When I went to work today, my yard was a barren dead thing. Brown grass, overgrown hedges, and no real mulch in the natural areas to speak of. When I got back home at 5:45 or so, I returned to green grass and plenty of mulch mounded in my new natural beds. The hedges have been trimmed and moved to the side yard and new, nicer plants and hedges have been planted sparingly around. I also have a gorgeous young maple tree reaching up in my front yard promising years of shade in the future.
How did this miracle occur? Well, I tell you that it's amazing what happens when you pass a lot of money to a landscape designer. Chris and I have no hope of actually creating an attractive yard on our own. We both have black thumbs and absolutely zero knowledge of which plants grow in whatever zone it is that we live in. I wouldn't know a holly bush from a hemp plant. So after years of just wishing our yard would suddenly look beautiful... we gave in and paid someone to make it so. (If you live in the area, I recommend Brooks Landscape Design. I can give you the phone number).
Keep checking back to this post for the next couple of days. I will try to take a picture this weekend and add it. It's too dark now, unfortunately, to get a good picture. If I had really been thinking, I would have taken a "before" picture as well, but I obviously am not really thinking. :-)