The State Of The Backyard: An End-Of-Summer Update

Earlier this year, between about April and July, we were making some pretty good headway on the backyard. (You can check out the original “State Of The Backyard” post here, and the various progress-related posts in this category.) But then for the latter half of summer, the backyard efforts went completely off the rails — […]

Starting Some Flower Seeds: A Tale Of Two Zinnia Packets

From some of my recent blog posts, it may be evident that I’ve been getting a little obsessed with gardening lately, even though I’m still a complete newbie — for more on this phenomenon, you can check out my recent “Bloom Day” post here. So for today’s post, I wanted to share a little seed-starting project […]

Our New Fence: The Installation & After Pics

A few weeks ago, I laid out the plan for our back fence in this post, which explained why we wanted to replace the old chain link fence with a 6-foot privacy fence and how we ended up deciding to call in the pros rather than try to DIY it. Shortly after came a teaser […]

Flowers For The New Window Boxes

In the last installment of the garage window box saga, we had purchased two new 36-inch wooden window boxes from Home Depot to replace the old rotting ant-filled window boxes, and installed them using the same brackets the old ones had used. (For a refresher, check out this post for the pictures and details of […]

The Plan For Our Back Fence

Back in April, I mentioned that replacing the back fence was one of the biggest goals for our yard this summer, for a combination of privacy and aesthetic reasons. Since it sits between our yard and the alley and is currently just an old chain link fence, we get a less than stellar view of […]

What’s Been Blooming Around The Yard? {Bloom Day, May 2013}

Over on one of my new favorite blogs, May Dreams Gardens, there’s a recurring feature that takes place on the 15th of every month called Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, where bloggers from around the world share photos of what’s been blooming in their gardens. Even though I’m not exclusively a garden blogger, working on prettifying […]

Replacing The Garage Window Boxes

When I last left off blogging about our backyard progress, we had just discovered a huge colony of ants living in one of the window boxes on the garage (read all about that here) and subsequently removed the window boxes because they were very old and rotten. We were left with this unsightly view, with discolored […]

A Nasty Surprise In One Of The Window Boxes

While working on the yard the weekend before last, in between successfully cleaning up one of the overgrown flowerbed areas, I figured I’d get a little head start on one of the garage window boxes in preparation for actually planting some flowers in them this summer. Specifically, this one over here: We’d had these old […]

Backyard Progress: Preparing A Flower Bed

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been making some more progress on the backyard — specifically this one little area right by the stairs leading up to the back door, which the previous owners had had bordered off as sort of a flowerbed area. Somehow, I seem to have missed getting a good straight-on “before” […]

Bye Bye, Weed Trees

In the wake of last week’s post showing an in-depth look at the sorry state of our backyard, I’m happy to report on some progress made on one of the things we wanted to tackle back there — namely, these scraggly “weed trees” growing along the back fence: Due to the way they were just […]

The State Of The Backyard, April 2013

Shortly after we bought our house, I wrote a post featuring a “virtual tour” of the exterior and yard (which can be found here). All of the photos from that post were taken in June of 2011, before we’d moved in or done anything with the yard. And now, almost two years later… we’re moved in, […]

Early Springtime Buds And Blooms

Despite the tendency of our local retailers to behave as though summer starts in February, winter here in Chicago has a way of lingering on and on, long past the point where it’s welcome. But finally, over the past week or so, it’s been getting a little more noticeably spring-like around here. We’ve been getting a ton of […]

Making a Flower Bed out of Weeds and Grass

When we first moved into our house, the front yard was entirely grass, with five little evergreen shrubs in a row up against the house. The shrubs are Taxus x Media ‘Densiformis’ more commonly known as Yew — we know this because the tags were still on the plants from where they were bought, indicating […]

Inexpensive Spring Lawn Care

It’s official: spring is here! And spring brings the possibility of all kinds of outdoorsy house things, like planting flowers, gardening, and lawn care. Good old lawn care. I’ll admit to being a complete newbie when it comes to proper lawn care. Growing up, it was just “cut the grass whenever it gets too long,” […]

Autumn Gardening

Right around the time Lillian was born, the autumn colors came out in full force here in Chicago, with beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves everywhere you look. And since this is our first autumn in the new house, it was fun to learn that the tree out front turns a lovely shade of gold […]