Everybody’s YARDworking for the Weekend

The weather is warm and we’re full of energy! Here’s a quick rundown of what we got done around the yard yesterday.

We busted up some remnants of an old fence…

Old Fence Woodpile

We dug out this drain that was covered in grass and dirt, then replaced with river rocks…

River Rock Drain

We tore up a dead bush…

Empty Corner

…and replaced it with some rhododendron…


…and lava rocks and a hook for a hanging plant…in the future.

New Corner Garden

We planted some flowers (pansies and snapdragons) in another of our garden spaces…


We mulched the crap out of everything…

corner tree

We’ve had a fence door that has been giving us trouble since we moved in. It turns out ants were destroying the support piece of wood holding all of the slats together. We quickly destroyed them (not pictured) and replaced the wood. (also not pictured)

fence door on ground

That one bottom slat was broken pretty good and was only being held on by the ants’ rotten wood. First though, we replaced all of the nails and capped them with a little wood glue.

New Nails

This didn’t look great, so once the glue was dried we headed out to find a paint that would match for touch ups. With a little help from our friend in the paint department at Lowes we were able to color match pretty close. In this photo it hasn’t dried yet, but you get the idea.

Repaired Fence with Touch Up

Repaired Fence with Wood Putty

Even with the new wood in place this hinge was pretty busted up.

Busted Fence Hinge

After a little reshaping of the hinge and the addition of some new locking washers, its as good as new.

Fixed Hinge

In our humble opinions, the door now works better than ever before. No more getting stuck trying to get into or out of the backyard…

Fixed Fence

And now we’ll leave you with these random flowers that have sprouted up in the yard…

Yard Flowers

Bush Flowers

A Tree Grows in Hazlet

Last week we decided to take care of some business around the house, outdoors to be exact. As we blogged about in the past, a tree fell on my car last year during Hurricane Sandy. Since then, we have obviously wanted to get rid of the eyesore in our back yard (the broken tree).

In addition to that, there is a big huge oak tree in our neighbors driveway, right on our property line. This tree is so huge, it’s limbs extend out to the street, out to our backyard and out, across our driveway in a few directions. The limbs were getting dangerously close to the house and were already putting our cars in a lot of danger…until now! We did our homework on several tree experts in the area and our friends at Avery Tree Experts were up for the challenge.

Tree trimming

We got a great deal from these guys and they did an excellent job. I spoke with them on Tuesday and they came and did the job on Wednesday – amazing! Now we have no limbs hanging over our driveway and nothing is stretching toward the roof of our house. We have also ridded our backyard of that awful broken tree from the storm. I feel a lot safer now from this tree, especially when it comes to major hurricanes, which have been a regular occurrence in New Jersey for us lately!

Tree trimming, trimmed treeTrimming branches on a treeTree stump, tree trimming

So you may be wondering, “why no DIY on this project?” Simply put: this job was just way too big for us. Not only do we not have the proper tools (chain saw, etc.) we also just could never reach these limbs and additionally, hauling everything away…not really sure how we would pull that off. This was definitely one for the professionals, and we have talked about this before, but I think it’s really important to realize when you can DIY and when you need to ask for help from the pros.

Do you know when to turn a project over to the pros or do you usually end up in over your head? Head over to our Facebook page or Tweet at us to let us know your DIY and home improvement dos and donts!

Gardening for Dummies | How-To Plant Hydrangeas

I’ve aptly titled this blog post as “Gardening for Dummies” because we are just that when it comes to gardening; a couple-a dummies. But just like everything else we dive into, Google is always our best friend so we manage somehow.

I love hydrangeas. Not just like…love. It’s been somewhat of an obsession lately because I’ve been dying to plant some at our house for about a year now. I think Andrew is getting sick of hearing me gasp every time we pass a house with hydrangeas while driving around town. I’m sick with hydrangea-envy.

We have a pretty decent-sized garden at the end of our 2nd driveway that was a bit overgrown and messy when we first moved in. Thanks to our friends at  Lawn Ace, we eliminated most of the weeds and any plants that were dead and dying.

DIY and home improvement tips on gardening

Once we had a clean slate on our hands, we worked in drips and drabs to get the garden back up and running again. We tilled the soil, dug up a ton of crazy roots that were growing all over the place and paid close attention to any plants that were still surviving. Our first real stab at gardening was taken a little over a year ago when we planted some hostas. You can read all about planting hostas right here.

Planting hostas in your garden and other DIY gardening tips

We also added some black mulch to really make things pop. I’ve always been a fan of the way black mulch really accentuates landscaping and gardens. We also use Preen which includes weed control. Weeds definitely still make their way through, but not as much as they do sans mulch, so we are always pleased with the results.

So that brings you up to speed with our gardening endeavors so far. Mostly cleanup and then a little addition with some hostas. A few weekends ago when we were shopping at Lowe’s we noticed plenty of hydrangeas for sale so we had to go for it. We bought two, one blue and one pink.

Planting hydrangeas gardening tips

I’ve seen hydrangeas take on this gradient effect with coloring so I’m hoping that these two eventually start making some blueish, pinkish, purple-looking flowers as well. I’ve also heard that hydrangeas are really easy to manage and easy to grow. In addition, the instructions that came with these two indicated that they should be planted in part to full shade…bingo. That’s perfect for a couple of novice gardeners.

It seems like hydrangeas are really the perfect plant if you ask me. They are so pretty – I just love the vibrant colors –  and they will supposedly grow just about anywhere. I think they also look great against the black mulch and they are also seemingly easy to take care of (knock on wood). I’m hoping we can make these last and, if we’re lucky, they will grow to their full potential which is about 4 ft. x 4 ft. That would be amazing.

Now, as promised, a quick how-to for planting hydrangeas…

4 Easy Steps for Planting Hydrangeas

  1. Clear enough space to plant your hydrangeas (about 2 – 4 feet on all sides is preferable from what we’ve read).Planting hydrangeas and other gardening tips
  2. Dig a hole about 2 times the size of the root ball (the plant food-laden ball of soil in which your store-bought hydrangea is growing). You will obviously need to remove the plant, attached to root ball, from the plastic pot it came in.
  3. Place the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball it is even with the ground.
  4. Fill in around the root ball, tamp the soil and cover with mulch.

It’s literally that easy. Enjoy!

Gardening tips for planting hydrangeas

Do you have a green thumb? Maybe you could share some gardening secrets with us, or just let us know what your favorite kind of flower or plant is. Follow us on Pinterest to see some of our greatest outdoor inspiration and like us on Facebook to stay connected on the go!