Before I started beautifying the front of the house, it was a real eye sore. It was nearly impossible to mow properly (though Geoff did his best) and there was always a part that never got cut. We are not good trimmer people. And the bird feeders were very hard to clean under, and I eventually gave up trying to do it. So all the seed that fell and wasn't cleaned up by the ground-feeding birds just sat there and sprouted, which didn't add to the look at all.
So I first put in a weed barrier.
Yesterday, in 90 degree heat, I emptied 23 bags of mulch onto the weed barrier. This section is 10 feet X 25 feet....250 square feet. A person at Earthscapes helped me calculate how many bags (at three square feet each) would be needed to cover this. 83 bags. Eighty-freakin'-three! Well, that just wasn't going to work. Turns out that I would have needed 83 bags if I wanted to cover the area 6-8 inches deep with mulch. Nope.Here it is now. I added a pathway and some paver stones under the bird feeder to make it easier to clean.
My new shadblow serviceberry is in the front corner (the birds will love the berries). The Russian sage is in front of the feeder. I have lots of plants left to fill this in a bit, but it's a work in progress. It won't be perfect this year, since the plants need to grow and become what I am envisioning in my head. But I am making plant choices based on what the birds need. Such as: I will put in a Cup plant...(Silphium perfoliatum) whose leaves can actually hold water where the leaves meet the stem, and it blooms in July and the birds will devour the seeds in Fall. Picture later...