Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Handyman Husband Project - Raised Flower Beds

I know that you are all very anxious to see my husband's most recent handyman project. Well, here it is! Drumroll ..... He created raised flower beds while I was out of town. Now you may be thinking that I'm the type of wife who always gives her husband a list of "Honey Dos". But, in my case Roger actually gives himself enough of a list that I normally don't have to prepare one for him. (We are both really bad when it comes to home improvement projects - neither one of us can say no - good for our house, not so good on our budget.) :-) He got this most recent idea while looking through a yard and landscaping book that we received from my parents as a Easter gift. He's always wanted to plant bulbs, but most other bulbs (other than tulips and daffodils) don't do well in the North over the long winter so one must dig them up each fall and re-plant them in the spring. This can be quite a task in the tougher dirt of our regular flowerbeds so he decided that it might be easier to manage the bulbs in raised beds. And wouldn't you know it - the book had diagrams and descriptions on how to create raised flower beds. For a couple of weeks he described his plans to me, but never really committed to starting the project. That is until the Friday after my work conference - the day I was leaving for Florida. I couldn't get a hold of him while waiting for the airport shuttle and when I finally did he said he'd been out pricing wood and other supplies for the project. Lucky for him, the landscaping timbers and soil were on sale at Menard's. And he was also doubly (is that even a word?) lucky because that weekend was actually going to be the first spring-like weekend in Indiana. He didn't buy the supplies before we talked, but he estimated to me that this "little" project would cost around $500. That sounded pretty reasonable to me so we decided to go ahead with this project. (Okay, actually I just said it sounded good - since I was out of town, this project was all on him. And after I found out how much manual labor it involved, I'm just a tad bit glad that I wasn't around to be involved. Not that I wished all the hard work on him - but it did sound like a lot of hard work!)

The above two photos are our backyard on Saturday morning. (I think he texted these photo to me at 7:10 and 9:15 am) These photos were taken after several early morning trips to Menard's to purchase the landscaping timbers. I believe that he purchased over 32 timbers in all. Oh yeah - and have I mentioned that he decided to undertake this project all by his lonesome? - not even a friend involved! Luckily midway through lugging the timbers from the car to the sidewalk one of our neighbors volunteered to help him out. This same neighbor also loaned Roger a chainsaw so he could more easily cut through the 6 inch thick timbers. (Midway through the project it actually gave-up so Roger had to buy another one. Which means that Roger has now added a chainsaw to his list of tools - sometimes I think the only reason he does these projects is to have an excuse to buy another handy tool! Of course I'm just joking but it does seem that way.)
Above is step one of the actual assembly of the flower beds. After cutting the pieces and laying them, he had to dig them into the ground several inches to stabilize the beds. The above was taken at 12:45 pm.

And by 3:45 pm he'd completed the first raised bed. As you can see, it's still missing the dirt, bulbs, and mulch. Which sounds like a menial task until you think of how many bags of dirt it will take to fill these beds!
75 bags of soil later (and 2 more trips to Menard's) he wrapped up the long day by nearly 8 pm. Each time he texted a photo I was amazed at his progress. Considering this was the first time he attempted an outdoor project like this (and also considering he was doing this by himself), I was astonished. Needless to say, when I spoke to him that night he was pooped out, sore from all of the lifting, and even sun burnt. He mentioned he wanted to attempt a second bed, but thought he'd put it off until the following weekend. Or so I thought ...
First thing the following morning I get a call from him that he'd decided to work on completing the 2nd bed until around noon. Well, noon must have eventually lead to 4pm because I got another call from him that he was finished with the project and that he even wanted to take things a step further and plant bulbs and mulch the area. By 7:15, he was completely finished.

And Ta Da - above and below are the completed raised beds (26 landscaping timbers, 150 bags of soil, 100 bulbs, and 6 bags of mulch later). If I remember correctly, he planted 4 of the areas with bulbs (dahlia, ranunculus,etc.) and 2 more were left open so that we can eventually plant veggies. After many failed attempts at growing green and red peppers in years past, this year I think that we are going to keep things pretty basic -growing only tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.

And - the project is still not finished. If you can believe that? We've decided that we are going to put our copper fire pit in the middle area between the raised beds. (I got one for my birthday last year, but we only used it once last summer because we didn't have a permanent area for it and like most people, if something isn't easily accessible, we just don't use it!) To make this area a cozy little place for roasting marshmallows, etc. Roger is going to build benches along the sides of the middles beds and also along the back - against the fence. Once we complete the project - I'll certainly post updated photos. :-)
I also had a good laugh this morning regarding the budget for this project. I usually manage the money and bills in our house, and after returning from vacation I finally had the time to sit down and see what was spent while I was gone. Remember the $500 Roger thought he'd spend? Try almost doubling that! The grand total - over $960! HaHa. (It's a good thing we have a savings because if we didn't - I'd probably be crying right now!) Can't wait to tell Roger tonight. I don't think he has any idea how much was spent. Guess you know why I manage the money in the house now. ;-) Anyway - hope you enjoyed! All the kudos goes to my wonderful husband and handyman, Roger! Love him. :-)
Tata for now ....


The Feathered Nest said...

75 bags of soil!! That's a lot of dirt! They look really nice and the fire pit idea sounds like a good way to use that space and enjoy the beds.


Anonymous said...

OMG! What a sweetheart your hubby is. I can't wait to see pictures of all the flowers blooming in the beds.

LeAnn :)