When we moved onto our new property, we immediately set out to begin work on the landscaping. It all started with the daunting task of clearing the lot — removing all of the old pasture grass, weeds, and dead trees — so that we could begin with a completely clean slate.
We did a lot by hand, but given the sheer volume, we soon realized we were fighting a losing battle.
Thankfully, our house mover gave us full use of his tractor, and soon we had the upper hand!
What would have taken months and possibly even years by hand, we were able to take care of in a matter of weeks with the tractor! By the end of fall, we had a beautifully cleared lot.
Then, the rains came…along with the return of the pasture grass and weeds — which we actually didn’t mind since it gave us an instant lawn and something much prettier to look at besides just dirt. However, we knew we didn’t want it everywhere, and so the battle was on, once again!
We no longer had access to the tractor, so it was back to using shovels, hula hoes, rakes, and good ol’ elbow grease to carve out flower beds and borders around the house and other key places around the property. Given the record amount of rain we’d been receiving, the ground was, thankfully, fairly easy to work in!
With spring right around the corner, however, we knew we were up against time — especially when it came to creating the beds in the vegetable garden. We knew that there was no way we’d be able to double-dig all of those beds in time for spring planting. So, we decided to let black plastic sheeting (left over from our house move) do the work for us. We simply cut the plastic into the size and shapes of the beds we wanted, and placed them right on top of the ground where we wanted the beds to be.
It really worked well!
So well, in fact, that it has become our method of choice for creating new flower and vegetable beds all around the property. The plastic remains in place for a couple of months until all of the grass and weeds underneath are killed and any grass clippings, and kitchen and garden waste that have been tossed under are also fairly well decomposed, then it is moved to a new site to create another bed. It’s definately an eye-sore, but the results are worth it. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter — one time a man, who had been working in the orange orchard behind us, seeing all of the perfectly laid out plastic sheeting for my vegetable garden, anxiously called me over to ask what I had “buried under there”…Ha! I hadn’t noticed it before, but I suppose it did look a bit like a cemetery (especially since they were a bit raised up from all of the dead leaves I’d been tossing underneath)!
When the plastic is removed, the fun begins… Thanks to Craigslist, friends, family, and the clearance rack at Lowe’s and Home Depot, we’ve been able to start landscaping on the cheap!
The front yard and vegetable garden are beginning to look amazing!
We really have done a lot of landscaping in a short amount of time. Yet, with 2.8 acres, there is still so much to do! Now that we’ve figured out a great method for creating beds, though, it’s more a matter of time than chance that we’ll eventually be able to create the gardens of our dreams!