Weed Blocking Fabric & New Flowers For Our Mailbox

Yeah, we’re those neighbors. You know, the ones who are so busy working on the inside of the house (slash baby-wrangling) that our yard is looking a little worse for wear. Check out the weed convention taking place under our mailbox:

And hark, who is that sweet little guy peering out of the overgrown insanity?

Why it’s a sweet iron squirrel left by the previous owners. And yes, I do love him and occasionally pet him. His name is Norman.

So the first step of the whole mailbox makeover was clearly to weed. For the first time in half a year. Yup, other than this mom-assisted weeding event, we haven’t done it at all since moving in.

I just got a bucket and filled it five times with all of the stuff sprouting up around the mailbox post:

Then we used some landscaping fabric to block those evil weed babies from coming back (since we’ve established that regular weeding isn’t our strong suit) and grabbed two $7 pots of fast growing all-summer-blooming petunias from Lowe’s. They tend to creep outward and get pretty big throughout the summer, so we think they’ll fill in that whole area nicely without having to buy ten pots of different things to plant.

We just cut little x’s into the landscaping fabric and dug in our petunias so they could spread their roots under the fabric – without a lot of other weeds coming up through the opening (hopefully).

Then we added an ultra thin layer of top soil to hold things down and a nice thick moisturizing layer of mulch. Can’t wait for these babies to grow a bit and creep outwards to fill more of our little mulched area with blooms.

Oh and see that area on the side of the post in the pic above that looks like it’s painted gray? That’s where our house numbers are so I just “painted” over them in photoshop for privacy reasons. And see that big blank stop-sign looking thing? That’s our alarm sign that I painted over in Photoshop to obscure it as well (as for the shape giving anything away, multiple companies have the same shape so it’s all good). Our house is armed like Fort Knox since we’re paranoid parents who realize that putting your whole house on the internet requires a few more precautions than the average home. So when our alarm company recommended that we not share their name on the internet (for maximum house security since they didn’t want anyone to think they knew the inside scoop on our system or try to research it or something – even though the way they installed our system is different than the norm with a bunch of crazy sci-fi extras) we were happy to oblige.

We actually thought it was pretty darn awesome of them to recommend the not-sharing thing since most companies would probably cross their fingers for a mention. They’re serious about security. Like Jack Bauer serious (or Chloe O’Brien serious). But we weren’t exactly thrilled about the three tin signs junking up our mailbox. A single alarm sign would usually be hung facing the street on the base of the post, but there was an old sign for an electric fence (which is no longer in use on our property) there instead. So they hung two signs on either side of the… arm?… of the mailbox. So after longer-than-necessary debating, J and I decided to remove both alarm signs along with the electric fence one and just hang one alarm sign in its place near the base. Here I am after removing both alarm signs and starting on the electric fence sign.

Oh yeah and my shorts were looking a little short so I added a “modesty heart.” But the real story of the picture above is the pink arrow (which explains my skeeered face). By removing the alarm signs, we uncovered this:

A wasp (or hornet’s) nest. Le gasp. I just left him alone and he left me alone. Thankfully. But we’re planning to ditch the nest (naturally and hopefully carefully) this evening. Fingers crossed.

Update: Mr Wasp was out this evening (at least I believed he was because at dusk his nest appeared to be unattended) so I donned a lot of clothing and closed toe shoes and used a long yardstick to knock the hive to the ground from afar. Nothing flew out of it (it was in fact empty – although I’ll never know if he was just out for a stroll or had abandoned the nest when I removed the alarm signs) so I stomped on it a few times with my shoe. Done-zo. Woot! And yes, I’m feeling pretty tough right now. I’ll keep you guys updated if he comes back (although I think the loss of cover thanks to the missing signs might mean good things for keeping him gone for good).

