My 2019 Yard To-Do List Scorecard


Earlier this year, I set out a Yard & Garden To-Do List and a To-Do List Addendum that outlined 17 (10 on original list, 7 on Addendum) tasks that I wanted to tackle.  With the month of October coming to a close, I think it is worth taking a look and scoring myself.

So...how did I do?  7 of the 10.  Missed on the Belgian Fence, Angel Topiary and raised beds.

The original ten items on the list:
1.  Improve the soil.  Check. And Check.  And Check.
2.  Plant a Belgian Fence.  Nope.
3.  Try metal frame topiary.  Kinda.  I tried pruning small shrubs for topiary or bonsai.
4.  Do the Angel topiary.  Nope.
5.  Plant a Yew hedge.  Yes!
6.  Move Automower Boundary wires.  Yes.  No more getting caught up under the trampoline.
7.  Prune the Linden Espalier.  Yes.
8.  Add conifers.  A couple of them.  And planted six tiny Canadian Hemlocks.  Lost one so far.
9.  Build and plant a raised bed vegetable garden.  Nope.
10.  Remember the 'path'.  Yes.  Behind the Yew hedge.

What about the other list? 5 of 7.  Missed on Foster plants and Buckthorn.  (Though there's still time!)

And the addendum had seven items:
1.  Relocate Fall bulbs in back.  Yes.  Relocated.
2.  Wire up the Gold Cone Junipers.  Yes.  Ready for Winter.
3.  Extend landscape beds on one side.  Yes.  Connected the southside to the large Oak.
4.  Relocate Foster plants from Naperville.  Nope.  Another year.
5.  Take down the Buckthorn.  Nope.  Took one, still more.
6.  Update the yard hydrant situation.  Yes, new retractable hose.  Worked awesome.
7.  Work out the patio container situation.  Yes.  Built a wooden box.

12 of 17 overall.  70.5%.  C-minus on an academic scale.

But, I'm not sure that's an accurate reflection of the accomplishments.  Sure...I missed on a BIG ONE:  the Belgian Fence.  And didn't bring over the large hosta and peony from Naperville.  But, the other misses?  Buckthorn?  No big deal.  Angel Topiary?  Didn't buy an arborvitae.  The raised bed?  That's another big one, but something that I can get after before the season next year.

What big ones did I accomplish on the initial list?  I think the soil conditioning was big.  Applied plenty of lime.  And also put down humic acid.  Planted the upright Hicks Yew hedge - that's a big bet for the future.  Added a couple of conifers including a Weeping White Spruce that has a columnar shape.  Although, I lost my Weeping Cedar - which is something I need to replace.

I also put in six Canadian Hemlock trees (lost one so far) in two spots in the yard.  These are tiny little trees - starting at about 18" tall, so they're a big bet on the future.

As for the 'path', I didn't do anything to make it not feasible in the future.

As for the addendum, most of them are small, but the extension of the bed on the southside is an important step that I will continue next year.  Same with the yard hydrant situation with the addition of the 100' retractable hose reel.  With the Automower going out every night, this retractable hose allowed me to water and not worry about the hose getting chopped up.

I also did some things that weren't on these lists.  The largest one was being a #lawncarenut.  I took over cutting my front yard myself for the first time and I was pretty happy with the results.  For the first time in my yard routine, I also made my own herbicides via concentrates and went at the Creeping Charlie that is coming from my neighbor to the north's lot. And green'd it up with Ironite and switched to organic Milorganite for feedings.   I also tested my soil for the first time and established a benchmark.  I used turf science and applied my pre-emergent at the right time and even used the soil temperatures to my favor with some Fall seeding.  I planted some Dahlia tubers in the yard and they were awesome.   In our beds out front, I tried Cocoa Bean Husk mulch and loved it.

Also, as for trees, I added nine (9) trees to the property.  That's equal to 2017's total.  Not bad.

Does that seem like a C-minus?  I dunno.  I think the lawncare upped the average.  And the soil testing?  Solid baseline has been established.  The nine trees?  Good, but not great.

What's my self-grade?  I think all of that adds up to a solid B in the yard. 

2019:  B.

But what about next year?

With the leaves coming off the trees, I'm already thinking about what my 2020 To-Do List would look like.  There's a bunch of items that I already have in my brain that would be included on next year's list (if I was to write that post today) and it is growing everyday.

1.  Do another round of soil tests.
2.  Build that raised garden bed for veggies. (from this year's list)
3.  Buy and plant an arborvitae for topiary.
4.  Buy and plant at least one Belgian Fence.
5.  Take down all the Buckthorn (from this year's list)
6.  Solve the northside 'walkway' to our backyard.
7.  Add one front yard tree.
8.  Add some perimeter backyard deciduous trees.
9.  Continue and go down the southside beds with Cocoa Bean Mulch.
10.  Continue to extend and mulch the landscape bed on the north and south side.  And connect the Yew Hedge bed to the sides with mulch.
11.  Transplant some shoots from our front yard Little Henry.
12.  Make some insect houses.
13.  Get the parkway and north side of driveway turf in same shape as main front lawn.
14.  Continue to stay on top of the Wild Onion in year two.
15.  Add another columnar tree and a Contorted Filbert.
16.  Build a Versailles tree box or two.
17.  And...build the first part of the 'backyard path' with edging and gravel.  Maybe behind the Yew hedge or on the northside to wind in-and-out of trees.
18.  Place the dream backyard pizza oven footprint.
19.  Place the dream backyard pond footprint - alongside a seating area.

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