Archive for the ‘Yard/Garden’ Category

Lasagna Gardening

July 12th, 2009

Have you guys ever heard of this before?  I just learned about it this week at our neighborhood garden meeting.  Mr. vB and I have been wanting to create our own garden for awhile now and this concept perked our interest even more.

So Lasagna Gardening is the concept of “a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work from the gardener.” See more details here.  It’s referred to as lasagna gardening because of the layering effect.  You alternate the layering of brown items such as fall leaves, pine needles, and newspaper clippings with green items like grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and garden scraps.  How great is it that you can mix grass clippings, junk mail, coffee grinds, and banana peels and get FREE organic soil!!

Mr. vB and I have been debating about where to locate our new garden.  We decided the best spot would be right in front of the deck.  Now remember our backyard is about the size of a postage stamp.  We are trying to leave enough room for the Boots and the Bae-Bae to run around, but we would also like a few nice flower beds.  (I can’t believe I am actually posting a before photo of this area.  I haven’t done a good job tending to it and it looks horrible.)


We figure that we could get a 12′ x 2′ raised bed and have it separated into two sections.  Mr. vB started by nailing a 12′ board directly to the deck.  It was my job to use to pick ax to dig up the weeds and even out the existing dirt.



Then he added the 2 side pieces.


And then the front piece.


The finishing touch was the piece to separate the bed into 2 parts. (I am thinking one side for veggies and one side for flowers.  Mr. vB envisions the whole thing full of veggies.  We will see.)

And if you didn’t believe me before that our yard slopes to one side, this picture says it all.  There must be at least a 4-5″ difference between the right corner that is flush with the dirt and left corner that is hovering above the ground. (Don’t worry we aren’t going to leave it like this, we just ran out of lumber)


The next step will be to fill in the beds with the brown and green layers.  We are also thinking about ditching the border that runs the length of the yard towards the back gate.  We can use the extra soil in our new raised beds and in it’s place we will just plant some more grass for the boys.  See below.

nix border(On a side note, Yes Boots is still wearing his head gear- which I am SO over.  He has lost his peripheral vision and is constantly banging that damn thing into a wall, my leg, or Bailey.  It makes the most wretched sound too.  We head back to the vet this week to hopefully hear that it can be removed.)

So we will keep you updated on the progress of our Lasagna Garden! Next weekend we are going to start the layering process.  It sounds pretty darn simple so we shall see!

P.S. If any of my local readers have some old newspapers they can part with let me know.  thanks!!

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Vacation- Part Two- the “Stay”cation

July 11th, 2009

We also decided to add a few extra days on to our “go”cation and have a “stay” cation too!  Meaning that we planned to take a full week off of work, and spend the first half of the week with family and the other half at home.  Pretty smart eh?

Not sure if Mr. vB and I were on the same page as to what to get accomplished during our “stay” part of the vacation but finishing the bathroom was at the TOP of my list!!  I was also hoping to fit in some yard work, but I only had 2 days to get it all done, so I knew it was going to be jam packed.

So on Stay-cation day one, after the Baby Bird’s visit, I jumped into working on the bathroom. I needed to get just one more coat of paint on the walls and then touch up ALL the trim and the new crown molding.  Mr. vB got to work fixing the sink drains and then made a trip to Lowe’s to purchase the necessary parts to fix the leak in the exhaust fan.  It’s amazing how the little details are just taking forever to finish.  Am I being too much of a perfectionist??

Here are a few more teaser shots..




Then Stay-cation day two, I was up and at ‘em early because I was trying to beat the heat.  My plan was to weed the flower beds, cut the grass, plant some new flowers, and then mulch…SHEW!  It makes me tired just recapping it.  These photos were taken a week later, so the grass needs to be cut again, but I am pleased with how the borders look.






Also check out my new door decoration.  Isn’t it cute??  My neighbor buddy got it for me at our local Botanical garden.  It actually is suppose to hang down, but I just tacked it onto the door with a nail.  I love how the lime green looks against the blue door!



Now on to Vacation Part Three- Family Reunion Time!

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Home Improvement, Yard/Garden


June 1st, 2009

I thought I would be an awesome wife this morning and let Mr. vB sleep in while I got up to feed the dogs and start the yard-work.  After a cup of coffee and some quick internet time, I was outdoors dragging out the lawnmower and the weed-eater.  Now I’m not sure if I mentioned before, but we have an awesome electric lawnmower.  It makes cutting the grass a snap as long as you don’t run over the extension cord.  (which I have done before!!)  The front yard takes about 5 runs and it’s done.. then on to the backyard which is just a smidge bigger.  Now remember my post about the purchase of the new electric weed-eater?  I still have not mastered the art of using it and that’s where I got into trouble.

