White Picket Fence… Now What?!?!

As of the time of this blog post, I am a relatively new home owner. I still consider myself a new home owner because I still walk through my house saying to myself, “I own this”, or, “this is all mine.” I wonder if this will ever change? Will I be looking back twenty years from now and still feel like I am a new home owner?

When we moved in, it was a very hectic weekend. We tried to get everything moved in as few trips from the old place as possible. We didn’t hire movers, as I had my younger son helping me. He was 17 at the time, in good shape, and strong. I was not 17, not in good shape, but considered myself strong enough. As I said… it was a long and hard week.

Along with this new house, we had a few benefits over the old place. We had a basement for storage, so everything that did not FIT the house, or we didn’t have a place for… we put down in the basement. We had a long driveway that could hold 3 cars. We also had a pretty large yard, with a deck off the kitchen.

Wait, did I say benefit? In the long run, I guess it was a benefit, but when we moved in the grass and weeds were so high that you couldn’t even see over them! I am not kidding. They were the height of corn-stalks.

Since we did not own a home previously, I guess we would need a few tools in order to get the jungle under control.  Luckily we already had a head-start as the previous owner left us a brand new mower in the basement!

There is no way that this mower would be able to handle the work-load ahead of it.  Even if it could, I do not think I (or my son) would have been able to handle the task with the yard in the shape that it was in.  Maybe once the job was complete we could use this mower every week to keep it under control, but there was no way this manual mower was going to be able to wrestle our current yard into submission.

The first task would be to chop down these 6 foot weeds throughout the WHOLE yard.  Along with this, we would need to make sure that there was nothing in the yard that didn’t belong there.  This was a task for my son!  He dove into the jungle, and scoured every inch to make sure he removed every large stick, any hidden lawn ornaments, and anything else that wasn’t sprouting out of the ground.

For this step of the process we ignored the home-made wood play structure that was back there.  That was a project for a different day.  We concentrated on cleaning up anything that would get in our way while trying to clear these weeds. 

As a new home owner, I did not realize how many trips to Home Depot I would be taking.  It seems they would need to install a revolving door just for me.  Not only did we spend the first week of ownership painting rooms, but we came back a few times to refill on paint.  So off to the hardware store I went to buy some tools to turn my backyard jungle into a yard.

Tool #1 - Lawnmower

The first tool on my list was a power mower.  Since we just bought the house, and I am not exactly made of money, I would have to go with one of the cheaper options.  I opted for something cheap that I hoped would get the job done.  Since the weeds were so high, it would still take quite a bit of elbow grease to complete this task.  I called on my son, and it did take quite a while, but he got it done.  He had to tilt the mower almost at a 90 degree angle to get most of the weeds.  I wish I had spent a bit more here, because the model we bought did not come with a collection bag.  This would cause us an issue for clean up.  Off to Home Depot for a leaf blower.

Update: Please do not buy the mower I did.  I bought this because it was CHEAP and QUICK to buy.  Check out my Buyers Guide to Mowers.

Tool #2 - Leaf Blower \ Mulcher

I bought an electric model, as I did not want to have to worry about gas like the mower.  I bought this thinking it would make the clean-up of all of the weeds easy.  This was not the case though, as the grass and weeds were too heavy for the blower to push into a pile, or even pick up.  While this helped greatly once the leaves started falling, it didn’t give us much benefit with the current mess.  Off to Home Depot for a solid rake.

Tool #3 - A Solid Rake

Since the leaf blower was a bust for this project, I needed a way to clean up all the grass and weeds that were all freshly cut and sitting in the yard.  I knew if we left them there, then they would re-root, and sprout up quicker than ever.  Along with the rake I bought a few heavy pairs of gardening gloves, and some leaf bags to put in all the mess.

Once I returned, it took us the rest of the day to clean up the mulch, get it in bags, and pack it up for our pickup day.  Note to self (and you): Either get waterproof bags, or store them in a place that is shielded from rain.  We had to repack these, as they fell apart during a rainstorm while we waited for pickup.

Tool #4 - Hedge Trimmer

So once we got the grass and yard under control we noticed the next issue.  We had six foot tall hedges along the left side of our yard.  They were almost as out of control as the weeds were, so I needed to find a way to get control.  Back to Home Depot yet again.  I bought a 3/4 inch hedge trimmer, as I didn’t believe I would need any more than that for the hedges.  I decided on an electric model as I already had a really long extension cord, and I did not like the gas mower.

Two hours later, the hedges were trimmed, nice and neat.  Another hour, and the clippings were all in lawn bags.  The lawn bags… down in the basement until pickup day.

Tool #5 - Weed Wacker

Once the grass was cut, and the hedges were trimmed, I noticed that I had a white-picket fence.  It was in pretty sad shape though, and I looked at it as a project for another day.  The edges of the yard though were not mowed…  It was hard to get in there with the mower, so I guess it is time for another trip.  Again, I went with a cheap electric model here.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it did get the job done.

So now my yard is under control.  As long as I keep up with it in the spring and summer, I shouldn’t need any more tools.  The basement is getting quite crowded though.  With rakes, shovels, garden and landscaping tools, it is hard to even walk down there.  

Now I really need to find a better place to store all of this yard maintenance stuff.  I wonder where I can get a shed?

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