1. Make a complete list of areas which need repair, weeding, improvement or movement. Make a list of possible solutions.
- concrete patio needs cleaning, new pillows for chairs, and more plants in the new planting beds around the edges. I need to decide if I will be ripping out the "benches" on the house side made from fake brick (they hide pipes so I would need some different, proper benches to replace them).
- area just outside concrete patio needs leveling, and I need to finish the rock edging so I can put gravel down for the new path and patio areas. Also this area needs a bit of maintenance weeding every week or two to keep the last of the grass at bay. I am tempted to use something chemical here but it is too close to the raised beds for my peace of mind.
- raised beds might need some kind of wooden frame (they're kind of sloppy right now and a little bit overcrowded which could be a problem when my tomatoes get bigger). Ideally I would build four 4x4 squares about 6" high and transplant stuff into them. This also requires leveling and might be a project for next summer.
- I need to decide if I will be addressing both potential new patio areas this summer or just the one I have been working around (the one visible from the concrete patio). I might just wait and do the other side of the garden later on.
Got everything except for when I will be putting the gravel down I think I need some sort of compactor (will be renting this form Home Despot or somewhere similar, most likely). Also If I can't borrow a pressure washer for cleaning the concrete from the in-laws (f-in-law has two but they may both be broken) I may be renting one of these as well.
3. Find a garden center you love.
Moana Nursery has a rewards program and sends me coupons so they get points, but Dry Creek gets points for carrying plants proven to survive in Nevada (they're cooler, but farther away). Home Despot gets points for being five minutes from my house, but loses points for being giant, evil and stupid. Thus, HD for stuff like rentals, hoses and gloves, Moana for expensive shrubs (love those coupons) and Dry Creek for everything else.
4. Set a budget.
Like Susie, I have no available large chunk of $$ to set aside. That said, I can swap plants with people, get cuttings of things, and hit the Arboretum sale this weekend. The rock edging will be coming from the crappy river rock landscaping in the front yard (there's plenty), so the only big expenditure coming up will be the gravel (hopefully I will only need a couple of yards) which I am planning on pricing this weekend. There are several rock/landscape supply places so with any luck I can find a good deal.