DIY burnout

Seasons

I haven’t posted in awhile. I was considering why not, and it occurred to me that a Do-It-Yourself-er saves money by working on projects themselves. But when all the work is done by you, projects compete with your other priorities for your time and just don’t always come in first.

For all you DIY-ers who are going strong this spring, I just added a new page on backyard landscape design ideas. It includes ideas for planning your dream backyard.

This past year I haven’t put yard improvements at the top of my list, but I still have been able to enjoy my landscape. Many of the plants I added when first moving here are reaching mature sizes. I enjoy walking around the yard and seeing the flowers and new growth during spring. This is the part of landscaping that I find rewarding: a beautiful space that complements the surrounding desert and inspires me.

So, when a landscape is in stasis, what do I do to maintain everything? So far this year we’ve harvested citrus fruit, pruned trees and bushes, sprayed pre-emergent on all rocked areas, weeded around plants, planted a small garden, and added a few new plants. Spring is a good time to check that all irrigation emitters are working properly. The seals on the irrigation valve near the house get old and leaky, requiring replacement every few years.¬†A¬†xeriscape landscape is easier to maintain than many others because many of these chores are only done once a year.

This year my garden included lettuce, sunflowers, and zucchini. The lettuce is already bolting in the heat and the zucchini will die off in another month. The birds love the sunflowers.sunflowers_arizona

I added a couple of new native plants this year that I found at the Black Mountain Nursery in Cave Creek. I found Mormon tea, goldeneye, and desert milkweed there. I have better luck finding native plants at independent nurseries than at chain stores.

In the future, I still have plans to do some big projects in the yard. I would like to build a ramada-style porch extension, add crushed granite on all walkways, install flagstone pavers on the back porch and some artificial turf immediately off of that, and finish landscaping one area with some more shrubs.

Whether you’re starting projects or enjoying what you have, hope you enjoy your landscape this spring!

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Southwestern Christmas decor

Seasons

To get the Christmas spirit before I had set up my tree, I made this branch arrangement from Mesquite branch trimmings. The branches sat in the yard, awaiting our next evening by the fire. Instead, I rescued them and arranged them in a sturdy vase. I had to make sure the stems were long enough, and tried to arrange without getting too close to the spines. I filled the vase with some rock from my yard to keep it stable. Then I hung some inexpensive ornaments. I like it!

Branch_christmas_decoration

Southwestern Christmas decoration: Mesquite branch in a vase

Here’s a sunset enjoyed from our driveway. Jojoba in the foreground and Queen Palm in back. I love our winters and feel just as Christmas-y with warm days and light strand-wrapped saguaros.

Arizona_December_sunset

Arizona sunset in December

We put up our tree, a live pine cut here in Arizona. We’ve enjoyed some Charlie Brown style trees in our time here in Arizona, but each tree has been truly beautiful in its unique way. I like this ornament, and the message to remember Christ. Thinking of our Savior and feeling His Spirit brings Christmas to me.

Seek_Him_ornament

Seek Him

So…Merry Christmas! May you feel joy and peace in this wonderful season. For more inspiration, see what a Savior means to me at mormon.org.