Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'm Dreaming Of A...Mulch Mountain!

Last night we tested out the new fire pit (much better with the rocks, right?) :-)

Last night was also National Night Out (and our first time hosting!) S'mores were snuck in right before the downpour of rain (praise be to God since the kids had been counting down the minutes until s'more time.) The party came to a quick close and we scattered to get tables and chairs taken down, the kids in bed, a few leftover hamburgers in the fridge, and everything else could wait until morning.

Sam mentioned that the fire survived the rain so we both collapsed on the swing. He was soaking wet, I was partially wet and now our butts were the wettest of all. But it was one of those moments where we reflected on how well the night had gone (despite the rain) and how thankful we are for our kids (quietly sleeping in their beds) and our home (standing safe & secure with beams of light breaking the dark night)...and how did we get here after nine years together and...remember what life was like when we had only been married for two years?...remember the fires that we use to have with our fire pit on our back deck with nothing underneath it and the wood stain bubbling until we finally put a stone under it? 

I think at that point we were both laughing. 

In that moment of exhaustion I could have closed my eyes and started dreaming...and I'm almost certain that I would have "started dreaming of a...Muuulch Mountain" (cue the White Christmas music!)

This little project of mine, that I decided to do with almost no notice, turned into a MUCH bigger project than I had ever expected.

Mainly because I was originally just thinking that we would mulch this area to help with the problem of the grass growing around the stumps...

However, after tackling those pine trees and trimming back the bottom branches to help with the air flow (and our mosquito problem!)

...we also found lots of this.

And in no time we had a FULL trailer of brush to haul away!

Oy vey!

No turning back now. Thankfully I had lots of helpers. We cut the grass, relocated some perennials, my dad moved the wooden border, and I trimmed back the bush of weeds growing by the garage. 

I knew that laying black landscaping cloth would be the easiest way to kill the grass without spending hours pulling it all up. I also didn't want to use any chemicals on this area since it is near a garden spot that I want to begin planting vegetables in next year (And no I'm not pioneer woman, but I would like to save a few dollars on zucchini...if I'm able to keep it alive that is.) :-)

The cloth was put down and then the stumps were put into place. This ended up saving us some mulch (which I hadn't originally calculated) as well as made the stumps sturdier to sit on since they were on a flat surface.

At this point I measured the exact space that I had laid the cloth down and discovered that it was 900 square feet...yikes! That is when I started going into a panic as I used a handy dandy online tool to calculate how much mulch we were going to need. (I went with a 2" depth when I did the calculations.)

At this point I did some research on seeing how much it would cost to buy the mulch in bulk. I also had to take into consideration things like delivery cost because we didn't have a way to transport the loose mulch home. Most of the delivery costs were $80 dollars at a minimum. It turns out that the prices I was finding for bulk mulch were about the same as I could buy bagged mulch for.

My dad and I headed to Menards with his cargo van and loaded up 75 BAGS OF MULCH! (Well, we didn't load it, two kind Menards employees did!

What have I gotten myself into?!?

At this point the process went pretty well. I unloaded the bags onto the area and tried to space them out evenly. They really weren't as heavy as I thought but I will say that I definitely got my workout for the day when you take into consideration moving 75 bags!

Next, I found that the easiest thing to do was take a box cutter and go around to each bag (all at once) and put a large cut along the bag. 

I should mention though that you should leave 10% of your bags uncut. I ended up having too many bags that had all been cut open. ThankfullyI was able to transport them to the garage and save them for another project down the road. 

Then I just started in the corner and began dumping the bags and spreading out the mulch as I scooted back. I totally recommend a pair of garden gloves! Not to mention that if you work backwards kneeling on the black cloth is way better than kneeling on the mulch.

A few hours later, one amazing workout completed, a mega glass of ice water, and a whopping 65 BAGS OF was finished!

And then I woke up... :-)

Have you ever mulched before? What are your tips or tricks for getting the job done?

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  1. Wow! That IS a lot of mulch. lol In any event, I am glad you all were able to enjoy some smores before the rain. What a beautiful place you have for family and friends to gather. :)

    1. Julie,

      I think I'm still dreaming of mulch... :-)



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