My yard is small, yet needy. That's a bad combo. It eats a bunch of time on shrub haircuts, weeding and removing decaying leaves that turn to mud in the rocks.
River rock is boring, so I wonder why the previous owner thought it a good idea to scatter 10,000 pounds of this junk around the foundation.
After living here 15 years, it's finally time to reclaim my yard and make it look how I want.
It all started a few week ago with a downed branch from the back soft maple. Carpenter ants are building suburbs in that tree, it floods my garage gutters with helicopters, so it's time to take her down. Since the tree people will be here removing the limbs and mess, figured I might as well pull my shrubs and add to the pile. Since the shrubs are gone, remove the rock.
Goals for the yard:
1) Easy to maintain.
2) Increase my grass size to more than 12 square feet.
3) Do things I haven't seen before, like coal as landscaping rocks. Grow bamboo, Irish moss, 8-foot reed grass and more.
Here's what things looked like before the destruction:
I got after it last week, 3 to 10 hours a day for 25 hours to excavate all that rock. Sunday was tough, 95 real-feel, worked till 10 pm as mosquitoes turned my bare back to itchy pimples.
After digging rock, had 6,000 pounds of soil dropped. Two hours later, I finished spreading it around the yard, then rented a tiller to loosen the hard pack. Raked and graded a slope away from the house, then received one ton of coal. Landscaping cloth, blew coal out front, this is today:
The front pin oak tree is probably going away. The dirt around that front tree will become grass.
Next up is crafting steel landscaping edging. I want a rusty patina, like this:
The above is called Corten steel, expensive stuff and would need to ship from Australia. Friend/co-worker, Chris (Boundary Waters), suggested using mild steel, weld on stakes, coat the back and stakes with KBS to prevent rust, and keep the face naked to allow oxidation. That route is only 80 bucks vs. $450 for Corten. We pick up the mild steel tomorrow and he'll weld on 1/2" rod for stakes.
I need your help with options for what to plant up front by the picture window and the medium plat out back. Front is shady, so moss and low ground cover should thrive there. Back is sunny, thinking maybe bamboo, tall ornamental grasses and I'm not sure what else.
Please let me know of something cool to plant, I need ideas for both shade and sunny spots. Iowa is zone 5, -20 F in the winter, so must be perennials.
Off to work on the yard now, good day!