We've redone the back stretch of the yard. When we first started landscaping, we had visions of beautiful, flowering bushes that would grow huge, screening the back of our lawn from the neighbors. But, uh, we learned you have to take care of those beautiful bushes, or they will die. And, the weeds around them will be taller than them on occasion (just ask my dad who spent a full day with a hoe last fall finding bushes as if they were Easter eggs hidden from obvious view).
For the second landscaping attempt, we installed leyland cypress trees, which we have successfully grown in another portion of the backyard, and butterfly bushes. The trees are good because they grow fast, and as they grow, it is nearly impossible for weeds to grow beneath them. The butterfly bushes are all transplants from my butterfly garden. The mother ship bush spawned a dozen or so little bushes this past growing season, that needed to be removed from the garden, lest they take it over completely. I figure they'll provide nice color in the back - and they're VERY EASY to take care of, which is the most important ingredient to any landscaping plan.
We planted the bushes before Helen was born, and now we're ready to lay down the weed fabric and then cover that with mulch. We knew Connor would be excited about the project not only because a real live dump truck would be visiting our house dropping off that mulch, but because it could then be carted about the yard. For this project, we purchased a new wheelbarrow, much more substantial than his old one.
After working a bit, he got out his thermos and poured himself a glass of apple juice, which he later told me was 'refreshing'. Helen and I took an extended nap while the boys worked. We needed the sleep after the party we had from 4 AM to 6AM last night!