Mother’s Day is tricky now that I’m a single parent and my own mother has passed away. I think about her, and honor the woman who’s the mother of my children, but it’s not at all the same as the more traditional brunch celebrations you often hear about. To honor my Mum, I decided that this year for Mother’s Day I would plant some flowers, in celebration of her love of flowers and gardening. Indeed, both of my parents were very much the classic English gardeners, and their home was always characterized by lush, beautiful flowers.
The timing couldn’t be better when I was invited to try out the DIYZ smartphone app, pick a home project, and write about the experience. I looked through all the options keeping “flowers” in mind and also being very aware of this big dead spot in the middle of my front yard from where I had to remove a dying tree last year:
You can see in the photo, it was just an eyesore. Why not make that into a little flower garden, complete with little brick wall around it as an edging? The DIYZ app had a nice garden edging project, complete with steps, shopping list and segmented video tutorials:
This is three different screen views combined, in case it’s not obvious, and the project I chose was How to Edge Garden Beds. Now, to be completely candid, they were more enthused about the project than we were, suggesting that you dig it out and pour concrete to set the wall in place. My vision was a bit more modest, but regardless, the app’s pretty sweet with all the info and even an e-commerce feature that makes it a no-brainer to order specialized parts or tools.
We started by heading to the local hardware and gardening store to get supplies: A flat-edge shovel, fill dirt, bricks and some pansies, a flower that I was assured by the gardening gal was perfect for a direct sunshine spot. I know they’ll die after a few months as the summer heat hits, so I decided that it’d be fun to plant wildflower seeds in the bed too so that they could gradually overtake the pansies and hopefully be an explosion of color. Here’s what I choose:
As per the video tutorial, the project consisted of a couple of stages, starting with digging. So what does a smart Dad do? Get the kids to do the work! Enter my 13yo daughter K-, the ditch digger:
Our goal was to turn over the rich loam soil and to also define a hard edge between the grass and the dirt area so that the bricks would then be able to reinforce the border. That was fairly easily done:
This is where we diverged from the DIYZ (pronounced “D.I.Wise” by the way) plan because they wanted us to dig a deep trench and use concrete to permanently set the edging. I wanted to keep my future options open so for this project we decided that just laying bricks in a circular pattern would be sufficient. Down the road we might realize that was a mistake and fix it, but that would be an easy retrofit. For now, you can see that the bricks used weren’t straight, well, brick shapes, but a bit more parallelograms, with one side visibly shorter than another. Makes for a good circle once they’re all oriented the same way, as you will see.
With the brick circle defined, we dug in some high quality organic top soil to prep the ground further:
It’s true, this is the only shot of me actually working. I mean, parents are supervisors, right, and that’s the natural order of things? 🙂
With the circle defined, edging in place and the new soil dug in the next step was to sow our wildflower seeds, then gently dig them in just a little bit (the seed container suggests less than an inch, but I suspect we might have gone a bit deeper). Then it was time for the pansy’s that we’d purchased at the nursery. Ten already blooming flowers. We started by placing them equidistant throughout the circular flower bed:
Then it was just a simple matter of using a trowel to dig the hole, pull the flower out of the container and plant it. K- made quick work of it, demonstrating her green thumb both inherited from my folks and from her maternal grandmother, who ran a nursery and flower shop in semi-rural Kansas. My girl has skills, as you can see in this final shot of our flower garden:
We’re both very proud of our DIY garden edge project and think that it was faster and easier than either of us expected. Total time from when we started working until the photo above was about an hour, not too bad at all! Now the question is how will it all look in a few weeks, or even a few months down the road. For that I encourage you to follow me on Instagram as I’ll post some progress photos!
One thing we didn’t utilize in the DIYZ App because we were confident in our progress is the Pro Advisor feature. This feature allows you to talk directly with licensed contractors either via video or phone chat. And the best part about this? It’s free, for a limited time, at least.
Props to the DIYZ app too, for helping get us over the hump of deciding to actually jump into this project. It’s easy to talk about things and to dream about what you can do with DIY projects, but knowing that there are smartly written tutorials with video and a live support option if you’re really stuck is a nice safety net for those of us who aren’t always completely gung ho about DIY!
Now I’ll just hope that my Mum and Dad are able to look down from heaven and appreciate our Mother’s Day flower garden.
And this officially makes one of the #GetWise #DIYZGuys too. Cool.
Tip: You can download the DIYZ App for either your iPhone or Android and check out all the options yourself. Do it, there are a ton of projects to explore!