...because home doesn't happen overnight.

1.  Gardening gloves have nothing on black-dyed mulch.

2.  Handy Hubby’s Danger Ranger can hold ~1 cubic yard of mulch per load.

3.  Even though a professional landscaping company says it will take 4 cubic yards of mulch to cover your mulch beds, you can do it with 2 cubic yards if you spread it on thinly.

4.  Spreading mulch is a great way to get some time to yourself.  Neighbors and kids won’t even bother messing with you should you need some help.

5.  Spreading mulch isn’t too bad.  It’s the hauling, shoveling, wheelbarrowing and dumping parts that suck.

6.  Spirea looks fantabulously lime green against a black backdrop.

7.  For a self esteem boost, a woman need only visit a landscaping supply business.  It doesn’t even matter if you are smelly, sweaty, dirty and breathing heavily…whistles and second glances will ensue.

8.  Beach towels are a better alternative to white bath towels when showering after spreading mulch all day.

9.  Three-year-old and six-year-old boys think helping their mama spread mulch is cool for about 5 minutes.

10.  Spreading mulch burns enough calories to justify a #1 Big Mac Extra Value Meal from McD’s.

11.  Spreading mulch is a good way to entitle yourself to your first ever manicure.

12.  Deodorant is no match for 85° weather + hard labor + my armpits.

13.  The mailman doesn’t give a @*$! if you have been shoveling mulch for 5 hours straight.  He still wants you to walk out to his postal truck ASAP to sign for a package.  And he will honk at you twice to let you know he’s in a hurry.

14.  My eyebrows don’t do a very good job of keeping rivers of sweat from stinging my eyeballs.

15.  If you need a reason to justify buying new shoes, just wear your old ones to spread black-dyed mulch.

16.  It takes about 13 fillings of this water bottle to keep me hydrated when I spread mulch in hot weather.

17.  Capri leggings leave weird tan lines.

18.  I look like I’ve been working in a service garage all day after spreading mulch.

19.  It takes me 6 hours to unload and spread 2 cubic yards of mulch.

20.  My groin sweats?!

21.  I save $100-$140 by picking up and spreading my mulch versus having a professional landscaping company deliver and spread it for me.  That means my hard labor is worth about $16-$23 per hour.  Not too shabby.

images:  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I LOVE your blog. You crack me up. The mailman doesn’t give $#%@ had me laughing out loud. I love that your real. Keep it up.
By the way the yard looks great.


22. All that mess is worth it – the yard looks fantastic! :)




Looks great! Love the post!


Great job! It looks beautiful! I can not believe your mailman wouldn’t come to you to sign for him… geez! lol I have a question… do you have any kind of border for your gardens? I don’t see anything. How does the mulch stay put if you don’t have a border. I am working on a new area and I am not looking forward to figuring out a border! :)

Thank you for #20. I’m glad I’m not the only one. :-)

Maybe we should form Groin Sweats Anonymous? So we can get together and talk about the virtues of black pants when exercising and know we’re not alone. For real though, the beds look great, excellent work :)


Whew! That made me tired just reading about it! Sounds like you worked pretty hard — but I’m sure the results are worth it!

I love this! Great post! Your yard and landscaping are beautiful!


It looks great! Wanna come do mine :)


Anna – I’m totally game!


Jennifer – No border around the beds…just a very deep edging treatment {sort of like a deep trench} that runs along the border of the beds to keep the mulch from flowing out. Makes it easier to mow around too!


All I can say is wow…I so totally wish I had enough nerve to get out there and do mine. You did a great job!


Ha! This is great! I spread ONE BAG of black-dyed mulch and wondered if it would ever wash off my hands. And my kids’ interest lasted about the same amount of time. But your after looks great!!


Hilarious! Looks great! My crotch area sweats like that too… :)

That looks great! And the part about the mailman made me laugh!


I had no idea they made mulch in black! It looks great with your house and really makes the colors of the flowers and greenery pop. Loved your list and just wanted to say, you look like an action figure in that last shot—maybe because you were busy being one all day!


bahaha Love this post!


My hubby and I put down black mulch a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure about the black mulch to begin with, but after seeing the green plants pop against it, I couldn’t be happier. Your landscaping looks amazing, great job!


Looks GREAT! I LOVE landscaping so fun, good workout/sweating, and rewarding!


It looks great! But what really caught my attention are the white stones that you have in the 6th and 7th pictures used as little baby retaining walls. I would love to know more about them!


Let me just say that… MY WIFE IS A ROCK STAR!!!

I came home to a fully mulched yard and I didn’t have to lift a single finger. I also knew we didn’t pay an arm and a leg for it, which made it even better.


Handy Hubby – The cost for 2 cubic yards of black-dyed mulch was $62 – that’s with me picking it up and spreading it myself.


Nikki – The rock retaining walls/borders are actually loose stones. We paid someone to extend our mulch beds and put in those stones last summer. I watched the guy do it. He just brought out larger stones in the color we were wanting {light gray} and split them into triangular shapes to make an arc shape around the edge of the beds. They’re only held in place with dirt…no cement or sand…totally removable if wanted but haven’t budged even under kids’ feet and rough Ohio weather. I love them!


This post SO reminded me of being a kid and having to help out with yard work. My mom had beautiful beds of flowers, but mulching and edging those bed was my least favorite chore ever. It created for me such an aversion to yard work that even if I ever move out of NYC, I swear I will live in a house with 0 yard. Postage-stamp plot of land? Right over here.


Hehe… this was a funny and cute post. I look like this, and worst, every time I go out to my vegetable garden to weed ~ urgh! Anyway… I do have a suggestion for a post! I really like that you try to do lots of things yourself, as I am pretty much the same way, and since my house needs landscaping ASAP, and yours looks really great, please help us out with that. I’d love to know what types of shrubs and/or plants can and/or should be planted – like you have. I promise not to copy everything! hehe. Thanks for all your advices and posts :o)


Number 12 made me laugh out loud, big time.


Hello, came across this on Pinterest. I was wondering how you made your beds raised and if you had to cut up the sod. Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing with all of us :)


We hired out for the beds but I watched the landscapers. They scalped the sod then flipped it upside down and broke it all up. This meant less soil/mulch had to be added for the raised effect. I thought it was a genius idea!


What type of shrubs did you plant in the first and third picture? They are bright green, three of them. I’m doing my beds right now and I think yours look perfect! I appreciate your help.


Those evergreen shrubs were actually planted by the builder. Not sure exactly what type of evergreen they are.