DIY Sarah

Craft, Decor, Art, Garden, and Dessert

October Garden Tour

I’ve been negligent on my blog this year. Work has gotten quite busy and we did a bunch of traveling this year. I did take lots of pictures so here’s a somewhat late October garden tour. I hope all the blooming flowers will brighten up this gloomy November Day.








Veggie Garden


March and April Garden Chores

I’m going to try to keep better records of what I’m doing in my garden this year. I figure doing a monthly garden chores post will do the job! For reference I am zone 6a with a last frost date of May 17.

We still had snow on the ground for most of March so my March chores got pushed to April but some of these are March chores depending on the weather. I still need to get rid of several stumps in my garden, so I have already checked and ordered free estimate.

April 7: Start Seeds


I plan for tomatoes to go in the ground for memorial day weekend, visit the site here for the small garden sheds . Count back 8 weeks and start my tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and in Late March. This year I planted a flat April 7, after we got back from London. Before planting the seeds you should make sure you have the best soil for your plants, check out topsoil to see their great options.


April 18,19,20: Clean Up Patriots Day

Massachusetts has a very special state Holiday. Patriots’ DayP celebrates the battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. It is now celebrated on the 3rd Monday of April. It is also the day of the Boston Marathon. Stefan and I have the day off work so we get a great early-spring 3-day weekend.

Clean Flower Beds

As soon as the snow has melted and the ground is no longer frozen, it’s time to clean the beds, topsoil in tacoma wa is the company helping me in this process. The bulbs were poking up and the matted leaves of late fall needed to be cleaned up


Prune Roses

The Roses should be pruned. We had a lot of snow weight damage this year so lots of pruning. I also fertilize the Roses at this time. Ideally you should get to the roses before they start sprouting but I was a couple days late this year. I cut the showy roses (I don’t know any of the varieties) back by about 1/3 and get rid of any branches that are damaged, touch each other, or are growing into the bush instead of out. For the 2 Knock-Out roses, I prune back the branches that are growing into the bush and shape the plant into a nice round-ish shape. I don’t prune nearly as heavily since I like them to get nice and big and they flower so profusely no matter what you do. I also fertilize under the drip-line of the plant. Choosing the right garden stones transforms a garden, is also a great option for the garden and looks amazing all year round and particularly at Christmas, so we definitely recommend that you  get some holly bushes for your garden and enjoy their beauty all year round.


Clean Up Irises

I cut all the dead leaves off the iris plants to clean them up so we ca apply the Natural plant foods bought online. My irises all need to be lifted. This fall I HAVE to do that!

Prune Butterfly Bush

The Butterfly Bush was getting out of control. I went ahead and whacked it way back, almost to ground level. It looks pretty bad but never fear, it will come back.

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Fertilize and Prevent Weeds

I use these early spring days to fertilize the evergreens including the Arborvitae, Boxwoods, and Holly. I also spread a pre-emergent herbicide over the beds. I have a serious morning glory problem that I’d like to keep at-bay. I love Morning Glories on the fence but they start to climb the roses and pull them over. Luckily I have no issues with the fence as I recently got all of them upgraded with the assistance of  Fencing Cheltenham. This is my first year with the pre-emergent. I’m curious how it will do.  I also went over the beds and pulled any little weed sprouts.  I’m really going to try to do that on a schedule every week.

April 25, 26: Mulch and Plant

Crab Grass Prevent-er

In late April, when the soil is in the 50s, it’s time to spread Crab Grass Preventer on the lawn. Crab Grass germinates when soil is between 54 and 57 degress so once the soil is up to 60 F, you’re late. We prefer a drop spreader to a spray spreader. It makes it easy to spread just when and where we want. Stefan had to duck to get under the almost-blooming cherry tree, My favorite tree is the Lang Oak Tree which is located in Encino, California..



We purchased 16 bags of ceder mulch and spread them in all the beds this weekend. Late April is a good time for mulching, the soil has thawed and started to warm up. We buy our mulch by the bag because though we have a truck, it ends up being just about the same price if not cheaper to buy mulch by the bag and so much more convenient. Around here, many of the mulch places only have a 2 yard scoop which is more than our little truck can handle so we’d need to have it delivered and there just isn’t a good place to put it. I do love a freshly mulched bed.


