Hubby is mildly obsessed with Google Earth and he’s getting me hooked on exploring our neighborhood from the sky. From our seemingly tidy neighbour’s secret stash of junk hidden in the forest behind his house (busted!), to a landlocked shack deep in the woods, it’s really interesting getting a bird’s eye view of the area! Truthfully though, Hubby spends most of his time examining our own property, comparing current aerial shots we took with older logged images to keep tabs on the rate of our shore erosion.
Lake Superior has wreaked havoc on the properties of many of our neighbours, who have had to hire out expensive reconstruction. The higher water levels are to blame and they’ve caught even seasoned lake lifers by surprise. We’ve been somewhat sheltered from the damage because of our location on the bay, but we’re still going to have to devise a plan for next year to keep our lawn from getting washed away. Living lakeside is amazing, but we weren’t prepared for the extra work of owning a lakeside property (#notcomplaining)!
Meanwhile, last year Hubby noticed another trend while spying on our house: thanks to Szuka, our lawn had such bad brown spots, you can quite literally see them from space! We’re pretty rough on the lawn too though: we frequently leave stuff lying around so the lawn dies underneath and when we finally cut the lawn, inevitably it’s too short! Oh yeah, I also drove across the lawn in our Ram 2500, loaded with thousands of pounds of gravel, and you can still see the faint tire treads.
With the combined efforts of our complete landscaping ineptitude, Szuka’s bladder, and the black bear that forced our hand and made it necessary to chop down two beautiful apple trees, we kind of made our property worse the first couple of years we lived here (despite feeling swamped with yard work)…
I’m sure neighbors wondered what the heck we were doing with our time to still have such a crummy looking yard! Even though we’re pretty rural, our neighborhood is changing: smaller homes and cottages are regularly torn down to built giant houses – one of our neighbors supposedly spent $100,000 on landscaping alone! Everyone who walks by our house peers down our driveway and frowns, so I have this sinking suspicion they think we’re dragging down property values.
We’re trying to improve, but we’re not used to having any land so it’s taking us some time to get the hang of it! We were spoiled in the townhouse because the condo hired out lawn care so we didn’t even own a lawn mower! We planted a cute little bush and some lily of the valley flowers but that was it. We’d make a fruit smoothie and watch someone else cut our lawn from behind the sheer curtains. We have big plans for next year, but this year we chipped away at some outdoor projects: we finally fixed the riding lawn mower so we cut the lawn weekly instead of monthly (go us!).
We replaced the crumbling fire pit with our new modern DIY fire pit, finally got rid of the geese for good with a rope fence, removed some rotting flower beds, and finished cleaning up all of the junk and debris left on the property by the former owner – including that 1960s boat we kept moving around the yard, killing the grass! Just this weekend we even pruned our overgrown raspberry bushes.
I’m going to develop a green thumb, just you watch. Once I can keep a shrub alive, I’m getting chickens.
In our most victorious bout of landscaping, we planted four teeny, tiny cedar trees! The goal is to eventually line the entire property with them – including where we tore down the apple trees – to fill in the natural tree line and create a perfectly private backyard.
Womp, womp, womp.
Seriously – those cedars looked WAY bigger when we brought them home in the truck. Well, we’re getting there! Fifteen years from now we’ll be happy we started today.
We have the enthusiasm, but it’s clear we need a little guidance.
When TruGreen reached out, I was really interested in their services and expertise – especially the tree and shrub care. Even itty bitty trees are expensive, so many of the TruGreen services, like seasonal insect control and a spring dormant oil application, help protect that investment – and they’re essential for protecting old growth. TruGreen specializes in providing the nourishment trees and shrubs need to grow, essential if your plan is to block out nosy neighbors as quickly as possible. TruGreen also deals with pest control and tackles pressing problems like the Emerald Ash Borer. I learned so much about what my trees need to be healthy from perusing the website.
Until I cut my own lawn, I never realized how easy it is to completely destroy it with improper maintenance. My crime was letting it grown too long, then cutting it too short. I’m slowly getting the hang of it (although Hubby and I still bicker over the height of the lawn mower blades). We’ve never fertilized or used anything on our lawn, which I realize now is a huge mistake. We can really see in our aerial snooping just how dry and crunchy our poor lawn is. With TruGreen, lawn care is a science, with different services tailored to ensuring a weed-free, lush lawn. I love that they actually customize a plan for a specific lawn – it’s not a one-size-fits-all service, which is the key to getting great results. Plus, all natural and organic services are available – which is always a way to win me over!
Even if you’re not in a position to hire professionals to help you out – or there isn’t a service available in your area – TruGreen has such a great learning centre and I’ve picked up some great tips for mowing the lawn! It turns out there’s a word for what I was doing: “scalping” my lawn (oops). As well, now that it’s finally running, our old beast of a lawn mower could use some maintenance to ensure we aren’t butchering the lawn each time we cut the grass. I learned that excessive clippings can be a sign of not mowing enough – yep, guilty! Plus, I didn’t realize there were actually different mowing suggestions (like how short to cut it) outlined for different types of grass – seriously, a gorgeous lawn takes some know-how! Luckily the TruGreen team can put together a customized plan for achieving that perfect lawn that will turn neighbour’s heads – in a good way!
If you’ve been struggling with your lawn maintenance or trees and shrubbery, or just need some customized advice to help your yard looks its best, see if there’s a TruGreen in your area and get a quote.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TruGreen.ca. The opinions, meandering digressions, sad little cedars, and text are all mine.