One of the things that made us most excited about renting a home over an apartment was the amount of outdoor space that came with it! We have a cute little front yard and a decent sized backyard to entertain people and enjoy some fresh air. The hardest part was figuring out how much we were willing to spend on updating the overgrown garden beds since taking plants with you when you go is not really an option. So, using what we could from the yard, clearing out all of the insane weeds? flowers? plants? they all look alike after years of neglect, this is what we ended up with…
Front: The front was a typical long and skinny garden bed with no edging but luckily, had a few perennials and bushes. We contemplated purchasing the cheap black rubber edging to give it a crisper look, but ended up finding a ton of rocks buried in one of the garden beds in the backyard to use instead. In a perfect world, the rocks would’ve been a bit bigger, but in this case, can’t beat something free like that! After a few hours of hauling them (it counted as my workout so I can’t really complain) and moving them around to find our perfect curved edge, we had a defined space! After that, we just took to weeding out the area and called it a day. $0 spent, and sore legs/back/arms earned.
But, it turns out that the weeds come back, and back and back and back, no matter how many times you pull them. We were also wanting a little bit of color so we decided that we needed a phase two. We picked up three $7 pink perennial bushes (I sadly don’t remember the name!) a $6 shepherds hook that we can take with us when we leave (bonus) and an $8 hanging plant. To combat the weeds, I did some research on Pinterest and decided to try the cardboard method. So, using big boxes that I already had laying around, I cut pieces to the size of our garden bed and then covered all of the cardboard with $10 worth of hardwood wood chips. I’m also happy to report, that the cardboard has successfully held up for over two months so far! Our total was around $45, but we get to keep the shepherds hook, so we “donated” about $40 to the front of the house. Here’s a closer look at the end result!
Back: Ohhhh the backyard. It should be called the weedyard. If that existed. All three sides of the lawn have some sort of green bushes/plants/flowers and unfortunately a lot of weeds. This is where we called it a truce. If this were my permanent house, I would’ve done some major tearing out and replacing work, but, since I was not excited about spending the time or money on that kind of job, we compromised and just tackled one main area, leaving the rest to go hog wild and bloom or not bloom as it wished. So far, so good. To keep the areas at bay, we just make sure to mow the lawn where the edging should be, and all is well. Not scientific, but for a rental it works! For the one area we did fix, we found some buried flat stone that we again used as an edge. Why there are so many stone’s half buried in the yard, the world may never know. This spot I did spend a bit of money on, $25 for a rose bush (on sale for 50% off) $8 total for 4 smaller pink plants (I should really remember the names of these plants next time), $2 for a small flat of flowers (again- sorry!) and then sourced the rest from currently growing plants. I dug one up from the side of the garage, and then planted two tomato and broccoli plants from my vegetable garden, more on that after this! Anyways, here’s what we ended up with : )
Admittedly, this section took a lot of hard work to clear, and I spent a few $ on plants, but it’s all worth it to me to have a bit of color and cleanliness (can that word apply in a yard?) to see, and it has become a focal point for the yard. Plus, although I can’t take any of it with me, I absolutely love the rose bush and am excited for it’s (hopefully) long and luscious life. Okay, moving on before I keep rambling strange things…
My Splurge: After moving here, I was so excited to be able to finally have a garden to grow veggies in and had dreams of going out and picking fresh food for dinner each night. Then that whole its-a-rental-and-you-cant-tear-up-grass thing hit me. So, instead, I decided to use pots! Although I have discovered that it has it’s advantages and disadvantages along the way, I’d still say it’s a success so far. The main pro is that you can move them anywhere the sun decides to shine. After a few tries, I found a place on the back patio that seems to get the most sun, and after finding that, my plants really took off and decided to grow! Funny how that works. The main con is that the way I planted the seeds (in 4 spots instead of right in the middle), the pots get full very quickly and must be thinned out, hence the tomato and broccoli plants in the backyard garden bed. Had I not had this option, I would’ve had to purchase more pots. I have noticed that the plants are growing much faster and fuller being in the ground, but I still am getting veggies out of the planted pots.
This year was definitely a learning curve for us, so we decided to use mostly seeds and spent as little on pots as possible. The pots were by far the most expensive part of these three outdoor sections at about $7 each, but again, we can take these with us : ) I went for a more mix and match theme since some of the pots were donated (thanks mom) and I purchased the others at different times.
To remember what each plant was, I bought a pack of little plant labels for $2, and wrote each veggie on them with a black marker. I think it turned out pretty cute! Also- summer squash has big pretty yellow flowers? Learn something new everyday!
So there’s the updates we’ve done for our rental home and the balance we decided on budget wise. All together we “donated” about $75 to the outdoor space of the home in the form of flowers and wood chips, but we think it was completely worth it to have a nice view when we’re hanging out or have company over outside.
Happy Friday everyone! Prost : )