OK, so I'm going to sound ungrateful here and complain a little about our HGTV experience. Which maybe is unfair, since I could really just blame the landscapers... In any case, our yard is not nearly as pretty as it looks in the photo in my blog header. We did our very best (in all seriousness, we really did) to maintain things and keep the yard looking as it did the day of the "reveal," but things have worked against us... The biggest issue that we have run into is with the grass creeping back into the flower beds. We kept up with weeding for several months, but the grass growing back in has been IMPOSSIBLE to take care of, and in our frustration, we kind of let the weeds go, too. We have bermudagrass, which if you know anything about, is OUT OF CONTROL. If you look at the link there, the line that sums it up best is: This is a very aggressive grass and flower beds or other areas will be quickly overrun if not kept in check. Once established it is very difficult to remove due to its extensive root system. Yes. That is exactly right. So the problem is that when the landscapers came and planted the dozens and dozens of lovely new plants, they did two things that seem wrong, even to me, an admitted idiot when it comes to plants. One, they did not really add any soil to the flower beds. The plants are mostly planted in straight up Georgia red clay, so a lot of them didn't make it, in spite of our best watering/feeding efforts. Two, they didn't pull up the bermudagrass in many areas of the flower bed. They may have churned it a little, but they didn't pull out the root systems, so it started growing back through the mulch, etc., almost immediately. After spending about three hours removing about 3 feet of bermudagrass+roots in one section of the flowerbed, Justin called it quits. Since then, they have more or less been neglected.
So now I'm trying to figure out some low cost fixes... Not easy. I did find some special spray that is supposed to kill grass but not flowers, but I've been too nervous to use it. We have so many lovely rosebushes planted in the yard, and I would hate to accidentally kill them. My other thought was to pull out as much as we can cosmetically (as well as try and figure out which plants are annuals and which are perennials so we can pull out the dead plants that are not going to come back in spring... which will be nearly impossible for us) and then get some free mulch to put over the flowerbeds. I'm thinking some pretty brown mulch might soften things up and match the warmth in the railing. Oh, that was the other thing: the black mulch that the landscapers used was VERY thinly applied, which made the weed/grass situation that much worse. They didn't use any kind of barrier between the lawn and the flowerbed either, so it has been tough trying to keep the grass from creeping in on the edges, too.
I'm open to any and all suggestions. We are so proud of the outside of our house and we don't want it to end up looking like we don't take care of our lawn. For now, we still have the winter excuse, but soon, we'll be fair game. And again, I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I think it would have been nice if they had given us some extra information about the yard. We were never told what any of the plants were, or how to take care of them, which is fine, but I think it would be smart on their part to help educate homeowners like us. I mean, part of the reason we got on the show was because our yard looked like crap, and we said in our audition tape that we had never had a yard to actually plant things in before so we didn't know where to start. But I know the bottom line is the big before and after. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's mostly the reason I watch the show!