lambo
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:07 am
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Terrible yard, rental, need ideas/help!

All -

Wonderful resource you have here and hope to benefit from the site's collective knowledge.

Just moved into a rental home in Virginia Beach, VA. Pics below describe the situation better, but needless to say it needs help. I'm not a gardener and in fact don't like to do much beyond mowing.

So we are hoping to get some ideas of what we can do either very cheaply ourselves, or if necessary, at higher cost (which we'd try to convince the home owner to absorb). Whatever is recommended, it needs to be VERY low maintenance. We have 2 small kids, 2 dogs, and I may be looking at a deployment soon, so my wife won't have time to do much more than mowing.

We've only lived here 2 weeks, so clearly the yard has needed work for some time.

Any advice is appreciated!

[img]https://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z197/secretsquirrel1381/Virginia%20Beach%20Rental%20Home/Screenshot2010-06-03at81424PM.png[/img]
This is an overhead shot of when the house was first built 4 years ago. Owner wanted just the small patch of grass and the rest mulch and some planted trees.

[img]https://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z197/secretsquirrel1381/Virginia%20Beach%20Rental%20Home/IMG_6305.jpg[/img]
Our small patch of grass leading to the mulch and then to the "lake" (pond).

[img]https://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z197/secretsquirrel1381/Virginia%20Beach%20Rental%20Home/IMG_6307.jpg[/img]
Closeup of the mulch area full of weeds. Note that according to the previous renters, whenever it rained, the mulch would just get washed into the pond (there is a slight slope).

[img]https://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z197/secretsquirrel1381/Virginia%20Beach%20Rental%20Home/IMG_6308.jpg[/img]
Shot of the side yard where the previous renters had a sand playpit for their kids and just dumped new mulch over it before moving out.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Honestly, given all you've said about low budget, very low maintenance, maybe not staying there real long, kids and dogs, I'd think about just weeding it out and putting down a lot of new mulch. Maybe put the sand pit back for the kids, make a climbing structure from a kit, make a dog run, make a picnic table from a kit (I've done that myself, it's easy), so you can have somewhere to eat outdoors. Maybe put up some kind of arbor/ seating area, the kind that just pounds into the ground so you can pull it up and take it with you, and grow vines over it. Then dress up some of the rest of the mulched area with plants and shrubs in containers, that you could also take with you when you leave (look around thrift stores, craigslist, freecycle for cheap or free containers).

I think you could make it maybe not a show place, but nice looking and functional space that way, very low maintenance and all the money investment would be stuff you could take with you.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

lambo
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:07 am
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Thanks to you both for the suggestions!

Like the idea of adding stuff that we can simply take with us when we leave, makes any expenses easier to swallow.

So from my research elsewhere on this site, my understanding is the best way to weed would be to pull up each weed individually and then cover with new mulch to prevent new weeds from growing? That would seem to be an enormous expense to buy that much mulch, but perhaps there is a cheaper way than buying hundreds of bags at Home Depot?

And I'm concerned about the rain washing the mulch down into the 'lake.' Is there a type that is larger or heavier that might stay in place better?

a0c8c
Greener Thumb
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

You can definately get cheaper mulch than from home depot. You'll want to get it by the truck load from a garden center. You'll save an enormous amount of money that way. The best way to remove the weeds would be to solorize them with clear plastic, but with that much yard to cover it could get pricey. You can pull them, and then spread more mulch. Look for no float mulch, as it'll wash away alot less, and if the pond has fish, make sure you get all natural mulch as not to risk hurting the wildlife.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

lambo
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:07 am
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Update!

Ok, so my wife took it upon herself to get some quotes on doing the backyard "right," meaning weeding and laying down new mulch.

One company came out, looked at the area and measured everything and said to do it right, we also need to redo the rear line of timbers that are right near the water to include trenching out a space for the new timber, adding height to it, and then putting in the new mulch. This will prevent the mulch from running off into the water. Total cost for weeding, mulch, and new raised edge is $1995.

If we said forget the extra timber, it would be $1430, of which $500 is material.

Haven't spoken with the homeowner yet, but get the feeling this is going to be a lot more than she is willing to spend.

Of course even if we weeded and mulched ourselves, it'll still all be gone after a few summer storms.

Return to “Landscaping”