Archives For yard work

Peace begone, bushes.

September 8, 2015 — Leave a comment

I took advantage of the long weekend to do something I’ve wanted to do for 3 years, 7 months, and 30 days – I pulled out the HIDEOUS bushes in front of my house. There aren’t enough negative words in my vocabulary to describe how much I hated those bushes, I mean, just look at them:

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For the past couple of years I’ve used electric trimmers to prune them back, but it was really hard to do because they were over 7 feet wide in places! You would be correct in assuming my wingspan isn’t quite that long, which made trimming these bushes extremely difficult/impossible.

Why then did it take me 3 years, 7 months, and 30 days to remove them? One reason: It’s not something I thought I could do alone. For one, I assumed I would have to dig them up by the roots. Secondly, I assumed I would have to plant something else in their place, meaning more digging. Mowing the yard is a stretch for me, so digging up roots and planting new things is well beyond my skill set/comfort zone.

So how did manage to remove the bushes without digging or replanting? Well, I borrowed a sawzall with a wood pruning blade and (after a tutorial from my Dad) I cut those suckers down to the stump and then mulched right over the stumps. When I put my mind to it, I can be a world class shortcutter.

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Not surprising, removing the bushes also created more work from me. There is a piece of trim missing from each of the supporting columns on the porch, and there are several places where the white paint needs touched up. I’ll also want to plant something new (and less ugly) at some point. I’ll get it all done eventually.

For now though, I’m thoroughly enjoying the spoils of my arduous labor. If you need me, I’ll just be over here icing my extremely sore muscles and sprained wrist.

This is the exterior and entryway of my house as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Dark grey and white historical bungalow Little House Design: Dark grey and white historical bungalow Little House Design: Dark grey and white historical bungalow Little House Design: Dark grey and white historical bungalow Little House Design: Dark grey and white historical bungalow Little House Design: Dark grey and white historical bungalow Little House Design: Entry way with paint stripe and starburst mirror Little House Design: Entry way with paint stripe and starburst mirror Little House Design: Entry way with paint stripe and starburst mirror Little House Design: Entry way with paint stripe and starburst mirror Little House Design: Entry way with paint stripe and starburst mirror

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

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?

I’ve already pontificated on how much I hate the bushes in front of my house, but since it isn’t in my budget to replace them, the least I can do is make them look better. Their current state as of the other day was pretty rough.

Here is what they looked like all winter:

Here is what they looked like last week:
I guess they actually don’t look that bad, but in person they looked very overgrown and in need of a trim (in some places they were nearly as tall as me!). Last year I used basic garden pruning shears to trim them down but it was a lot of work (I have shears similar to these). So this year I invested in something a little more heavy duty to speed up the process. I should have done more research before I went but these days I am just trying to get everything done so when I saw a Menards and I had 20 minutes to spare I just went in.
First of all, electric hedge trimmers are freaking expensive. I had a choice between a 6″ blade for $54.99 or a 22″ blade for the same price… ???? Such a confusing choice!
Most people would probably go with the bigger blade since it was the same price, but that blade was just so big that I wasn’t sure I could really maneuver it. The way I thought of it, the 6″ blade could probably cut off my finger, but the 22″ in blade could cut off my head so I went for the little blade because I am accident prone and I like my head. And man is the trimmer really little. I didn’t take any pictures of myself using it because no one looks good doing yard work, but it’s barely the length of my forearm.  But it worked.
It definitely got the job done but it wasn’t much faster than using the shears. Although it was significantly less hard. So I’m on the fence about this tool for $54.99. It was definitely too expensive, but I’ve already used it and returning stuff is a pain, plus it does work it just isn’t very powerful. Even though the 6″ blade is too small I’m glad I didn’t get the 22″ blade because that thing was scary, but seriously though why isn’t there an in-between option? Like a reasonable 15-18″ blade? Someone get on that.
For now though, I was able to knock something off of my to-do list and make my house look a little less abandoned. Some day I’ll replace those ugly buggers but for now I’ll do my best with what I’ve got.