Archives For backyard

You know I bought a house which is an awesome thing to be able to do, but there are things I didn’t know when I bought a house. Okay, let me rephrase that, there are things I didn’t think about before I bought a house. How I would care for my yard was one of those things.

I bought my house in January so yard work was very far from my mind when I signed all my paperwork, but spring came soon enough and I found myself with an overgrown yard and no tools to care for it.

I started to research lawnmowers and checking craigslist for used ones, but nothing was catching my eye so I decided to buy a new one. After much internal debating I decided to buy an electric mower as opposed to a gas powered one. I make a lot of bad environmental choices (I drive an SUV), but I try to do my part in other ways like recycling so I figured buying an electric mower would be an easy way for me to be conscientious.

I decided to buy this one:

It is a Task Force 12-amp electric push mower (available for purchase here). It was $169 which was by far the most boring $169 I have ever spent. Despite how annoying it was to pay that much for something, I seriously love this mower. I don’t particularly love mowing the grass but it’s not that bad really, it just takes a lot of time. The reason I love this mower is because it is lightweight and easy for me to maneuver  The limit to using an electric mower is that you are literally tied down with a cord so this only works for smaller lawns. My lawn is about 4,000 square feet which is just about the perfect size to use an electric mower.
I honestly don’t remember how long the cord I got is, but I think it’s like 100 ft or something.
Once I got a lawnmower I felt empowered about what yard work I could accomplish so I got more yard tools!
The next item on my list was a weed wacker. I decided on this one:
It is a Toro 8″ cordless trimmer (not sure what the 8″ refers to… the length of the plastic string maybe?). It was $49.99 (available here) and it was the most boring $49.99 I’ve ever spent. But even though it was boring money to spend I do like this trimmer. It has a chargeable battery, so it’s cordless which is very convenient. It may not be powerful enough for a guy but for me it is the perfect size and amount of power.
After I bought these two large and expensive tools I was tapped out but then after a few weeks I decided I needed a few more things.
It is probably overkill but I actually find it satisfying to sweep my porch and sidewalks after I mow. I feel old-timey.
I do not rake up my grass clippings because that is insane. But I do use my rake a few times a year after I trim the front bushes.
This is the trimmer I got a few weeks ago:
I wrote about it here. While it is helpful to an extent, this little trimmer was definitely not worth $49.99. I am still debating about whether or not I should return this tool, but for now I still have it.
So those are all of the yard tools I had to buy. It was nearly $300 worth of merchandise that I totally didn’t even budget for. Yikes! That is my big piece of advice for the day: If you are new to homeownership don’t forget to budget for yard tools!

Do you feel the same way I do about buying yard tools?

Exterior House Tour

April 19, 2013 — 1 Comment

I’ve showed a few pictures of the exterior of my home, most notably when I had the exterior painted, but not too many. So how about a little exterior tour?

For your reference this is what the house looked like when I first bought it:

I saw the potential but that ugly blue paint that was decades old really wasn’t helping. It may not show in this picture but the house was really dirty (side note: isn’t it weird that you don’t have to clean houses? I get my car washed once a month but I’ve never ‘cleaned’ the exterior of my house.). So when I finally saved up the money to paint it six months after I moved in I chose the paint colors in five minutes flat because I was so ready. The vision was long in coming, but having the house painted made a world of difference:

Soooooo much better! I called it my little blue shed before but now I call it a bungalow because the paint job makes it look like a respectable place to live.
Here is the right side of the house. Nothing fancy just the AC and a tree. It is a simple thing but I’m really happy I decided to have the foundation painted white. The painter said most people would just continue the siding color all the way to the foundation but I saw a house with a white foundation and really liked it so I’m glad I went with my gut on that. It looks a little dirty here, but after a good rain it is a nice crisp white.
The next three images are the view from the porch. It’s not much to look at but it’s my favorite place to sit. I want to screen it in soon so that I can sit out there all summer. I also want to get more seating and ‘decorate’ it. But I mostly took these pictures as a hate-letter to those bushes because I hate those dang bushes.
They are overgrown and big and ugly and unattractive. I can’t really describe how big they are but they are huge, like 4.5′ tall and between 5-8′ wide. Thankfully, there aren’t any weeds in the landscaping which is nice, but ugh, those bushes. Last summer I tried to trim them with clippers but I was no match for their size and strength.
As you can see they are so overgrown that they cover up my little sidewalk. This year I’m going to have to buy or borrow electric clippers to cut them back. My long term plan is to pull those suckers out and replant Forsythia there. I’m obsessed with forsythia. For your reference here is what forsythia looks like:
Magical, right? I nearly get in a wreck every time I see one because I am so enamored by the color. They don’t bloom for too long, but wouldn’t they look amazing in front my gray and white house??? Ah, someday.

Here is the left side of the house:

Yep, that is how close my house is to my neighbor. Gotta love city (alright, city adjacent) living! As you can see it is where I park the trash and recycling bins so not a whole lot else happens over here.
Here is my backyard:
If you can look past the fact that I really need to mow, it’s a pretty big backyard. I love having a fence despite the fact that it is barely standing in some places. Bob has used the decrepit state of the fence to his advantage… He popped out one of the posts so he can peek at my neighbors!
I think it’s hilarious – it’s like a doggie TV, he just watches the neighbor kids play for hours.
The back of the house is pretty plain. You can see from this angle how small the house really is. Only 950 square feet on the main level (there is about 700 more square feet in the basement).
This tree below is a beautiful redbud tree which unlike it’s name blooms a deep, bright pink. It hasn’t bloomed yet but when it does, it’s lovely (if you scroll up the first picture you can see it in bloom behind the house).
This little shed is nice to have. I store my lawnmower, weed-eater, and a few other lawn supplies in there. Also, there is a shopping cart in there. Yep, straight up, there is a random grocery shopping cart in there! I don’t know where it came from but I have no idea how to get rid of it so it’s just hanging out in there.
All of the sidewalks and paths at this house are in terrible shape but I doubt I’ll ever replace them. I don’t want to put more into this house than it’s worth, although it would like so nice if I did. I’m much more likely to replace the fence which is in crazy bad shape. My amazing friend came over when I first moved in and did a lot of little repairs to the fence so that Bob could play out there and not escape, but it will definitely need to be replaced at some point. I could pull the whole thing over with just my hands if I wanted to, it’s that wobbly!
At one point this house had alley access thus the old cement car park. Now there is no access from the back so I just randomly have a busted up cement pad in my back yard. Maybe some day I’ll remove it and plant grass but it isn’t even on my radar right now. I’d like to get a table and chairs and fire-pit at some point too. It is worth noting that those vines on the back fence are literally holding the fence together and bonus, they flower at some point in the year!

So that is my little house from the outside. Painting the outside made the biggest difference. The next thing on my list is to break out the mower and take care of the grass but after that I want to screen in the porch. Overall, the outside doesn’t require a lot of maintenance for which I’m grateful!