Let me sum it up in two photos…



Yeah- let me explain… So the first photo is of the corner of the garage.  Apparently I got a little too close to the vinyl siding with the weed eater.  All I could think was that Mr. vB was going to kill me.  Then the second photo is of the above ground sprinkler that we “had”.  One looks shorter than the other doesn’t it?  Yeah- I weed wacked it.

By the time Mr.vB awoke.. I had finished cutting and weed-eating both the front and the back yards.  And I was quite pleased with my work, minus the two issues i confessed to above.  Once I admitted them to Mr.vB, we apparently knew what we would be doing all day.  You guessed it- Installing an Under Ground Sprinkler System.  We have thrown the idea around for awhile, but this was the catalyst to get it going.  So off to Home Dept we went.


10 Sprinkler Heads, 5 pvc pipes, and a bunch of “elbows and t’s” later we were ready to install an underground sprinkler system.  Luckily for us, Mr.vB’s brother used to manage a lawn care company where one of his main jobs was to install such systems.  He thankfully dropped by to make sure we knew what we were doing.

Here are some “Before” photos of the guys laying out all the pipes and sprinkler heads.




Boots kept a close eye on the progress..


The hardest part of the whole project was digging the trenches around the yard to bury the sprinklers and the pipes. Luckily it didn’t ruin the grass too much, but it will require more grass seed and TLC.  And keeping Boots and Bailey off it until the mud dries up!



The final step will be took hook this new system into the rain barrel vs. the city water supply.  It will involve getting a pump, a timer, and some other fancy contraptions that only Mr. vB understands.  We are also planning to start a veggie garden either along the fence or in the patch of dirt in front of the deck.  But all that will have to wait until another weekend- my back is KILLIN from all that digging!!

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Busy Week..

April 26th, 2009

Sorry for being MIA for the past week.  I started to feel under the weather on Tuesday morning but chalked it up to the massive amount of pollen outside.  Then on Wednesday Mr. vB, the boys and I road tripped down to Raleigh, NC to see our favorite band- Dave Matthews.  We stayed with our good buddies, the Basham’s, who live right in Cary NC and love DMB just as much as we do.  (maybe more??)  It was a great show at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, but we could have done without the 45 degree temperature that night.  Thank goodness for the polar fleece’s we threw in the car last minute!

So anyways, the Basham’s also have two dogs that are like cousins to Boots and Bailey.  I couldn’t resist taking some photos of them running around in the back yard.  Mind you- Mr. Vb and I are TOTALLY envious of the Basham’s back yard.  It makes ours look like a postage stamp.  I don’t think Boots and Bailey actually knew that a backyard was for running around and playing in!! ha-ha



So besides playing in the good weather on Thursday, we also made a point of going to one of the local Community Center’s in Cary to pick up a rain barrel.  Have you guys ever heard of these before? It is the concept of catching rain water from your gutters to reuse it to water your plants, yard, etc.  I had seen them on HGTV before and most recently on a post from  I had sent Mr. vB the link on how to make your own rain barrel and that got him doing a little Internet research.  He found out that the City of Cary is doing a really good job in regards to using “reclamied water” and is making it easy for local residents to do it as well.  (It didn’t hurt that they were selling the barrels for pretty darn cheap too!)  We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to scoop up one of these puppies at a bargain rate so in the car it went.  Here is a shot of the car once we got home and the boys were unloaded.


As soon as we got home and unpacked, Mr. vB was itching to get the rain barrel system set up.  He took a few before and after photos that I will share with you, but I don’t believe he is totally finished yet.  The piping is all set up to catch the rain water, but he still wants to get a pump so that we can run our sprinkler system off this reused water vs. just having to fill up a watering can.  I will keep you updated with how that all goes.  Maybe I can even talk Mr. vB into doing a post himself… yeah right!  Here are the photos:

dsc_0138Please excuse the way the back of the house looks- it obviously is still a work in progress!  Here’s the main gutter off the back of the house.  We have a flat roof, as discussed in the earlier squirrel post, so all the water runs down this gutter.

dsc_01371Here’s the rain barrel’s new home.

Then Mr. vB removed the existing gutter pipes and ran new pipe across to the barrel and then back down to the drain for any overflow.


Here’s a close up


Having this reclaimed water to use on the yard and plants is definitely going to help our wallets!  Especially since I am suppose to be watering those seed mats twice a day for 15 mins.  (BTW still no grass sprouts yet!!)

So to finish my long recap of the week, what I thought was allergies became a full blown respiratory thingy.. full of coughing, sneezing, loss of voice, etc.  I hate to be stuck indoors on this absolutely gorgeous weekend, but the thought of doing anything majorly strenuous outside is very unappealing.  Plus I am TOTALLY addicted to the Twilight books my mom got for me.  There are four books total in the series and I have already read two, in one week.  Yes- you read that correctly- each book is about 560 pages and I read both in one week.  I admit it- I am a grown woman that is infatuuated with a finctional teenage vampire.  We will discuss the pros and cons of this at a later date.

