A Place to Call Home (DIY Birdbaths too!)

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Today is only the fourth of June, but the heat of today lets us here in central NC know that summer is on its way. And it’s going to be brutal.  Luckily though, when the serious heat of the day hit, I was working in my backyard. And my backyard is completely shaded. 🙂 But I’m a little ahead of myself.

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Present-day backyard

In April, Hubby and
I moved our family from apartment living to living in a house. Since we both moved out of our parents’ houses, we’ve only ever lived in apartments. And then when Hubby and I moved in together, we have also only ever lived in apartments. So this move was pretty big for us. [Side note: I have a whole list of things that I have learned since moving from an apartment that I plan on sharing.]

One of the things I most looked forward to, was having a yard for my kids to run around and play in and having the space to have a garden. That was one of my criteria for whichever house we chose. Another criteria should have been no pet stains/smells left in the carpets, but that comedy will have to wait. 😉

The yard we have now hadn’t seen love or care in I don’t know how many years.  Believe you me though, it’s probably safe to say that the yard has been neglected since the landlord last lived here…maybe in the 80’s? Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and say the 90’s was the last time this yard got some TLC.

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My mom, who loves working in the yard, agreed to help me get my backyard safe for my kids and my dog. Before we got started, I wouldn’t let the girls or the dog off of the back deck. The entire yard was covered with leaves, pine needles, branches, logs, and so on. Seriously, there was no telling what was underneath. We started off by digging in to the right side of DSC05861the yard. There aren’t a whole lot of pictures because it hadn’t occurred to me to do ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. Whoops. Anyway, the right side of the yard was overgrown with some insane bush/tree thing from the neighbor’s yard. When we cut it back to the fence that separates the yards, we found we had just made our yard bigger by nearly 3 feet! And after spending days out back cleaning it up, we realized that this would be the best location for growing anything because it got the most sun in the back.

 

After the right side was mostly cleaned up, we began raking the entire yard. By the end of the day, there were about 15-20 giant black trash bags by the side of the road at the end of that day. Only to find out that the silly town we live in doesn’t pick up black plastic bags with yard waste. They only pick up paper bags filled with yard waste. By the way, the paper bags only hold about a third of the amount of stuff that the black bags do.

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Here is how pretty it looked at the end of the day. But we still weren’t done!

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DSC06482Okay, before you lose interest, I’ll skip ahead. After days of doing clean-up, my mom to a trip to visit family and I began planning out the garden area.

I decided to go up all the way along the fence until the fence runs into a big tree.

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Here is how it looks today!

 

DSC07975The far left side of the bed has little pumpkin seeds (like the small ones you buy for decorating with), then seeds for carving pumpkins, and then I planted seeds for spinach.

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The far right side of the bed has basil (on the left) that I bought, my second round of dill that I also bought (bunnies and rain ruined my first batch of dill), carrots I’m growing from seeds, and then seeds I planted to grow lettuce. The lettuce is also a round 2 attempt. The first attempt got washed out by a torrential rain we had the day after I planted the seeds.

DSC07977Then there are two pots: the pink has lemon balm I bought and the blue has thyme I’m growing from seeds, as well as cilantro grown from seed.

DSC07980The carrots are growing! It’s so exciting!

DSC07984In the front of the house, I have more stuff. 🙂 Not pictured is a giant pot that I planted a small rosemary plant in. I also have flowers at the top of the stairs, followed by a mosquito-repelling plant (left) and a sage plant (right),
and then at the bottom I have two Sungold tomato plants. 🙂

So here’s hoping it all grows! 🙂
But there’s more! Having a shaded yard means we have trees. And what lives in trees? Birds! We have so many birds that frequent our yard! It is truly amazing. We got to watch a mama Cardinal lay her eggs, see the babies after they hatched, and as they grew fluffy, and then left the nest. We have also been able to listen to a Red-Headed Woodpecker work on his home in a tree in our backyard.

DSC07692For our feathered friends, I made 2 birdbaths! (I had wanted to buy a birdbath, but at $30 a piece, I figured I could make one myself.) I bought 4 metal boxes for each bath, a chip tray for each bath, a pack of 6 plastic “dishes” that you place under plants, and a bag of black decorative rocks, all from the Dollar Store. The glass beads I already had on hand, but the Dollar Store sells those too. The seashells I already had on hand from past beach trips. 🙂

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I stood the containers end-to-end and used hot glue to adhere them
together. (I made one all red one in support of our NC State Wolfpack, go Pack!, and then another colorful one for our backyard.)

 

 

 
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So all-in-all, it costs about $7 per birdbath. Beats the heck out of a $30 birdbath! 🙂

Do you have any DIYs for your yard? I’d love to hear them! I need ideas to beautify my yard on a tight budget. 🙂

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