Landscape my Yard

This is my dream for my vegetable garden, behind my shed someday....
 Chris and I bought our home March 2010 when snow was covering the yard. That spring after the snow melted we found we were blessed with lots of weeds, a tree stump, wild bushes, and large flower beds to keep us busy. We were also blessed with pregnancy, therefore our yard grew pretty wild last year. This year I swore it would be different but with a 5 month old, I am finding that we are still way behind on our yard.

(Said house...in the fall of 2010 before we bought it...notice the front flower bed has been covered with mulch to hide the monster underneath)

Apart from all the manual labor required there is so much more to gardening then I anticipated. The major problem here is "know how." I simply have no idea what to do with my flower beds? How does one clean them up and prep them for planting? How do you keep weeds away? How can I do this cheaply?  I have googled a few different things and found a lot of mixed information. Therefore I am asking you smart people for some help. Here are the problem areas and the questions I have.
Driveway Bed, Problem # 1:

As you can see its a cute little bed but a huge mess. First of all those "landscaping bricks" if you call them that, are falling all about and don't seem to hold the bed together very well.

 So What shall I do here
  • Remove the bricks and build a new wall? Materials to use?
  • Leave them and go with it?
  • How should I maintain the area?
  • Suggestions of what to plant?
  • What should I do to keep the bushes alive/pruned/looking good?
  • Before I re-mulch should I lay landscaping paper? or newspaper? If so, do I lay it over the leaves and weeds as is, or clear away as much as possible first?
this is what the bed looks like after I pulled the Dandelions and raked away the leaves

This is what the bed looks like, with leaves and debris, and mulch on top. Do I keep it like this and just throw some more mulch on top? How do I keep the weeds at bay?

Weeds, mulch, messy brick, and some plant I don't know how to care for.

 Side of Garage, Problem # 2:
that stump not attached to the ground...I am sure its a home to many an ant or something like that.
This is where all the weeds in my yard got together and decided to breed. What would you do here? No one will really see it, but just knowing that it is a mess back there frightens me. I often stay up at night fretting about it. I have contemplated just spraying the entire area with RoundUp more than once. I really would like to keep the pesticide usage to a minimum. I thought it might be lovely just to grow like a butterfly garden of sorts back here or should I just get some gravel and pave it down. How should I prep the area either way? What are your thoughts?

 Back of House, Problem # 3:

This is the least of my problems but I could use some suggestions. First off, how do I get rid of these pretty but pesky little purple flowers from intruding on the bed. Second what should I do with this bed, what should I plant here? How should I maintain it?

notice our grass is desperately in need of help as well

you can't even see where the grass starts and the flower bed ends.

close up of those purple flowers
Shady Side of House, Problem # 4:

This area is in danger of becoming a marsh in the summer time. It can retain enough water in this area to make the grass lay flat, while also attracting slugs and the like. Currently it has some sort of little white bell like flower growing up, but it looks a little wild here. What should I do to this bed? How should I plant and maintain it?

Bushes, Shrubs and Wild Trees?, Problem # 5:

What in the world do people do along there fence lines? I mean its nice to have shrubs growing to provide a little bit of privacy but its a little crazy here. What do we do with this area?

I have many more spots requiring help, but these are a good start. I would appreciate any suggestions or words of advice. Also if your ever bored I am sure I can think of some way to keep you busy in my back yard.

I hope to have a vegetable garden some day, but before any of that can begin, we need to do some major clean up.

Thanks for looking.


Thats my favorite vegtable too!

I offered to watch three of the most precious children today for my dear friends, as their mom was on a mission trip. I was initially apprehensive because I have my little one already to watch and have never attempted to watch 3 others at the same time. I can easily psych myself up to thinking things will be more difficult then they really are. However, God truly blessed me with a smooth moving day, and Isaac even took a 3 hr nap! I have to admit though that my favorite part of the day was over the lunch hour. The little boy I had been watching had been pretty rambunctious all day and the conversation over lunch just shows you why having little boys makes life so precious.

Me: "So Big Sister, what is your favorite vegetable?"
Big Sister: "That's easy, I love carrots."
Me: "So Little Brother, whats your favorite vegetable?"
Little Brother: "Mac n Cheese" (said with a huge grin)
Me: "Why that's my favorite vegetable too!"


P.S. Lets get you caught up.

Ok Chris and I are parents now. We became parents on 12.15.10 after 5 days of labor! We were super happy when Isaac decided to finally arrive.
 Well our not so little munchkin is growing up fast and is getting bigger and bigger each day.

Here he is at 1 month, and 14 lbs.

And here he is at 2 months and about 15lbs.

Finally he just turned 3 months and now weighs 16lbs