There was a brick flowerbox near the front door when we bought the house. My mother hated it. Research said we could deconstruct it ourselves, so that's what we did. Slowly, with hammer, cold chisel, and safety goggles. As it turns out, a medium screwdriver is more effective than the smallest cold chisel. The bricks were elderly,waterlogged, and more fragile than the mortar, but we'll be reusing them for part of the patio. They're already here, you see.
For starters, we'll fill in the former flower box with recycled bricks.
The first lawn mowing of the season took place after I spent 2 weeks raking pine needles and branches from the 2 acres. I'm sure that some folks could have done it in a single day, but raking a little at a time kept my head from falling off when I sneeze. And it allowed me to build up my tolerance for pine mold and pollen. The local garbage pickup services advised us to bag needles and branches for removal, but I'd rather have them as mulch at the base of the trees. After all, Cox Arboretum buys Texas pine needles for its mulch.
My mother wants a large vegetable garden. The area she chose to have tilled must have been some sort of garden in a previous life, because the soil is so much darker and richer than anywhere else in the yard. The man doing the tilling announced that all he was doing was making mud, and that he'd have to come back to finish it. If that area ever dries out, I have a feeling that we'll be planting things as soon as we rake out the dead grass.