Sunday, August 2, 2009

Re-Do the Backyard: Part 4

I am one of those people that salivates at before and after pictures: Here is an old linoleum and vinyl insert bathroom, here is the new improved limestone and slate bathroom! Here is an ugly yard, and here is a completely unrealistic, perfect one! I have been fantasizing about writing this post since I started this blog.

Above is a look at our old, ugly, grown over yard taken at the end of May. First, we had to clean out all of the accumulated junk in the yard in order for Courtney, our fabulous earth-moving guy, to come in and take out the sod and apple tree stump. Then he dug out for paths and a drain ditch and the patio. Next, I moved mountains of crushed concrete and then mountains of gravel. Then we moved in 10 yards of soil amendment. Well, we are mostly using it like a top soil. Finally, Chris came in and tore down the falling apart fence between us and the renters with the scary Pit Bull, and rebuilt a nice, new fence that he just finished yesterday.

Below is the new, improved yard!

I rushed out and bought a whole bunch of plants two and a half weeks ago and then we hit our massive heat wave and a few of them tried to die, but I won't let them. They will probably look ugly through the winter and then perk up in the spring. We'll buy a lot more plants at all the plant sales in September, but I just needed to get something green growing out there right away!

My favorite plant of all the plants we have bought so far is the ginko tree. The leaves have such an interesting shape and it will provide a lot of shade and dimension to the far back part of the yard. It seems to be thriving in the heat. Once we get a little cooler, we are going to seed an eco-lawn in the patch between the ginko and the snowball bush next to the patio. It is a mix of fescue and clover. Our friends put in their yard and it looks luscious and even gets little blue flowers scattered everywhere in it.

I think the back arbor is too narrow to really plant anything on it. I didn't give the fence builder too much direction, so he made it to his preference, or maybe he ran out of wood, but I think we are going to go back and make the cross pieces longer so we can plant wisteria or hops or grapes. I am leaning towards wisteria.

Our front gate. I am very happy with it.

We put in this little island of dirt so we can put a metal trellis to grow some flowering vine on to hide the ugly oil tank in the background. The concrete figure is a sculpture I made almost 2 years ago. I am going to mosaic her bikini (eventually, when, like, I get done with all my other projects!)

The tomato is doing well, but is not producing any fruit yet, which worries me a little. The basil and mint are happy too.

Our friends Randy and Shari gave us a really scrappy looking eggplant and I planted it with little hope of getting one or more eggplants, but it is thriving and tripled in size in about one week and now it looks like we'll get at least 7 or 8 lovely purple veggies!

We bought a fig tree as well. It seems to be more in shock with this heat, but I already have a bacon wrapped fig recipe in mind, so I hope it wakes up soon!

Finally, my favorite thing to do is sit with coffee in the mornings in one of the red Adirondack chairs and watch the chickadees eat out of our new bird feeder. They make such a racket if I get too close to the feeder. So much noise for such a tiny bird. This little guy must have been really hungry to come so close to me and my camera.
I am so delighted with our progress so far. My garden makes me happy.


  1. Your yard looks amazing! I'm glad you're finally able to enjoy it after all the hard work you've done -- you go girl!

  2. Wow! What an incredible transformation! A happy little oasis.

  3. What a gorgeous job you have done! I hope you have really been enjoying it with this hot summer you've been having!