Before and after: front yard edging

I love before and after photos, even of the most mundane projects. These photos show the driveway and foundation planting edging I moved this weekend. It may not look like much, but 12-18 hours of digging sod by hand, grubbing weeds, chasing down dead TV cables cut by the previous owners (grrr), and meticulously arranging heavy concrete edging blocks has done a number on my back.

before and after edging 2I opted to reuse the scalloped concrete edgers because they are in every yard in the neighborhood. Given my druthers I’d be using something fancier but A) I’m broooooooke and B) fancy things are not at all in keeping with the style of my home or those around it. My neighborhood isn’t exactly run-down but neither is it the kind of place where vinyl fencing or stone veneers fit in.

before and after edging 3I moved the edging along the driveway (AGAIN) because the previous edging was getting run over by trucks and heavy equipment alike, there being several tons more machinery in our drive than anyone ever intended. I have ceded another 18 inches of the yard to the driveway and firmly stated (no less than five times) that this is the last border treaty I am willing to broker and that any more incursions into my yard will be met with force.

before and after edging 1I moved the edging along the foundation bed for several reasons. The narrowness of the bed meant that only small perennials could be grown in it, which cannot be seen from the road. A deeper bed allows me to go crazy on install more shrubs, which will improve the curb appeal since they will be visible from the street. Also, the existing edging was not even close to straight and meandered like a snake. The new edging cuts a straight line, perfectly parallel to the house. If I have done my math correctly the second set of stairs I am going to install on the porch will fall into line, as well.

I carefully hand-pulled all the weeds around the base of our meter and disconnected the cut cables after conferring with the handyman across the street. I will never understand why the previous owners physically cut all the phone and TV wires and cables that used to feed into the house – and I am especially stymied to discover that it happened more than once! When Lee and I were kneeling in my freshly dug bed playing NCIS over the remains of previous utilities we saw that new TV cable had been run three times to replace previously snipped wires. These cables were not accidentally severed by a shovel – they were cleanly severed at the junction box on the pole or where they should have entered the house.

before and after edging 4Before digging out this extension I contacted our local electrical utility to get their OK. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t going to violate any rules (or just be generally bothersome) with my crazy plan. That plan is to build a tiny little pergola-style arch over the meter pole and grow a pretty vine over it – something fairly polite like runner beans or clematis, not something beefy and destructive like wisteria. They said that they didn’t care what I did to the top or sides as long as they had 36 inches of clearance at the front in which to read the meter and access the boxes (which are hinged at the top and not the sides). I am assuming that the same applies to the phone and internet boxes on the back (which is generous because they actually require much less access space).

— Amanda

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