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Update: I’m linking this post to Julia’s Hooked on Fridays blog party at Hooked on Houses, and the Frugal Friday Linky Party at the Shabby Nest!  Thanks, ladies!!!!

We have finally gotten back to the backyard project — although the mountain of gravel is still there, ugh. We do have someone who is going to come get the rest, so hopefully they’ll come do that soon! Anyway, we’ve fenced off the sections that will be grass, planted, fertilized and watered, so now we’re waiting…and watching the grass grow! Yes, we have grass!!!

Here is what we’ve been up to:


Dirt, ready to plant

And we have grass!

Getting thicker!!

Hopefully these fences won't have to be up too long!

I cannot wait to 1) get the gravel out of there, 2) have enough grass to take the fences down, and 3) actually like my backyard. It hasn’t happened yet, which is unfortunate during the summer!! Patience, Lindsay, patience…


Okay, a little dramatic, but it was ridiculously hard work shoveling 7 tons of gravel around in our backyard last weekend!  I’m just now getting the use of my forearms back.  🙂  It’s a start to our ugly, ugly backyard, but now all we need to do is 1) get the rest of the gravel out of here (they sent way, way, way too much…grr…) – we’re being creative with what to do with it.  2) plant grass in the dirt areas.  3) build a new fence all around. 4) paint the ugly metal shop/shed and the trim on the house.  5) build a flat deck off the back door.  It will all probably happen in that order.  If we ever get it done this summer!  Now before I cramp up again, here is the backyard transformation…in progress…

This is back in March when Glenn cut the tree down…

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

And this is recently when a jungle of weeds sprouted out of nowhere!

Weed jungle!

See – no tree!  But the backyard was very scary for awhile…


Our new best friend, the roto-tiller.  It took 2 entire days to till up the backyard and get all of the rocks/weeds/old grass out of the soil.


Almost done with that step!


Final pile of rocks we pulled out of the yard – not counting the ones we threw over the fence.  🙂  That was my job…picking up rocks.  I kept them, because you never know where you could use them!  They’re nice rocks…right?


The 7 tons of “clean rock” the trucking company delivered.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Glancing at this photo I cringe at how ugly the shop is.  But it’s sturdy and a nice workspace inside.  We’re going to paint it black.  Yes, black.  I love black buildings, and since our house is brick I need to get my black building fix in somehow!

Backyard gravel

The easy part is done…putting down the weed blocker and paver path throughout the backyard.  This breaks it up into 3 sections of grass.  Well, future grass.

Weed blocker felt paths

This would have been a catastrophe!  The wheelbarrow broke on the 3rd or 4th gravel load of the day – !!!  But Glenn was able to fix it…phew!  That’s what we get for using rusty old tools that came with the house!

Fixing the wheelbarrow

The gravel is almost completely spread, and did we even make a dent??  I can’t tell.  And notice that they piled it in front of the shop door.  I had to climb through the window on the left to get the roll of weed blocker out!  It would have been alright if they had sent THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF GRAVEL!  I trusted them.  I gave them the square footage I wanted to cover and he converted it into tons…sweet.  I’d say they sent AT LEAST 2 TONS too much!

Mountain of gravel

What the heck are we supposed to do with it all?!?!?  And where are we supposed to put it!?!?!?  And how will it get there???  I really don’t want to think about it anymore…and I have a lovely pile of rock to sift out of the dirt before we plant.  I need “Curb Appeal” or some other landscaping HGTV show to come to my house with a team.  ASAP!

Way too much gravel

You might notice in this picture that the path is wider than the original “weed-blocker and paver” shot above…yeah, we widened it to use more gravel.  Nice.  Any tips on where to use it all??  Want to come to my house and take a scoop??  Or a truckload?? Please…??

Okay, so I’m not photographing my whole “garden” for you because it looks a little sad…hopefully next year it will be more full!  Plus I’m just getting started with this and I’m not a master gardener yet.  So for now I took a few pics of my favorites…which are my favorites because they’re doing very well. Some are not!! My fault, though…I couldn’t get them all planted ASAP and a couple didn’t like being in the hot sun 24/7. But I bought all perennials so that I wouldn’t waste money, banking on the fact that they have 9 lives! The planted ones are in the flower bed to the left of the front door, and the pots are sitting on the front porch.  So here we go…my first flower garden!


My pink peony! Specifically the “Karl Rosenfield” peony…which is supposed to be red.  Hmmm…oh well, I like it either way!


These are Caradonna Salvias.  Another one that is doing very well, so I love them.  🙂  Plus I love the spiky shape.


My baby blue spruce!  I planted him in the corner, and I thought he was just so cute!  He’s very short now, and luckily he’s a slow grower.  I wish I knew exactly what species he is, I accidentaly threw the tag away and didn’t note it!  Let me know if you know.


I decided to plant the succulents in pots because they look so cute in pots and I can rearrange them as I please!!  We have Hens and Chicks Mix Sempervivums, planted with Blaze of Fulda Sedums (2 pots of these).  In the back is a pot of Dark Dancer White Clover.  I’ve found I’m really attracted to the dark purple or chocolatey leaves and plants.


