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5 THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT DESERT LANDSCAPING

I feel like this should actually be titled “5 THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT DESERT LANDSCAPING…AN ONGOING SAGA THAT NEVER EVER ENDS…EVER.”

When we bought our house it was grossly over-landscaped.  The sweet old people that lived here before us probably had a landscaping crew that came in once a week and trimmed, mowed, and blew leaves out from under all of the lovely bushes that drop leaves in our front yard.  After we moved in it quickly turned into the secret garden.  The “before” picture doesn’t even show my favorite part:

See that lovely putting green of grass right in the middle of the rocks?  What the random??  We had to comically mow that and worse-pay for water to water it!  And the giant sand pit cherry trees (purple leaved trees seen above) that drop purple STAINING cherries ALL OVER THE GROUND all summer and fall!

I can’t even talk about the giant evergreen bush.  Let’s just say it was far bigger than our shed AND every neighbors animals favorite place to hide and pee.  favorite.  I don’t feel like any of the pictures so far have really done this bush any justice:

BAM!  It’s totally trying to eat that man!  And his truck!!  It was seriously taller than the house and probably at least 15-20 feet wide.  (So most of our front yard).

This is actually a great segway into my list.

  1. KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO.  We were 100% not equipped to handle this bush.  They used chainsaws, magic bush trimmers, several trailers, a stump grinder and so much more.  Just to rent all of that for a day would have cost us only slightly less than what it cost to hire a team to take it on for us.  We also had rose bushes to tear out and they wanted $35 a bush! We had 15 bushes and not nearly enough money to cover them removing them so ripping out our own rose bushes became a personal project.
    This is a screen-shot of the insta video my husband posted.  Ripping these out using a truck and chain took an hour and cost us $20 for the chain!!
  2. BUY THE EXPENSIVE BLACK GROUND COVER.  If you’re putting rocks down it is the only way to go.  With our little putting green we realized that they had just covered the rest of the yard with ground cover and then rocks so we figured we could just do the same.  We bought the cheap ground cover.  I used it to cover the area around the trees too so we could fill them in with rocks (weeds and unwanted grass EVERYWHERE).  Within a month we had grass and weeds quickly growing through the cheap ground cover.  It was so bad it was comical and redoing all of it was a huge pain.  I hate moving piles of rock around with a passion and we ended up doing that A LOT.
  3. TAKE EXISTING ROCK WITH YOU TO MATCH.  This is 100% a no-brainer but I really believed I knew what our rocks looked like when I went to buy more!  The first batch I bought were too purple and the second too orange.  Mixed together they almost look like what was originally here.  And as much as I love shovelling rocks, next time I’m totally paying the delivery fee so I don’t have to shovel them out of the truck myself!!
  4. RE-USE EXISTING LANDSCAPING.  In this area I feel like we did a good job.  There were random rock walls around the underside of the bush, under the trees and on the side of the house built up into walls.  We took that rock and laid it all flat to make rock beds for our new desert plants.  Instead of building them up into a wall they look so good laid out.
  5. USE ROUND-UP EARLY.  I’m a hippie by nature.  We use all natural bug killer on our insects because we love the earth and also worry about poisoning our chickens.  When small shoots of grass/weeds started poking through in a few places in the rocks I continued to put off doing anything about it because I just didn’t have time for weeding.  HUGE mistake.  Those little shoots quickly turned into a lawn of grass on top of my rock and those weeds quickly grew and spread.  Removing them not only took forever but opened up new holes all through-out my ground cover!  We’ve learned to just spray them with round-up early on.  It takes a much shorter amount of time, I can go remove them at my leisure and it prevents them from spreading and doing further damage!
Trying to figure out how to make it all look was by far the biggest challenge.  It is terrifying ripping out existing landscaping because there’s always the wonder if maybe we should have left it because it WAS actually serving a purpose?  AND it was paid for and the last thing I wanted was to have to turn around and pay to put things back in (because we straight up murdered everything we ripped out).

What have you learned about landscaping?  Share with me below!!

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