Wednesday, March 10, 2010

There Has To Be A Plan

OK, so before I get too far into this, I have a small confession to make. We have hired a professional landscape designer to come up with a blueprint for our new landscape. No, we aren't rich. We have a small yard so the cost was actually reasonable, and we need help. Lots of it. I have all the design sense of a blind cave shrimp and my husband would frankly rather have his fingernails removed without anesthesia than do any yard work to begin with, so there you have it.

Here is what our front and back yard looked like last summer, before the Nuclear Winter of 2010. We had weed-infested St. Augustine grass barely hanging on because we refused to use Weed n' Feed, and a lot of pretty plants -- HAD being the operative word, since they died this winter. But they weren't planted with any theme or scheme, and most were planted in the wrong places (shade-loving plants in the sun, etc). Invasive Boston Fern gobbled up one side of our yard and I was constantly beating back invasive Mexican petunia on the other. The golden dewdrop I planted one foot from our backyard shed as a tiny seedling got a lot bigger and taller than I anticipated, and had to lean to the right at nearly a 90-degree angle to grow. I also planted gorgeous native Walter's Viburnum shrubs along our driveway, again without really researching their mature size. The two viburnums grew so big and so close to the driveway edge that we have trouble even opening our car doors to get in or out. Now you see why we need a professional.

The designer we chose is very familiar with Florida-Friendly landscapes. She didn't flinch when we told her we wanted NO grass in our new 'do. Neither did our neighbors here in wonderful, tolerant South Seminole Heights, an urban neighborhood of old homes and eclectic homeowners near downtown Tampa. I also liked the designer's holistic approach. After visiting our property twice, she's made recommendations for guttering to solve our water flow problems, with the gutters tying into rain barrels. She's also talked us into a second gate for our new privacy fence so we could move our kayaks to the unused side of our yard where we can actually get at them much more easily than their previous home behind the shed. Duh! Sometimes it just takes a fresh eye to point out the obvious.

So we will have a wonderful, professional design soon. But we're determined to install it ourselves. In the meantime, we are under orders to remove virtually everything currently growing in our yard. Whew -- it's a lot of work.


  1. Looking good Nanette! Keep it up; I look forward to following the progress.

  2. This wonderful that you are doing this and posting a blog about it. There are so many people that would like to follow suit but don't have a clue where to start. I work with a non-profit, Plan C Initiative, that is doing just this, but working with whole neighborhoods to create larger scale transformations. We'd love to create another neighborhood project in partnership with TBEP!

  3. Eric, Great to hear from you. Are you still taking beautiful photographs?

    Karen, why don't you consider applying for a Bay Mini-Grant this year? Deadline is October 1 and info can be found on our website at