The pots are made out of recycled materials – I picked those up at the Ace Hardware Memorial Day sale! Nice and lightweight, so I can move them anywhere!  Plus if it says “eco” or “recycled” anywhere, I’ve found I’m kind of a sucker.  This is another pot of the Hens and Chicks Mix on the left, a pot of Autumn Joy Sedums in the middle, and in the back is a Pulp Fiction Dahlia (another one with dark leaves and fiery flowers).

So to break my nursery purchases down, here is what I bought (but I didn’t show all of them):

  • White Clover, “Dark Dancer”
  • Sedum, “Blaze of Fulda” and “Autumn Joy”
  • Semervivum, “Hens and Chicks Mix”
  • Armeria, “Dusseldorf Pride” (These are so cute, but the flowers are already browning so I didn’t photography them)
  • Dahlias, “Pulp Fiction” and “Gallery Sisley”
  • Peony, “Karl Rosenfield”
  • Salvia, “Caradonna”
  • Iceland Poppy, “Champagne Bubbles”
  • Bugleweed, “Black Scallop”
  • Mini Blue Spruce tree – I tossed the tag on this one and forgot to write down the name 😦  Any help would be wonderful!


And I’m so excited because my orchid has finally bloomed! 3 blooms so far, but I counted 18 total buds/blooms on it! Wow!

I can’t wait to finish planning and planting my gardens and landscaping.  I have a blank slate to work with, and I’m excited to “decorate” the outside of my house along with the inside.  But we also need to PAINT the outside – desperately!  The work of a homeowner is never done, is it?  So far I’ve really enjoyed it, though!

Yay! I made my first real trip to our local nursery as a homeowner! I haven’t bought anything yet…except this pretty hanging basket I couldn’t resist!


We’ve been very busy (on days off!) here at Casa Christensen with lots of weeding and planning, planning and weeding. We pretty much ripped everything out so that we can start from scratch. Here is what the front yard looks like today.  Pretty bare!


Here are the empty flowerbeds, just waiting for some new tenants…I’m loving the funky shapes (as a designer, can you blame me??). I’m thinking some evergreens on the outsides, some dark ground cover in interesting textures, and perennials and annuals in varying shapes and heights. I love the tall, spiky flowers and grasses, and the colorful, globe shaped flowers. I’m not sure of the names yet, but I’m sure the guys at the nursery will be sick of me soon!



Our dog, Molly, can’t wait for her new yard!!


As you can see, we have lots of work to do, but I’m very excited after getting a little horticultural education today. Don’t you just love a little confidence boost? Especially if you have a black thumb like I do!

Do any of you have any favorite plants or flowers to recommend? Have you written a recent post about gardening and/or landscaping! Feel free to comment and link!! Happy gardening!!

Happy Spring, everyone!!  To kick off the new season, here’s a little DIY action that we did a few weekends back on a GORGEOUS March day!

WARNING!  Do NOT try this at home, people!  Okay, so this isn’t really a “how-to” but I wanted to write up a little post about our backyard.  Or lack thereof.  But that is what this summer is about – pretty up the outside of the house!  Now that the inside is livable, the landscaping, paint, etc. is our priority!

We had this half-dead, skinny pine tree in our backyard – right next to the house and we decided that it just had to go to make room for some bigger plans!  So here are some photos of Glenn and the day he decided to cut it down!

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Getting his PPE ready (personal protective equipment, ha!).  Notice the rope attached to his belt loops, and to the chainsaw.  Right now I should mention that Glenn is a professional wildland firefighter (an engine operator) and has a lot of experience with chainsaws and cutting down trees.  This is not the best way to cut down a tree (hiring a professional is probably most people’s bet), but Glenn knew he could do it on his own.  The tricky part is that electrical wire that goes from our roof to the power pole – that is why he had to climb up and cut it down in sections.

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Here he is climbing the tree…

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Scoping it out to figure out how the heck to get it down safely!

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Using a hand saw to cut off branches.

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Now using the axe to chop off some branches to get a good foot-hold.

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Getting ready to start cutting the top 1/3rd of the tree off!  He cut it down in 3 pieces.  

Now you’ll notice how I have no more pictures until the end.  I was either helping Glenn by pulling on the rope, which was attached to the tree, so it fell in the right direction (avoiding the power line), or I was inside consoling a hysterical 7 month old who decided she doesn’t like the sound of the chain saw!  It was quite a team effort, but it seems to open the backyard up a lot more – don’t you think?

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Aaahhh…much better!

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

Now if we only had some more grass.  Soon, though!!

Cutting down the tree in our backyard

The dogs seem to like it!  🙂  Now to get rid of that ugly “porch.”  And build a new fence.  And paint…I’m so glad spring is here!

Here is what the outside of our house looks like:
Our Lil' Brick House

I have a big wish list here…new trim paint, plants/flowers, possibly shutters, window boxes, new front porch, painted garage…any suggestions??

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