The Courtyard Project Logo -

The DIY Courtyard Project Begins

This summer we undertook the courtyard project: cleaning-up and revitalizing the courtyard at my house. The planters were disgusting, overgrown in areas, dirt in others, Lantana running amok, plants that attacked you as you walked through the front gate. It was awful.

Now, let me just preface these pictures with this little fact: We have a GARDENER! The same gardening crew has been working here every week for about 35-years! Knowing this will make you shutter all the more when you see these photos.

Here are a couple of pictures to show you sort of how bad it was.

Courtyard Project - Entry Gate Before -
This is actually an older picture from an earlier post–you can read more about Rory’s Locks Of Love. The picture doesn’t really show how bad the plants had gotten, but you can get some kind of an idea. The Bamboo and Jasmine had grown way out over the walkway making you feel like you were entering a dangerous jungle of spiderwebs and who knows what.

Courtyard Project - Before - lifewithlorelai
You can see just how overgrown things were. The debris pile is a picture from one of my posts about our indoor flood… Bathroom Bliss – A Few Cleaning Tips, check it out.

Courtyard Project - Planter outside Window -
A better view of the Gardenia bushes and mini Rose tree. Isn’t this a lovely planter! Cough, cough, choke…

How we began the Courtyard Project…

We started by cutting off the Heavenly Bamboo (the first week left us with sticks poking up out of the ground about waist-high). Then, we took electric clippers to the Night Blooming Jasmine hedge and ripped it out, and finished pulling out the stumps from the Heavenly Bamboo, before tackling the Lantana!

Lantana is an incredibly invasive plant. It takes over everything. We were above knee deep in Lantana trying to get rid of it all. Then we pulled out some kind of Trumpet plant that had blown in from my neighbor’s yard and took root.

After the Jasmine was gone, we amended the soil in the narrow planter alongside my entry walkway and planted Clivia. These Clivia plants came from Luke’s childhood home, and they get the most gorgeous vibrant orange blooms on them. They bloom somewhere during the Fall / Winter / early Spring.

Clivia planted along walkway - Life With Lorelai
Won’t this planter be beautiful when in full bloom? You can see on the right side of the picture a hole in my stucco. The gardeners would blow all the leaves and debris under and behind my bushes, so they didn’t have to clean it up. The leaves were piled so thickly behind the Jasmine vine that it weakened my stucco, and there was actually a root growing into my house.

Heavenly Bamboo is Gone - Life With Lorelai
You can see behind Luke that the Heavenly Bamboo is gone. The tall sticks of a bush is my sickly Snowball Bush that my dad brought from Mississippi years and years ago. During this courtyard project, we discovered that the Snowball Bush had termites! Luke chopped out the termite damaged areas, and it seems to be coming back nicely. I would sure hate to lose the bush, it is so pretty when it blooms.

Lantana is gone - Life With Lorelai
The Lantana is gone! We found a few mounds of Society Garlic that managed to survive beneath the heap. Amazing! With a little sunlight and some water, the Society Garlic is thriving.

You may be wondering what the trench is in this picture. That is a post for another time and has to do with my birthday present from Luke and Rory. So, be sure to check back!

Needless to say, the so-called gardeners have hence been fired! I just didn’t care what pops would say anymore after finding all the damage done.

Watch for more installments and progress on the Courtyard Project coming soon to Life With Lorelai.

What big projects have you tackled?

Do you have any projects planned for the future?

UPDATE: Check out Part Two of the Courtyard Project – Lamppost… HERE

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