Math IS Real Life May 2015 Edition: Landscaping 101

It’s the first Wednesday of May which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture AND a link back to all four of our blogs – feel free to use the 2nd image and the links listed below!



 A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by

 4mulaFunThe Teacher StudioTeaching to Inspire in 5th, AND MissMathDork,


I should start this post by saying that I “am not a gardener”. (I should also mention that the majority of this post will be told through the pictures – especially the math portion – … make sure to read the writing on the pictures to get the full story!)  By that I mean I kill just about every plant I come in contact with dies.  We have lived in our current house for 5 years and have yet to do any landscaping.  Well…. my mother-in-law created a beautiful landscape in front of her house and I decided that perhaps I should try my hand. Before I could do so, I needed some measurements.




After taking measurements, I made went to Lowe’s with a plan…. Pavers!  Just like how Judy did!  LOVED how it looked.



Hmmm…. 60 pavers (which ending up smashing my fingers at least 3 times in just stacking these….) looks like I need a Plan B.



So after deciding to go with Plan B (cheaper by a bit AND lighter AND less to lay down AND no finger smashing!!!) I bought flowers.


Then I got home and “checked my work”!


And started to ‘dig in’ to the project!


Once I had dug up the dirt, it was time to lay down the weed barrier fabric.  More measurements were in order!


Then I had to lay out the lilies to see if I had purchased enough.  I ended up going with 3 feet apart instead of 4 so I needed to purchase a few more lilies after the fact.


The next day, I decided that two of our tree/bushes needed to go.  I had trimmed them back earlier in the spring and the interior had died.  5-year-old tree/bushes are NOT easy to remove.  Let just say it took 3 people, 2 saws, a pick axe, a shovel, and almost and hours worth of pushing and pulling…. sounds like a bad math word problem, eh? Yeah… it was gross but we made it happen.


After removing the gross tree/bushes I finished up the edging.  Thankfully, due to great measurements there was minimal waste!


After 2 days, the project was nearly complete!


Though I ran out of fabric…. oops, I guess that doubling up caught up with me!



I headed back to Lowe’s to grab mulch and more fabric.  Mulch is always hard for me to calculate.  I tend to be very heavy-handed and use way more than I should.  I did appreciate they chart on the front though!


I ended up grabbing 12 bags on the first trip, and 10 more on the second trip.  22 total bags.





After 3 days, multiple Lowe’s trips (maybe I need a pick-up truck instead of a crossover!) and quite a bit of soreness, my project was over.  Knowing how to calculate length, area, and volume helped me purchase the correct amount of materials (even though they didn’t all fit in my car!) and have minimal waste.   AND minimal waste meant staying on budget!  Overall, a very productive 3-day weekend! Now, I just hope I can keep them all alive!

Lots of fun math to use her with your students!:  length, feet, inches, conversions, area, volume, decimal computations, budgeting, spatial reasoning (fitting it all into your car!), time management.


  Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below!  Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!

Categories: #mirl, computation and estimation, geometry and measurement, math is real life, and mathematical reasoning.


  1. […] as you may have notices in last month’s landscaping post, I have a shiny new *orange* Chevy  Trax!  I’m absolutely in love with this car.  It gets […]

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