Or, an alternate title would be “We, the Destructors”.
Drew and I have been working on our house, and our yard, for a handful of years now, and we are maybe finally seeing the fruits of all our labor. Or maybe we just can’t decide what we really want, and just keep ripping stuff out and putting stuff back in. Whatever. This year, it’s been even more important for us to clean up the landscaping in both the front and backyards, since there’s a very active little boy wanting to get into everything! By everything, I mean a prickly cactus in the front landscaping, and (ugh) poison ivy in the back. (Speaking of poison ivy, go ahead and google “erythema multiforme”, and you’ll now know why I will forever stay away from poison ivy and why I may not be seen in a bathing suit this summer. My days have consisted of steroids, aloe, benadryl and ITCHING, and really obscene splotching that I PRAY will fade away so I won’t permanently look like a spotted pig. Ok, enough of the gross factor!)
Sorry for the imagery there, just had to share :-). But still, all in perspective, right? We’ve had a beautiful weekend, with grandma and grandpa here to visit, to play with baby while mommy and daddy got some ice cream and shopped at the local nursery, to help with the yardwork and to enjoy a little bonfire together at the end of a long and productive day!
Where was I? Oh, the cleaning up of our small but busy piece of property. I’m going to start with the backyard in this post, and maybe do a walkthrough of the front landscaping another time.
This was when we first moved in. The was taken from our back door out towards the garage. Basically, the yard was completely overgrown on the left, and split in two by the 2 Rose of Sharons in the middle. There was a big pile of growth towards the right (aka “crap island”), and the right side of the yard was also completely overgrown. Think crazy overgrown English garden, filled with God knows what, and hidden from view from neighbors on either side.
Here’s a shot of the right side of the yard. Actually, crap island wasn’t so crappy back then. I can see some hostas are still recognizable.
Being a little nervous about the existence of poison ivy, and really just sick of the tangled growth, we tore into all of this with the energy and enthusiasm of a young newly-wed couple, hell bent on making this our dream yard. I think at one point, we had 25 leaf bags on the road, waiting to be picked up. Just by cleaning up the border, we gained maybe 5 or 6 feet of property back, and could almost say hi to our next door neighbors. Do you see that patch of very green, very new grass back by the log pile? We actually found a cave created by Forsythias that had grown up, over and back down, rerooted and grown again. Some large animal had made the cave its home. It was maybe the size of a full size bed, and tall enough for me to stand in! Looking pretty good, but still a mess at ground level, with all sorts of weeds and vines growing out of control.
Ok, some progress! Let’s see, this shot below was when I was pregnant in 2010. All the border vegetation is gone. Our lilac got sick and died. A mulberry tree came down in a storm, and then there was really nothing left except a tangle of Forsythia and Rose of Sharons, which we slowly but surely demolished. Crap island was still there, still crappy and getting crappier. The two Rose of Sharons in the middle of the yard was also starting to get annoying, but there was a gorgeous climbing rose in there that we weren’t ready to give up.
Here are some views of the right side of the yard. BEFORE: a deer, 10 feet from the back door. Notice the mass of vegetation the deer is looking at, and the two hostas on the right.
AFTER: Hostas are still there, the rest of the vegetation is GONE. Ripped out. (Sorry Drew, for the sad picture). Actually, we paid some shady contractors to rip out this side of the yard because there were too many stumps to get through. They ended up driving a truck onto our lawn and churned some tire tracks into my grass, thinking they could just pull out stumps with a truck. We complained, barely paid them, and they are now out of business. Live and learn.
Sometime in 2010, we took the plunge and installed a fence. This time, we paid some reliable contractors who came and built it all in one day, no fuss, no muss. And no more standing outside in the cold and the rain, waiting for the puppy to go potty!
We didn’t do much last year, as we were quite busy learning to be new parents, but the backyard picture has changed once again, just in the last couple of weeks! And this time, we are “constructors” as well as “destructors”, which is a bit of a change for us. Can’t wait to see more? I’ll be posting the new set of pictures as soon as I get out there with a camera and take some.