Tag Archives: yard

Tree 101: Figuring Out What Kind Of Trees We Have

Stumped by which kinds of trees are in your yard? Here some tips to help quickly identify any unknown tree!

This year is about about trees – learning about them, tending to them, pruning a few, and in some  cases, chopping them.

Our yard is packed with trees. No matter which side you're viewing it from there are trees around.

In the front, we have an apple tree that needs a little bit of love,  and a few dogwoods.

By the house we have pine trees (duh!) which provide shade and help keep the cooling bills reasonable (but clog our gutters). And in our backyard we have oaks scattered.

And then there are the others.

What Kind of Tree is This?

Walking the property, we found quite a few trees we didn't know.

As we were chopping down the weeds we found some unknown to us saplings and when we were trying to clean up the yard we discovered unfamiliar leaves.

Being curious, we searched online to see what they were.

If you're stumped (yeah, I went there) with identifying the trees in your yard, here are some of my favorite tools:

Heads up, if you're not familiar with the terminology, the questions can throw you off.

I admit I had to rely on the pictures to help me out. So feel free to snap away and make sure you get the correct identification.

The good news is it looks like we have quite a collection of trees in our yard, besides the ones I mentioned, we also have:

  • Magnolia
  • Walnut
  • Tulip
  • Green Ash

Dealing with Sick Trees

We love having trees on the property, but we've also had some problems as a few of them needed to be taken down.

In June a huge limb from one of the oaks fell off and smashed our patio set. The scary part was we were relaxing on it not even five minutes before! (Prayer of thanks for that)

We've also had to have professionals come in and chop down some sick oaks. On the down side, it set us back a pretty penny, but we now have more sun come in right in the area we need it to be in (next year's garden spot).

Thoughts on Trees

Hoping when the leaves fall later this year on the remaining trees, we can use add some mulch on tip and get the whole yard ready in time for next spring.

I'd love to here the set up around your place. Which trees do you have in your yard? Any favorites?

20 Easy Plants to Grow in Your Food Garden

As part of our yard makeover plans, I picked up supplies at the store.

The cashier saw all that was in my cart and mentioned how she wished she could start a food garden, but she didn't have a green thumb.

I nodded, I completely understood her feelings. I used to a person who kept a cactus because it was the only plant I felt I could keep alive.

Fast forward a few years and now I'm hunting through seed catalog picking out what we're going to grow. It didn't happen overnight, but it wasn't as hard as I had thought.

I told the cashier what helped me was building confidence and practicing gardening skills with easy to grow plants.

If you're in the same boat, I hope I can help you prepare for an awesome years of gardening without a ton of hassle.

Easy Herbs, Veggies, and Fruits to Plant

Even if you're new to gardening, with a little love and attention, these herbs, fruits, and vegetables will give you tasty food.

Savory Herbs

Make your meals pop with fresh herbs.

  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Basil

Hardy Vegetables

Having fresh vegetables a few feet away can make it easier to eat healthier.

  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Summer Squash
  • Bell Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions

Easy Fruits

Satisfy your sweet tooth with some fruits from your own patch of land.

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Figs
  • Apples

Seeds or Seedling?

If this is your first garden, I say grab both.

You can grab seeds for root vegetables. Tomatoes can be less stressful starting with seedlings while growing your herbs from seeds isn't much a big deal.

You also want to consider your budget. Seedlings are usually pricier, so you may want to pick and choose carefully.

If you're looking for heirloom seeds and live plants, check any of these places out.

Thoughts on Starting Your Food Garden

How many of you growing a garden this year? What do you want to grow

Yard Makeover: The 2016 Plan

Now that we have settled down for the most part, we're looking at transforming our place into a home and one of first goals – making over our yard.

When we were touring the house we loved the size, but we knew it would take quite a bit of work to get the yard ready.

Our Yard Makeover Plan

Besides making it looking good, we have a few practical goals for our backyard:

  • Kids: The house came with a playground, but it is in definite need of TLC and maintenance. (Maybe more, but we have to ask someone more knowledgeable.) We also want to maintain an open area so they could play and run.
  • Food: We've had a vegetable garden for years. It's been small spaces, though, so we're looking to learn and grow more this year.
  • Cat: We're creating a spot for our lovable (to me) and crazy cat. This was something we've planned for awhile as it became clear that our cat was better off and happier when exploring outside.

We have a lot of work ahead of us for this year.

Remove the Overgrown Ivy and Brier

There is a ton of ivy around the front and back, growing on some of the trees and the fence, climbing on the brick.

Tons of leaves, brier, ivy, and mess when we first started with the yard.

One of my first tasks was to get it off the brick.

The brier is also scattered about (which has meant plenty of times I've been scratched and cut!), but it's especially bad on the fence.

Prepping Our Garden Spots

The soil around our place varies so we're using two good and sunny patches for our inaugural gardens.

I'm picking up seeds for both vegetables and flowers and will start planting this weekend.

(I did a podcast on easy plants to grow in case you want to try gardening out.)

As for the rest of the yard, we're be working on remediating the soil. We have sandy spots on the south side and plenty of clay in the back corner.

With all the yard debris we've been clearing, I'm going to try hugelkultur beds out in the back part of the yard.

Figuring Out the Playground

We cleared out the leaves, vines, and yard mess around the play-set. Now we have to figure out what to do with the actual playground.

We can't afford to buy a new one, but I do like having one out for the girls and their friends to enjoy.

Some of the beams need to be replaced for sure, along with the swings which have definitely seen better days.

If you've done this, could you let me know how it went?

Free the Panther

One of the stipulations with the move is that my cranky cat (who had a habit of marking) would be acclimated into an outdoor one.

It's not too much of a stretch – he use to hang outside, but with no real yard and plenty of dogs around, his options were limited in the townhouse.

Through trial and error I modified a rabbit hutch for him along with a tiny fence around. He's been enjoying it. His appetite is much better and I've caught him purring quite a bit while he enjoyed laying in the sun.

Enjoying Our Yard in 2016

We'll see how things go (and I'll share the good and the bad here!) with our makeover. I'd love to get your take on fixing up the yard.

What projects have you done at your spot?