Here’s what we had going on once I hung just one alarm sign on the base of the post facing the road. If I were an overachiever I would spray paint the mailbox with oil-rubbed bronze paint to get it looking nice and shiny. Someday. And maybe even paint the post something glossy and fresh. Oh and see that birdhouse on the back of the post? A quaint little bird family lives there. They all fly out when we get the mail. So cute.

Speaking of cute, you know El Squirrel stuck around right? Here’s Norman living it up among the fresh mulch and happy blooms:

So yeah- we didn’t Curb Appeal The Block, but it’s a quick little upgrade from the embarrassment that was this:

Any other quick yard updates going on in your world? Have you ever used weed-block fabric (it was our first time beyond using it for the patio)? Or found little faux woodland creatures on your property only to fall in love with them? Or come face to face with a bee/hornet’s nest? Spill it.


  1. says

    I had every intention to spray paint our mailbox that still bares the previous owner’s name (eeks!) this weekend, but instead I decided to paint our front door. Which has turned into a complete fiasco and now it is day 4 and I’m still not done. Yay for projects that don’t go as planned!

    Chris Loves Julia

  2. Stephanie says

    We used the weed block fabric in my backyard flower garden, but I didn’t like it there. I found it more trouble to work around after it had degraded a bit. I took it out this spring when I was planting. I don’t mind it at all in the front landscaping b/c I don’t dig around much up there and I do think it helps control weeds a little. I don’t mind pulling the weeds in the back b/c it is just once every other week or so and gives me a reason to go outside. I just love freshly planted flowers and fresh mulch. It looks great!

  3. Jen says

    Amazing what a little sprucing can do! Looks great.

    I’ll be interested to see how your weed fabric does. With the weed fabric I’ve used, the instructions said to not get any dirt or soil on top of the fabric since that’s what the weeds need to take hold and grow. I just put a layer of mulch over the fabric and held the fabric in place with pins meant for that purpose.

    Keep up the great work you two! I love the large projects as much as anyone else, but small projects always make more of a difference than expected so seeing your small projects motivates me to get to work!

    • says

      Yeah I wondered about that but a thin layer of dirt seemed to help the fabric lay well with a thicker layer of mulch on top. We shall see how it goes!


    • says

      At the very least, it should be easier to pull weeds out of a thin layer of soil since they won’t be able to get their roots as deep, which stops them taking hold as much :)

  4. Kari says

    I love the power of mulch. So easy, looks fantastic, keeps the weeds down. Your little spot looks much better.

    You might consider removing the wasps for the sake of your poor letter carrier who won’t want to be stung this summer, either.

    • says

      Yeah we were thinking about that. We wondered if they’d abandon the nest now that it’s exposed on all sides (it used to be hidden by the sign on both sides of the post). Maybe I should go check if it’s still “active.”


    • KathyG says

      Just pick up a can of that wasp spray foam at HD. If you have one, you’ll have others. It’s easy to use, and from quite a distance. Just spray, they’ll fall, then stomp. Kinda scary-fun, actually. lol

    • Sara says

      I was thinking the same thing! It doesn’t look like a helpful bee’s nest that you want to save, more like a wasp, yellow jacket, or hornet’s nest. Not something you want to get stung by!

    • says

      We had a smiliarly-sized wasps’ nest that we found when we were getting ready to stain our deck a couple weeks ago. This is pretty sadistic, but somehow I came up with the idea of spraying it with WD-40 (it works on everything, right?) and all the wasps immediately died and we were able to remove it while wearing gloves.

    • meredith says

      Oh my gosh – just get some hornet spray and get rid of it. And be careful – they like to build in the same places. We had one like that above our front door area and they came back again and again. When we repainted they didn’t come back anymore.

    • says

      The deed is done! Wahoo. We posted an update on this post about it, but basically it was abandoned so I stepped on it. We’ll check if it comes back and do something more to thwart them if they return (I think since the cover of the alarm sign is gone they’re gone for good).


  5. says

    Bees also freak me out. Once, a nest appeared on the outside of our window so we could watch them build (since we were safely on the other side). It was cool to watch but I would prefer them not being there at all. But I think the mailbox looks great and I’m sure the neighbors are fans, too!

