Monday, May 19, 2014

making the garden grow!

This weekend we had unexpectedly beautiful weather! What a luxury to see the blue skies and sunshine for two whole days in a row without any rain: let's keep that coming Michigan! We also had our first "free" weekend in over a month so we were able to get lots of work done in the yard.

On Saturday we spent a lot of the day weeding the beds around the backyard. We have had lots of rain recently so the garden bags we filled were supppper heavy by the time we were finished! Thankfully most of the big weeds came right out because of the wet soil so at least there was a silver lining. For some reason I only took before pictures of the weeding, probably because it barely looks like we have made a dent; we still have lot's more work to do!


Wasn't it just a lovely sight? Those beautiful dated rocks, fill the bed below the biggest tree in our yard and are currently below the swing near our patio. They are a mess: there is barely one layer of rocks left and the weeds just flourish... but are SO HARD TO PULL! Needless to say that was a labor of love.

We also did a lot of work on our garden plot where the shed used to be. On the Saturday before Mother's Day, Rob and I spend a good part of the day hauling dirt from the front of the house to the back to fill the huge hole (which was filled with water from all the rain). But after hours and many many full wheelbarrows we completed filling our new "dirt water bed". Honestly, when you walked on the newly dumped dirt everything around you would shift like walking on a water bed. Hilarious really.

Thankfully after a week of semi dry weather we were able to make leaps and bounds towards our raised garden bed plan! We detoured a little and made some changes, "best laid plans..." as they say, but overall we are loving the progress and can't wait to get some plants in the beds!


We actually built the beds last weekend and they have been stacked on our patio for the last week just waiting to find their home! We used treated 2x12's to make the boxes, which is nice and heavy and won't rot once all the soil is dumped. We want these to last for a couple of years so we decided to spend a couple extra dollars to get the nicer option. We ran out yesterday to get some mulch to spread once the beds were in place. We decided on the cheapest option with no added color so our two Australian Shepherds wouldn't get sick or be tempted to eat the mulch. So far so good!

Once we placed the beds and our (once again awesome) neighbor helped us stand on and pound them in to sink them a bit, we were able to lay down the landscapers cloth. It's about 24$ for 100 feet at English Garden's and we have lots left over. We decided to lay this down to prevent as many weeds as possible from sprouting through the mulch.

After laying the mulch around the edges of the beds to get the cloth to stay in place we decided that adding stepping stones would create a more substantial feeling for this area of the yard. We had paver stones piled up against the house that had been ripped out of the "original" front yard to make way for our beautiful new walkway. We are so happy that we hadn't gotten rid of these prior to making these beds, we like the way it turned out with them and we also saved quite a bit of cash on the mulch that would have taken their place!

This is what we have so far. Absolutely NOT finished but we are getting there! We are going to mulch out into the yard a bit (where all the "grass" is dead) to make the area look a bit more substantial. More progress should be made this week and we are excited for the final result! Stay posted!!

Side note: Of course the girls had a ball romping through the mud before it was covered; those are some happy pups! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Guest Contributor: Andrea Carlson of SCC Kitchen Bath and Home, Minneapolis

Fun Additions For Your Home

The decision to add another room to your home is a difficult one. It usually involves a significant amount of work and planning but can add useful living space to your home. Not only that, but it can add value to your home. It’s important that you have a good idea of what room you would like to add to your home and to be sure it doesn’t look like an afterthought. So here is a list of room addition ideas that will look great on your home.

A Hanging Porch

A hanging porch will look natural on almost any home. It is also a relatively simple addition because it does not involve building an entire new four-walled room. This is obviously a seasonal room and will not have a significant increase on the value of your home.

Room On Top of the Garage

While this could really be any room it is usually made into an additional bedroom. This is a great place to have a guest room or an additional media room. This can be rather costly as heating/cooling this room will be an additional concern. However because this is a costly and difficult addition it will add value to your home.

Sun Room

Sun rooms or sun porches are, much like porches, easier and less expensive then adding a new full room. Unlike porches they can be used all year round. These do not add the same value to the home as a four walled room because they do not provide the function of a bedroom or other living area. These are not a real substitution to a full on room addition but do provide a unique space to your home.

Media Room

If you’re adding new room to your house, you no doubt you have thought of adding a media room.  This provides an additional gathering room for guests and family members. Adding a home theater or media room will add value to your home as it is a four-walled room with temperature control and electricity. Not to mention that it could also be used as an additional bedroom in the future.

About the Author

Andrea Carlson works with SCC Kitchen Bath & Home, a Minneapolis-based remodeling company.