Life in the dream home

Category Archives: Gardening

After our tree trimming and general clean up of the yard it was time to focus on the lawn. As I mentioned in the tree trimming post our lawn was bare and brown and the only green was the green from the spiky crabgrass and weeds growing there. Here’s a picture to remind you of what it looked before.

When it came to deciding on whether to get a new lawn or to just add grass seed, fertilizer, water and wait, the husband and I could not agree. While I wanted to do it by myself, he insisted that we get a landscaper to lay the new lawn even if it meant that it would cost more that way.  He won, by saying that the kids could have a new lawn by the end of the week instead of having to wait 3 or 4 weeks.

So we went from

to this,

to finally this,

and this, all in one day.

The kids have been enjoying their new lawn ever since. The play out in the lawn then move to the deck and splash around in the kiddie pool before heading for their bath and dinner.

We also added some mulch  to the veggie patch and planted some tomatoes, various colors of peppers, eggplant, zucchini and beans.  THis picture was taken before we planted them.

and the white stuff that you see are the flowers from the tree next to the kitchen window. I am using it as free  and organic fertilizer for the veggie patch.

Here are some more pictures of our new lawn.

Please forgive the lone flip flop and the broom in the next picture. They were left behind when the dad came home early and the kids ran to greet him.

BTW, did you guys notice that our deck needs a new paint job.

While I was researching on ways to clean and re paint a deck, I found out that we need to re-seal it first. Does any one know whats the best time to do this, i.e. before spring, before summer, during fall? Would really appreciate suggestions and tips on how to do this.


Our backyard is not huge at all. In fact the entire size of our lot is under 6000 sq ft. But, when we first saw it, we were more than impressed at how beautifully it could serve all the three functions we had in mind for it.

A deck or a patio where we could sit, relax, eat, play, work and sleep ( on clear starry summer nights).

A  dedicated place to grow fruits, veggies and herbs.

And most importantly, a decent sized lawn for the kids to run and play.

But, as you can see from the above pictures, it was an over grown, unkempt mess. There were brown spots on the lawn when we toured the home ( when the above picture was taken), which by the time we moved in, had weeds and crabgrass all over. The lights broken and in need of updating

The hedge and trees needed trimming. There were  also dead and dying plants.

The sprinkler and drip irrigation system were not working and needed replacement, and finally a deck that needed a thorough scrubbing and a new coat of paint.

We started our backyard with a clean up of what we thought were dead plants and also cleaned up the yard a bit, by cleaning I mean trying to trim the crabgrass with shears. So that the kids could run and play on the grass when we couldn’t take them to the park.

Then we pruned a  couple of limbs from the tree next to the deck. The limbs that we pruned were directly over our roof and posed a “significant” safety hazard should they fall or get damaged during a storm. This was recommended by both the roof and the home inspector. To do this we called  landscapers and asked for their suggestions on how to limb up the tree without damaging it. Then we got a tree cutting service to take care of the job. It’s the tree on the right in the picture below.

Did you guys notice the arrow on the left pointing to the tree on the other side on the  fence. This tree though not technically ours, covers a part of our deck and side yard with its canopy. At first we were glad to have the canopy extend to our deck, since our deck was uncovered and the apple tree did not have any leaves and offered no shade, but  two weeks into moving in we realized that the fruit that was falling from this Pomelo tree was rotting and damaging the deck.  The dark area directly under the canopy that you see in the above picture is not  its shadow, but the damage done to the deck, by rotting fruit from this tree.

So at first, I bought a pair of shears and tried to trim some of the offending limbs seen in the below picture, but it did not make much of a difference.

So I borrowed a  handsaw and  a ladder from my sister and carefully trimmed the branches of the tree that were hanging over the deck. I took care to leave the limbs intact and just take out the leaves and fruit that were directly over the deck.

Next on the list the lawn and veggie patch. I’ll be back with updates about them  in the next post.

There was this barren tree in the backyard when we first toured our home and the husband and I both wondered what it was.  Then the gardener we hired to clean the backyard (did I mention that the home was a foreclosure and the backyard wasn’t maintained for around 6 months and was overgrown)  said that it was an apple tree and I’ve been waiting impatiently for any signs of life from it ever since. And look what happened a week ago after the storm.

Surprise in the apple tree

The tree was filled with flowers overnight.

For someone who grew up in a city, in a home that had no backyard and the only plants I’ve ever had in my home growing up were rose bushes in  pots on the balcony of our home.  Those are the only plants I knew how to take care of and rose bushes were the only ones I bought when the husband and I moved into our first apartment.

When we moved to a bigger apartment a couple of years later, I tried my hands at garlic, peppers and strawberries, but managed to keep only the strawberries alive and the fruit was never sweet and juicy.

This apple tree gives me hope, I’ve watched this tree for the past 5 months and there was nothing, and now suddenly it is blooming. It’s like there is a little heart inside the tree that keeps beating tick tock, tick tock, during the cold winter bidding time, not giving up, waiting for spring. I just wish that we humans all had the same resilience and perseverance and bounced back blooming from winters in our lives instead of withering out.

Now, the first thing the kids and I do when we wake up is to look outside our windows to check on the tree, my son has already requested apple jam and apple sauce and has even made a list of people who we need to share the fruit with. His gets so filled with excitement and sings Apple tree, apple tree, when will your apple fall on me?