Good morning, party people.  I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaackkk. 

I know, I know.  You missed me, and it’s totally understandable.  The good news is, we enjoyed our vacation in Florida and returned home rejuvenated and refreshed.  As usual, going on vacation gave us time to brainstorm all kinds of ideas on how to save money (and make more money, of course).  It was awesome.

DSCF3248A lot of people have emailed to ask how my daughter’s dolphin cruise went, and I’m happy to report that it went great!  We saw a ton of dolphins playing and feeding, and even saw a few tail flaps.  The only thing we weren’t able to do was swim with the dolphins, but it was only because the water was so rough.  No biggie.

Other than that, we had a great time.  It did rain a few days but that gave us the opportunity to visit a museum, go bowling, and even roller skate.  (Confession: I haven’t skated in years, and I am honestly surprised that I didn’t seriously injure myself.  Phew.)

Our Frugal Yard Remodel

Anyway, we got back into town on Saturday and immediately got started on our yard.  Why, you ask?  Because of this:

Let my try to explain what you’re looking at.  Basically, the yard next door makes my yard look like shit (mine is on the left). I mean, his yard doesn’t even look like grass.  And it feels like walking on pillows.  Meanwhile, my yard is filled with dandelions, crab grass, and spots where the grass died altogether.  I think I have yard envy.

The thing is, since this is the first Spring in our new house, we’re just now finding out that people are really into their yards in this neighborhood. It feels like we’re all keepin’ up with the Joneses, except that it’s not about cars, boats, and fancy clothes.  Instead, it’s about grass color and texture, flower bed design, and proper mulching techniques.  Sigh.

DSCF3355

While I do care enough to make sure it’s presentable, I’m just not willing to spend a lot of coin on my yard.  We did do some remodeling in our back yard, but that was just for our own enjoyment since we have a privacy fence.  Here’s what we’ve done (and spent) so far.

  • Grass Treatments: $45 (We hired a company to do five treatments between now and fall)
  • Grass Seed: $19
  • Spray Paint: $3 I repainted a metal table that the previous owners left at this house
  • Fire Pit: We replaced the junky fire pit that we found in the back yard when we moved in.  Cost $0 (I paid with a  gift card from Christmas.  Winning!)

DSCF3365Our New Garden

I’m also super excited to report that we planted our first garden.  It’s a small one, but we didn’t want to overdo it on our first try.  If it goes well this year, our plan is to double the garden’s size next year and try growing a few new veggies and fruits.  Anyway, here is what we planted this year:

  • Strawberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Basil
  • Cilantro

We spent a total of $156 on plants and supplies.  Fortunately, a lot of our supplies can be reused year after year.  Here’s the rundown of what we’ve spent so far:

  • Tomato Cages: $24
  • Fencing: $29
  • Dirt: $20
  • Plants: $83

I am happy that my yard is starting to look better, but what I’m really excited about is growing some of our own food.  I’ve had tomato plants before, but have never had a full-fledged garden.  I cannot wait!

Do your neighbors keep up with the Joneses when it comes to their yard?  Are you planting a garden this year?