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Yard Time!!

April 18th, 2009

Knowing that it was suppose to be beautiful today, I planned to get an early start on yard work.  Here’s what was on my list to accomplish:

  • Buy Electric Weed-eater
  • Plant Herb Garden
  • Plant Geraniums and Gerbera Daisies
  • Till up bare spots in backyard, reseed and fertilize, and then cover with seed blanket

Off to Lowe’s I went with List in hand.

dsc_01161Here are my goodies.. after the quick photo shoot I was off to work!

My first job to tackle was trying to get some grass to grow in the bare spots.


I used a hand till and was able to churn up the bare dirt.  Then I spread some grass seed and fertilizer.  This section of the backyard is low because of the slope towards the alley between our house and our neighbors.  It seems much harder to grow grass here because the seed is washed away before it has time to germinate.  To alleviate this problem I bought a Seed Starter Mat.

dsc_01241The concept is that you spread this mat/blanket over the seed and it will hold it in place allowing it to germinate. NICE!  So as I continued to till, seed, fertilize, and blanket around the yard- I quickly realized that I would need to make a second trip out to Lowes.  I needed more grass seed and seed starter mats than I thought.

dsc_01271 I also grabbed some more herbs, a great lime green pot to match my newly painted chairs, and a cheapo sprinkler!

Boots decided to help me lay the seed starters mats..  Good boy Boots..


And that quickly turned to a mess..  Bad BOOTS!!


Once we got that mess straightened out, I hooked up the new sprinkler and was on my way to growing some new grass!


One task done, two more to go..

Here are my Herb pots..  I am going to need to watch how much sun this corner of the deck gets, i might have to move some things around if they don’t get enough.

dsc_0137I planted some Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, Cilantro, Thyme and Oregano!  I am going to look at Target next time I am there for some cute little stakes to put by each plant so I know which is which.

I also potted the pink geraniums you guys saw in an earlier post.  They were not enjoying living inside with us so outside they went.  I think they will be quite happy in this pretty new lime green pot.


I re-potted some pansies for my new little side table too.

dsc_01341 Tomorrow I hope to put the new weed-eater to use and get the sprinklers set up on timers.  Gotta give those little seeds some TLC !  Now I am off to walk the dogs- How can I resist this face??


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Home Improvement, Yard/Garden

Bringing the outdoors in…

April 13th, 2009

Might sound harder than you think.  I always enjoy having cut flowers in the house, but decided that to be more budget conscious maybe I should start getting flowering plants instead.

Here’s an easy “how to” of bringing outdoor plants in.  (especially since the last frost is still predicted up until mid April)


Purchase some flowering plants that can work indoors as well as out.  I purchased some great Geraniums and Gebera Daisies from my local Costco.  10 plants were only $27 bucks… now that’s a steal!



Find some cute pots or platters to arrange your plants.  Also pick up some Spanish moss from your local craft store or florist/greenhouse to help hide the plastic containers the flowers come in.




Arrange the plants on the platter and then add the Spanish moss around the base.  Or just plop the plant in the pot! (Can’t get much easier than that!!)



Viola, instant home beautification!  Happy Planting!

(PS. Don’t forget these babies still need water and full sun even when indoors!!)

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A bit of a facelift…

March 23rd, 2009

For our Patio Furniture that is.

Mr. vB and I inherited these chairs from a good buddy who was moving up to NYC and didn’t have room for them.


I had always enjoyed the natural color, but thought they could use a a bit of a face-lift.  So this past weekend I hit up my local Lowes’s to check out the selection of spray paint.

I was envisioning a nice turquoise, or vibrant pink- but apparently these aren’t colors often found in a Lowe’s spray-paint display.

So instead I opted for a nice Pistachio color.


And three cans later… Viola!


Pretty cute if I do say so myself.  I also purchased a new smaller table to put between the chairs, hence the tag you see still attached to it. (I think I am 99% ready to commit to it, but need another day or so to decide.  Until then the tag stays on!)

I am also envisioning a nice little pillow in each chair.  Maybe some of that nice Sunbrella outdoor fabric.

We shall see- I will keep you guys updated!

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Home Improvement, Yard/Garden

Spring has sprung.. well almost

March 14th, 2009

Nothing says Spring more than daffodils.

Thought you might enjoy some before and after photos to inspire the warm weather to stick around!


Here’s the before photo of part of the front border.  A bit out of control with a mixture of weeds and a hearty vine like plant.  And when I say hearty, I mean more like indestructible.  Mr. vB would take the weed whacker to that border and level it all.  Then in about 2 weeks it would be back to out of control.

So while Mr. vB was out of town one weekend I thought I would clean up the border a bit.


Looks a lot better don’t you think?

Then this past xmas my father in law gave us a slew of daffodil bulbs.  I think they make a nice addition.  Won’t it really be gorgeous in a few years when the whole border is filled with them??




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