie sketch on the clipboard, because I was just in the process of scheming how the rounded edges would flow together:
Happily, after the same screwdriver-and-twine edging technique, it turned out fabulously and is prepped for some new plants which hopefully the dog will not promptly relieve himself on. It’s a little bit of Ying to the other half-circle’s little bit of Yang. And that, on the left, is Pete’s machete that we still find eternally handy to have.
On another sunnier day, I found myself with the screwdrivers carving out a new garden space in the front yard. When I bought the house the “front garden” consisted of soil with no plants and was only 1-foot wide. I widened it to 4-feet wide that same summer to make way for the now-dying azaleas and hydrangeas, but now thought going a bit further would really help to balance the height of the house with the small front yard.
That simple screwdriver and twine technique served me well again, adding an extra 5′ in width (and about 75 sq. ft!) to the front garden. Of course, it’ll look its best once new plants have been inserted, kind of like I planned to do way back in the springtime (my, how time flies).