Glory's Garden

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Guest post from Donald Hancock

So, there I was minding my own business when Donald Hancock, one of my Helium buddies, mentions how much work it is to maintain his unwieldy front yard which consisted, according to him, mostly of nasty weeds. So, I suggested he do away with his lawn and replace it with a lower maintenance garden design.

Well, he jumped on this idea like a little kid into a muddy puddle! And off he went to make this work. I have to say he very much impressed me!  This is what he told me he did after he removed the nasty weeds which he used to call a lawn:

Below is basically my approach. 
1. Made sketches on notebook paper until I got something that I liked.
2. Measured significant distances so that I could sketch it on graph paper. (graph paper can be downloaded from online -free). By using graph paper you can call each square a certain amount 1 ft., 2 ft., or 1 yard. That allows you to determine the amount of square footage needed for seed and mulch - by simply counting the blocks in each area.
3. Went on line to compare prices of sod verses seed. Decided on seed (much cheaper).  Studied about seed (knew nothing about seed).  Found that Scott and Pennington both have a 1 step seed that has fertilizer and mulch in the bag and decided on the one step approach. (settled on Pennington because it is green - instant satisfaction LOL).
4. Shopped for mulch. Have a truck and decided (by figuring 2 cubic ft. in bag and price of 1 cubic yard in truck) to buy truck loads. Liked red mulch, though natural would be a little cheaper. Could have used pinestraw or  other straw but liked this better.
5. Shopped on line for edging and decided on "pound in"style. Six inch interlocking pieces come 40 in a box at about 13 dollars per box.  Takes time but very easy to use.
6. Used a stiff watering hose to form a pattern on the ground to help guide me as I pounded the edging in. Then I began bringing in the mulch. Transferred it from truck into wheel barrow, dumped in piles, and spread it with garden rake. A neighbor helped me and she would dump the mulch as I raked it.
Envy of the neighborhood!
7. About half way through the mulching I decided to stop and drop the seed, so that it would have a day or so head start in growing.  I first tried to lay the seed (which comes in 15 pound bags and is in a powdery mulch) with a spreader but it was much too slow even when wide open, so I found that sowing by hand from a bucket worked better.
8. I watered with my sprinkler system (already installed)  for about 10 minutes. Longer than that tends to puddle. I watered several times the  first day. Hose watering would have worked fine with a sprinkler head. The second day we had a thunder storm that washed my seeds around a little (the edging kept them from washing away). So I bought another bag of seeds and replenished the little areas where they had washed about.
9. The green seed mulch gives instant gratification and the neighbors were impressed. LOL. The pictures were made on the morning that I finished replenishing the seed.
             price:  $224.70  (6 loads of mulch)
                             185.22  seed
                                69.39 edging
Total               $479.31
Help from neighbor:  Priceless  (A few glasses of cold water)
Well, Don, you did this gardener proud. I hope to still be doing as much when I'm in my seventies.
Donald Hancock is the author of the novel A Message For All Time which takes place just after WWII. You can read A Message For All Time and all his informative articles, short stories and flash fiction pieces at Helium.


  1. Wow! It looks so easy when you do it, Don:) What a neat way to make your yard look so amazing!

  2. Don, It's amazing that with a little help from a friend you created such a beautiful landscape.

  3. Indeed, Dom did a marvelous job. I had wondered why he had "disappeared" for a while, but there he was... busy in the garden!

  4. Wow, this is great! Who needs the guys from HGTV? LOL.

  5. Thank you, Glory, for all of your help and for giving me the exposure. I do think that the big lesson here is that a beginner can have pretty acceptable results with help, patience and the good products on the market. I have to give credit to a young lady who lives across the street and has become like a daughter to my wife and me. She (Chris) helped me put out the mulch - it took about six truck loads (in small Nissan truck) and her help was very much appreciated.

    Thank you, M.J., Olivia, Alex, Glory and anyone else who makes comments about the lawn. It has been growing three weeks and is almost ready for the first mowing. Will send another picture after the mowing. Don Hancock

  6. Can't wait for the new pictures! Thanks so much, Don!

  7. Sir Don is now an inspiration to all DIY gardeners! An amazing change for a very reasonable price. Chris sounds like a gardening angel!

  8. Sir Don is now an inspiration to all DIY landscapers. Well done! Chris must be your gardening angel. :-)

  9. Hey Don,

    You're great. This looks very good! Impressive! :)


  10. This looks amazing, Don. You're great. Very impressive!


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