The biggest one is that the front of the house went from this last year:
To this now:
These plants (hosta, coleus and impatiens) were all put in within the last few weeks so there hasn't been a ton of growth, but we'll get there. I'm always on the lookout for different full shade perennials; I hate waiting for annuals to grow.
The entrance to the house in 2010:
A new paver path, surrounded with alyssum. Dusty Miller are planted along the foundation. Again, these need time to grow. Dusty Miller are annuals but the alyssum might come back next year. They will sometimes self-seed. The paver path is maybe not exactly what I would have chosen, but I felt like we needed some sort of walkway there and all the materials were free (except for the soil I added).
The backyard still looks like crap. The neighbors to one side moved out, so now their overgrown who-knows-what-plants-they-are tower over our fence. I cut them back as much as I dare--anything that overhangs our fence and anything I feel might come down and be a danger. I didn't take pictures, but I don't even know if these are actual flowers or if they're just really overgrown weeds. I have yet to see blooms on any of them. Here's the side yard with all the landscaping timbers we've taken out of the rest of the yard so far:
I've thought about putting in another flower bed here, but I think I might just go with grass. I know the meter reader needs to be able to get to the meter, so putting a bed there seems like it would be begging for trampled flowers.
B is going all George Washington on the cherry tree/bush/annoyance.
Black walnut tree, you're next. You can see it in the background of this shot, next to the basketball hoop.
Yaya is showing off a rock he found. He's holding a blue pitcher because I told them that whoever filled up their pitcher with rocks from the other side of the yard and dumped them in the rock bed the most times would win. They only moved about five pitchers full, but that's that many fewer rocks for me to move.
Don't you love the weedy rock bed? River rock and weeds, what a fantastic use of space. Eventually we will expand the patio all the way to the fence and over past the gate. We love using the patio to grill or just sit out and the boys love riding bikes or playing on it, but right now it's too small to accommodate the basketball hoop, grill, patio table and bikes. I'd rather have eight extra feet of width on the patio rather than a pile of rocks and a weedy unused flower bed.
We're going to aerate and reseed bare spots this fall, so my goal is to have the backyard ready to be seeded by Labor Day. It'll be a lot of work and a lot of rocks to move, but if I can trick the boys into thinking it's a game again like I did today, it might be doable. They probably won't fall for that forever, though.