Landscaping your Dirty Diamond with River Rock

Our projects in this dirty diamond are all over the place!  I’ve had some ask me why we don’t just stay focused on one area before working on another?  Well, I have a few answers for that.   First of all this house needed to be GUTTED!! So all the rooms were attacked at once,  just so we could live in it safely. Breathe clean air.  Next,  my husband has a very demanding FULL time job and can only focus on projects late in the evening and on the weekends-if we don’t have something already planned in our life.  So, that leaves me home with my ambitious mind thinking on ways I can help during the days and make me feel better by seeing some progress.  For me progress is a painted room, mortar washing the fireplace, chalk painting furniture to match the interior of the house and cleaning up the property outside.    I have a great husband who lets me! Sometimes I do mess up or find that I have bitten off more than I can chew and I need him to FIX it ;>)  But, he always does and doesn’t gripe at me or complain.

What I have been working on the past couple of weeks as he finishes up the guest bathroom is the yard.exterior original front

exterior originalWe lack grass in certain places.  We have a very shaded lot. I tried to weed and feed the yard but it just didn’t seem to get the results I wanted.  I discovered they have grass seed for shade!  Apparently, I’m the only one who didn’t know this!   I grew up in New Mexico where our yards were all rock. So not too much experience with growing grass.  Within days of spreading out this seed…. Hip Hip HOORAY!!!wpid-20150713_164912.jpg

Our little flowerbed that lined the sidewalk was full of unblooming Irises.  I’m sure they would be beautiful IF they bloomed but there were just so many that I think they were hogging all of the nutrients. SO nothing .  I tried to keep a few but as I dug them up they all grabbed on tight and came up together :>(  Oh well.  So to Lowes I went to find some low maintenance plants to replace them.  Can I just say that I love MULCH!!! You may plant the saddest little, lone plant in your garden, but when you put mulch around it… All of a sudden it looks like it has a HUGE purpose to do GREAT things!

As I have worked on the yard and the sidewalk flowerbed, I have mulled over what to do with the small courtyard (not sure I can call it that? But I have to give names to things so I can tell my husband what I’m working on TODAY and he can identify what I’m speaking about).  This part of the house seems to remain wet and good for nothing but a nice place for my dogs to dig holes, frustrate me and keep cool.

Yes! I’m talking about YOU, Lasso!! But I LOVE you soooo much and can’t stay mad at you for too long :>)

My New Mexican roots have started to come out and I have been drawn to the idea of landscaping with rock.  I REALLY love the look of river rock!  This is also  low maintenance in upkeep and I’m ALL for that!!  However, I recall memories as a kid and my mom making me and my sisters pull the mean, thorny weeds that peeked their ugly heads through the rocks.    I had a solution this time round.  This fixer upper came with a truck load of excess roofing shingles that were left in the garage. They are old and brittle but PERFECT!  I just laid them down on the dirt.  We poked holes all throughout for drainage and to keep the plants watered and now hopefully no WEEDS!  You can buy landscaping paper at your hardware store and it is meant for the same thing.


wpid-2015-07-16-08.52.51.jpg.jpegIt became a family affair. We got the kids in on all the action and we went to town with poking holes in the shingles and creating an assembly line of buckets to dump into the courtyard. Even our neighbor came in to help.
Who needs a gym when you are doing heavy landscaping or working on a fixer upper?wpid-20150714_200610.jpg



After three truck loads of river rock and a couple of doses of Ibuprofen, we have a finished project that I’m so HAPPY with!! The route to go is to a rock/landscaping yard to get your rock. As much as I love home improvement stores, buying rock or sand in bags will cost you waaaAAAAY more! Plus, you get to support a locally owned business and I LOVE that even more!! Each truck load was between $65-$75. That is FANTASTIC!!!

Awwwww….sweet Luna is even pleased! What could be better than having a yellow lab slumbering on your front porch?


I found some ceramic pots on sale at Lowes and we ALWAYS try to buy on sale even if it isn’t exactly what I want.   I end up being happier that I saved some money and it improved the look of whatever it was.

Next on our list for the exterior is to replace the front porch posts that swing freely when you blow on them. Yeah, not really what posts were intended to do. Then new shutters! I’m so excited and have a fire lit under me again! Nice to see progress!!

And if you would like to step into my brain for a moment this is how I work.  I have to either draw it out or play with something on Photoshop.  What you will see is a VERY rough draft of something I put together.  I took a photo of my house and saved images of objects that I might like; such as shutters, flower boxes, beams, etc.  I cut, pasted and now I have a better feel for what I’m trying to accomplish.  Plus, I can show the hubby and he can better understand what’s going on in my head because there are days that we both wonder what is going on in this head? ;>)House exterior copyDDmeetsRiverRock blog

3 thoughts on “Landscaping your Dirty Diamond with River Rock

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  1. Beautiful progress! What a huge difference! I work the same way with trying to visualize projects. For me, I take side-by-side photos of a room I’m working on and a Pinterest inspiration photo. It’s the only way to get my husband to understand my thought process, too!


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