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We Tackled The Beasts

Call us crazy but we did it!  Our front yard juniper jungle is gone.  Woot woot!  This was no easy feat, mind you.  In the spring of 2010 we spent a good couple of months on the weekends chainsawing, pick axing, clipping, and plain ol’ ripping out every pokey, spider web laden, snail infested bush littered with sticky soda cans, toy army men, and cigarette butts.  You all know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.  Whether it was crashing your bike into one as a kid, getting tripped by one (because you know those roots that literally grow to the end of the Earth are out to get us), or losing your favorite (fill in the blank) in the abyss of the bush, we’ve all had an experience with a juniper.  Luckily, we all lived to talk about it!  Did I mention one of the bushes was so large, a family of four could’ve taken up residence in it?  Okay, okay, moving on…

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a juniper – in bonsai form that is.  I’ve seen some exquisite creations.  This Juniper Foemina, for example.  And this juniper bonsai started in 1962.  Or this outdoor juniper bonsai tree.  Impressive art forms, aren’t they?  However, that’s about as far as my love for junipers goes.

In case you missed the last post, here are the before pictures of the front yard.


First, we took out the large bushes.  Ouch!  I’m pretty sure I remember being sore for a couple of days.

Second, we trimmed down the Meyer Lemon bush and took out the concrete patio, chunk by chunk:

Next, we took out the junipers in the parking strip.  We also had to cut down a diseased, and huge might I add, Chinese Elm.

Finally, all the old landscaping was out. Phew!  Next, we re-piped the sprinkler system (the old galvanized pipes were in dire need of replacement).  Then, we sprayed lines for the new landscape layout and shoveled out the grass.  Yes, you heard me right… we shoveled… for what felt like an eternity.  No, we didn’t rent a sod cutter because we thought we’d save a few bucks.  If I can give you one piece of advice (you know what’s coming), spend the $100 rental fee on the sod cutter.  You’ll save endless hours and won’t have to take turns massaging each other’s backs for days on end.  Last, we planted a few trees before the painting got under way.  At the left corner of the house is a Forsythia (yellow flowers).  About six feet in from the sidewalk we planted a Dappled Willow Tree that’s been grafted, so no worries about the roots ruining the sewer pipes.  Near the driveway is a tree form Japanese Wisteria.

With the bushes gone you can really see how plain our 1954 ranch house is.  Not for long!  Next up you’ll see us paint the house, add decorative touches, and start the landscaping.


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Hubby - Please notice how she skips over, “Jack hammered out the concrete”. This was no joke and both my dad and I were about to quit, until she finally gave us some water and bread.

My First Post: What’s to Come

Hello there and welcome to Designed on Sunshine!  The name was derived from my personal philosophy of finding joy in everything you do.  To me the name says everything was created in a happy, bright, cheerful, fun, and adventurous way!  I’d love to hear what you think of the name and logo in the comments section below.

I started this blog because I thought it would be so much fun to share my projects and ideas.  Plus, I thought what a fantastic opportunity this would be to open myself up to making new (DIY) friends all over the world!  I’ll explore home improvement, cooking, landscaping, organic gardening, sewing, and crafting projects.  You name it, I’ll tackle it, and also show that you too can surround yourself with beautiful creations you’re proud of utilizing savvy spending, some ingenuity, a lot of patience, and a sense of humor.

What’s to come in the first few weeks you ask?  You’ll see us (the hubby included) paint our house, share our new landscape design, build a greenhouse/garden shed, and remodel the fireplaces.  Here’s a few pics you’ll definitely recognize as ‘before’ shots. Please forgive the quality and angles as I didn’t know I’d be sharing these with the world on a blog:

 (Click on the picture for the lightbox gallery to start. The picture description can be found at the bottom of the lightbox.)

What did you think?  We have a lot of work ahead of us, yes?  Well, we’ve made quite a few improvements in the short time we’ve lived here.  We’ve gotten dirty, made some mistakes, and had an abundant amount of laughs!  Stay tuned for the ‘after’ shots in the next couple of weeks!  In the meantime, happy creating!





admin - Thanks mama! Hope to see you soon for some good laughs!

Aida - I have to tell you that I am so impressed my your tenacity and sheer fearlessness!! Beautiful and really quite stunning results.

Lisa Simmons Schinkel - Oh No I can’t wait!

Lisa Simmons Schinkel - The cool part of this is that I have gotten to see most of the before and afters of all of these things.

Designed on Sunshine - Thank you! Love you too!!

Designed on Sunshine - You’re going to be so happy when you see something in a couple of days. It’s a surprise! 🙂

Lisa Warden - @[238984936199094:274:Designed on Sunshine] I’m afraid the FB page is second priority. A friend of mine is helping me with my website (, and that’s top priority, so hopefully there will be some nice changes on that soon!

Lisa Simmons Schinkel - Oh My Farmer Mel, how I love you and your projects!

Shelly Warden - I LOVE the name as you have captured the essence of you and how you are in the world. The colors are soft and companionable and the whole look just invites you in. Designed on Sunshine is now a fixture on my desktop. Love the site, love you and can’t wait to watch it grow!

Mom in Fairbanks.

Designed on Sunshine - Thanks for the nice comments, Lisa! As soon as your page is up let me know!

Lisa Warden - Hi Melanie, love the name and the idea! I’m looking forward to everything to come, and you’re inspiring me to work on my business FB page!

Melanie Warden - You are so sweet, Laura!! Thanks for sharing it! Have you created a page on fb yet for your biz?

Laura Martinez - Melanie, this is absolutely wonderful. I love it and I can’t wait to see all the stuff to come. I have shared this with my friends who will also enjoy this. I love the name and logo- great job and congratulations!

Designed on Sunshine - Yay! Glad you like the name, Treva! Yes – keep reading for those inexpensive yard ideas!

admin - Thanks and love you too!!

Treva Gonzales - p.s. I forgot to mention… I absolutely LOVE <3 your creative name.

Treva Gonzales - I am SO excited to watch your progress! (p.s. I am not a big fan of Junipers!)
Can’t WAIT to see your first “after” pictures!
I have big dreams and no money for my backyard, so I’ll watch with anticipation your savvy spending in the yard!

Connie Abram - From the time you first held a crayon, our home was filled with various projects of your creation. Thanks for bringing back all the memories. Especially love the sepia-tone photos with a hint of more to come.

Love you always,