You know what comes with an old house….an old yard or land. Typically your property has been neglected equally or worse than your home and that means a crazy amount of endless work. Our house sat empty for over 2 years and the property had been let go of long before that…it was absolute madness. I referred to it as Grey Gardens when we moved in.

You might be somebody that can hire landscapers (I envy you)…I once drove passed an old home getting a complete landscape makeover – the company they hired created for them in a week, what will take us years to establish. Yes, I was jealous and gave a bit of side-eye as I drove by, but in the end, we have learned so much doing the work ourselves.

We’re amateurs at best and I imagine there are a lot of things we could have done better, but in the end, it’s about loving your dirt and making the most of it. Otherwise, to me, there isn’t much point in owning property.

I’ve broken up the landscaping we’ve done into two posts, because we’ve done a lot of it and I wasn’t able to condense it all, even though I tried really hard, he he.

We started immediately when we moved in, in 2011, so most of these shots are of our initial work which took two years to really get it to a place that we could start using it the way we had hoped. We started with putting in a fence around some of the our property because of our dogs, and for privacy.

It’s impossible to truly capture the amount of work it took to get our property to where it is today, though still in need of a lot of work outside of the fenced area. We even worked hard to improve the ground itself, planting new grass seed, and fertilizing.

This will be an ongoing battle for us for a few years more as we tackle more landscaping projects (there’s more property that desperately needs work) and continue to improve on what we’ve started. You really have to stay on top of it, because the moment you think you’ve finally worked out all the kinks – ground-ivy, thistle, crabgrass and so many other weeds will bring you back to reality. Nothing grows as well or as fast as a weed.

Part one focuses on all the work we’ve done thus far to get our property to a place where we could actually use it. Part two talks about what we did after, to improve it.

This picture was taken in 2011, when we had first moved in.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2012, after we had a fence installed the previous year around some of our property. I had gotten a bit too excited about planting at this point, and planted a few random plants…with all the work we’d been doing, I think I just needed to feel like a flower garden would happen…eventually.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2011, the day we were getting our fence installed. This is also the day I witnessed a man spray himself with wasp spray. The guys installing the fence hit a hornets nest, and I guess he thought that would work..that’s probably one of the most gangsta things I’ve ever witnessed.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2011, fence installed but so much work still to do!

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2012, most of the removal was finished but we still had two dead trees to remove and 3 huge stumps to dig out of the ground.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2011, we had so many shrubs and giant weeds that had turned into shrubs or taken over shrubs and trees. Digging out their stumps was the definition of insanity, weed stumps are built to live forever.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2012, those large brown patches are all from huge shrub weeds we had to remove. We hadn’t started on the grass yet.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Circa 2011, another shot from the day we had our fence installed.


Circa 2011, we had made significant progress at this point, but there was still a lot more left to do.

Circa 2012, finally getting it to a place to start cutting in beds. We removed that leaning tree a few years later.

Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

The saddest part of all the landscaping was having to tear down this adorable shed. Unfortunately, it had too many issues to save. It had been used to cure meats where it had caught fire at one point, had serious wood rot, and a flea and carpenter ant infestation. We attempted to move it as it was built so close to the house, but when trying to do so, it began to fall apart and we knew we had to let it go. We have plans to build a potting shed in the future, but it was upsetting to remove something that had been apart of our home.