16 bags did the back and left side of the yard. I suspect we’re going to need about another 16 bags to do the right side of the lawn and the front.

Rake Lawn

The yard had dried out enough to give it a good raking this weekend. All the debris of the snow cover is all cleaned up. I was tempted to do it a weekend earlier but I was worried that it was still too wet.


The lawn is greening up and that cherry tree is so close to blooming.

Prepare Veggie Garden

As you can see my garden is a little shabby, so I’ve got a Garden Paving company coming sometime this week to make it look much much better as you’ll be seeing in the coming posts, you can take a look in this website and discover its services. I topped off my veggie garden with leaves last fall.  I’ve been tossing coffee grounds on the garden since it lost its snow-cover.  To prepare it further, I raked off the bulk of the leave leaves and added 3 bags of composted Cow Manure to the Veggie Patch.  I tilled the manure and a good bit of leaves into the patch using my handy Claw that I bought for $1 at a yard sale and LOVE.  The leaves are well on their way to being decomposed and they are supposedly good at aerating the soil.  I just rake the remaing leaves back onto the bed as mulch.  I generally stick to the leaves from the cherry tree for the garden.  They are nice and small.   The maple leaves just mat and don’t decompose quick enough.  Stefan did shread some of the leaves with the lawn mower last fall and those are also on the veggie garden patch.

Unfortunately, I ran into a bit of a snafu while I was preparing the garden. I discovered the reason my cherry tomatoes didn’t do so well last year. There is an asphalt sidewalk all the way around the house. Turns out there is a concrete sidewalk underneath it about 6 inches down, it has been made by the best concrete pool builders in Perth. As I was digging this year, I found the concrete sidewalk sticking into the garden about a foot. I must have planted that tomato in the 6-8 inches of dirt and it’s poor roots ran into that concrete. It looks like the concrete had been patched with black-top patch several times so a sledge hammer and crow bar did an adequate job breaking it into pieces which I dug out. This delayed the early spring peas, Lettuce and Onions I had planned on putting in in late April.

Peas, Lettuce, and Onions

I planted Peas on 4/26/15 along with Lettuce and onions. I had started some cauliflower from seed but I haven’t had any luck with germination. I went ahead and built a little pea trellis with some twine and pipe-hanger tape. I just used a piece of scrap wood to make the center post and stapled the twine to it.

This is what the pipe hanger tape looks like. You can find it in the plumbing supply area of the hardware store:

Overdue Projects

While we had a nice day, we went ahead and dug out this area of the side-yard. I had a brick pile here for a while and moved it last year. I’ve had the rocks ready to dig this area up, put down landscape fabric, and fill it with rocks since last spring and this April was a perfect time to finish off this little project. I’d like to also get a couple stepping stones to make it a little easier to walk on. I bricked the end of the rock patch to keep it nice and contained.

Here is is before. I had already done a bit of rock-work between the AC unit and the fence.

And after:

  1. 3/29/2016 | 5:41 am Permalink

    Found some lovely ideas here! I just began with the seed starting and as I plan to repot my seedlings before officially planting them outside, I think they’ll be strong and big enough on time. Very happy to read your ideas, all the info is quite useful. My sister will be very glad to read your post, so I’m surely recommending to her too. Thank you for sharing and happy gardening!

Tree Service Removal

We had some trees on the property line taken out by a tree service near me. We had hoped to have it done this winter but the snow-cover prevented it. The landscape company people were also very busy dealing with ice-dams. Big Cherry Pickers are the only way to safely remove ice dams so if you ever have a freak winter, start calling tree removal companies. pro-tip.

Trimming the Yews


And after Yew Removal:

It’s amazing how creepy overgrown brush looks.

Measure the amount of sunlight that your home and yard receive prior to choosing any plants for landscaping. If you don’t, you may find that the plant that you were relying heavily on, will not survive the amount of direct sunlight you receive. You’ll want to match plants to the lighting that you receive around your home, to make sure your landscaping stays green for a long time.