    And your security company sounds amazing! It’s always comforting to know that they care and take your safety seriously. My parents house is rigged up all crazy, too (a crazy siren goes off that the whole neighborhood can hear). It’s actually how I realized the Easter Bunny wasn’t real – because how could he get in our house without setting off the alarm??

    • Sami says

      I just have to share. My Dad once forgot to set out my sister and I’s Easter baskets. He accidentally left them in the hiding place in the garage. He told us the Easter bunny was so busy delivering baskets he didn’t have time to come all the way up to the living room so he left them in the garage. *Yeah right Dad* Given that on the previous Christmas my Dad also told us that Santa was so busy delivering present that he couldn’t fill out the tags – that’s why Dad and Santa have the exact same hand-writing – well it didn’t take long before the light bulb went off for us. Maybe it was just Dad all along.

    • Elizabeth says

      WHAT?! There is no Easter Bunny? and Santa Claus is Sami’s dad?!?!

      I’m crushed.

  6. says

    This post is so timely, I’m currently having a nervous breakdown that my yard is quickly growing weeds and I have no time to yank them. Too much work and school lately :(

    I spray painted my mailbox a dark brown last year (it was a white box on a white post) and the contrast made all the difference! I say light and bright post! :)

    • says

      I’m a big believer in landscaping fabric. We just used the X technique, too, in our rose garden and everywhere else we have any kind of planting bed.

      For a whole different perspective on weed management, check out Gaia’s Garden, a book on permaculture that I’ve just started reading. It will change the way you think about pretty much every aspect of gardening.

    • Sara says

      I find even though some weeds will grow on top of the weed barrier, since the roots can’t get so deep they are much easier to pull out.

  7. Sayward says

    I am DYING over that modesty heart! I do things like that too. I saw a great quote yesterday on Pinterest that said ?”Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, and loose enough to show you’re a lady” – Edith Head

  8. Katrina says

    I just tackled the curb appeal issue last night! We have an acre and a ton of weeds taking over all of our beds, so although we’ve weeded regularly, the front had not been tackled for awhile. I weeded and then we added some annuals for some color pop in the front. Hopefully we can keep on top of it from now on.

    We bought our house in the middle of last summer, so we’re still discovering what is planted where. There are so many things planted in places that I would never have chosen in our yard. Thankfully, I love the plants that they chose and they are pretty easy care (for the most part). The previous owners were also good about dividing and using what they had so there is good repetition throughout our property, but this has also resulted in everything flowering and dying at the same time, which is something I want to address. I’m excited to see how we make the place evolve over the years!

  9. Shannon says

    We’ve had two previous owners of our house so I’m not sure who it belonged to, but we have a large concrete german shepherd in our backyard. There is a rose of sharon tree planted behind him so I’m pretty sure he is a grave marker. We don’t intend to move him so I’ve named him Rex and he does a great job keeping an eye on our backyard!

    • Sarah A. says

      I have a (live) German Shepherd named Rex!
      We moved into our house two summers ago and the previous owners used a lot of weed block fabric in the raised beds. It doesn’t seem to have done that much good, and Rex likes to pull it out and chew it. I remove it when I come across it.

  10. LauraElle says

    We’ve used the weed block fabric. We still get some weeds, not nearly the amount of weeds we had before fabric, though. The new weds are on top of the fabric, which makes them much easier to remove. They also don’t come back because the new weeds’ root systems are not deep.

    The grass grew over the top of the fabric as well, because we didn’t edge our lawn by the flowerbed. When I pulled up the grass, it took a lot of the top soil and mulch with it. So then I had to put down more soil and mulch. Don’t be like us, edge your lawn around the border of the new flowerbed and y’all will be fine.

    I don’t think y’all will have any weeds growing through the patio. If you do get a few weeds, just boil a kettle and pour the boiling water over the weeds. They’ll wilt immediately.

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