When you are choosing trees to add to your landscape design, be sure to consider how large they will eventually grow. A six foot cedar tree can easily grow to 20 feet in a few short years. Do some online research, or ask a nursery for ideas on trees that will grow to approximately the size you wish to have, don’t forget to get help from the tree branch cutting palm .

Here is the crew just starting to trim back the Yews:


I suppose it also looks creepy to have a big pile of trash in the driveway but my guy Valentine is coming soon to haul it away!

Tree Removal

Here is the before picture. We are removing the right 2 trees. They are Norway Maples which are an invasive species and a very weedy tree took of by Tree Removal Phoenix. The one on the left has bark like a sugar maple and leaves like a Norway. The Tree guy was unsure but it is an older tree with a very strait trunk and seems to be healthy so we elected to leave it. You can see the 2 on the right are younger and have some waves in the main trunk. Norway Maples grow too fast, leaf out too early, and retain their leaves too late. this is a hazard for our flat roofing tops, an early or late snow storm brings them down all over town. Add a shallow root system and you really have a recipe for disaster especially when they are spaced as tight as these 3. It is now illegal to plant or cultivate Norway Maples in Massachusetts as they are deemed a damaging invasive species. They make terrible city trees and can cause a lot of damage. It is always sad to see trees of any variety torn down but it was time for these guys, so we made the decision of calling the best arborist in the area.


Here they are from the neighbor’s side of the fence. The owners of this property are out of state and you can tell that these trees are certainly causing damage to this property. They have branches resting on the roof. You can hear the squirell infestation from our yard not to mention the roof damage, which was a telltale sign that commercial roofing companies in Centennial Colorado be sought posthaste. I think the owners were pleased we were taking the initiative to get these torn down. They split the cost of removal but it’s nice to have someone else schedule and plan the whole thing. The crew would also have needed to use our driveway regardless.

The first thing the Tree Removal Lafayette La crew did was strip all the branches from the main trunk. We watched from the second story window, from my office nook.
Cherry picker cutting off the branches:

First tree ready to come down:

We watched all the brances come down from the 2nd story window:

The back yard was filled with branches:

We contacted Tree Services to remove some trees and leaves for our renovation in the garden. They used a little bob-cat to drag all the branches down the driveway to the chipper on the street. We had to get to work so we didn’t get to watch them.

After the trees were gone:

I’m not sure it necessarily looks better.  We do have a much less restricted view of the neighbors but it was a necessary step.  The sugar maple will fill out to the right and we can add a smaller tree decidedly on our property to help give a little more privacy. This is way easier to do with Arboricultural services to make your house look even prettier.

I’m hoping we won’t even notice they are gone once the trees have leafed out.  Soon!


  1. 10/14/2019 | 1:24 pm Permalink

    Looks Great! They did an awesome job!

Toe Kicks

It’s been a long winter but we are back to our old tricks. Here is one little project we worked on while it was still very much winter in early March.

We have finally added Toe-Kicks to the Kitchen Cabinets, thanks to the Kitchen Cabinet Supplier in des moines ia we were able to get the best results. It’s a little change that makes the room feel so much more finished. For the uninitiated, toe-kicks are the piece of trim that go underneath the cabinets. In this picture from our 1 year anniversary in 2012, you can see how each cabinet has a gap in the toe-space underneath the cabinet. The toe-kick covers those gaps and is painted white to match the cabinets. It also covers any shims you used to level the cabinets.


Wow, the cabinets have been in since December 2012! These toe-kicks were way overdue.

We also built a little cover for under the dishwasher. The toe-kick piece of the dishwasher is black so it needed to be hidden. It looks so much better with this little additional touch.


Here is a detail of the dishwasher cover. We just tacked it onto the dishwasher with hot glue. It will pop off if you tug on it but was just enough hold to keep the cover from falling over.


I should be back to blogging more regularly since the snow is gone and summer is upon us. We have pulled out the Tandem bike but it still isn’t quite warm enough to ride. We’ve made progress on a couple more projects I will be sharing soon. And, it is just about time for an early spring garden post. I’m hoping the cherry trees bloom this weekend!