Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Back Garden - Part 1

One of my goals for this blog is to write down what I did/do to my gardens, so I can remember. One major project that just finished part 1 this year, and will continue to take a lot of time and effort is the garden in the back of the house. I'm going to break this story up into multiple posts, so I can record some of the details without this being super-long.

Part 1 - The Starting Point

When I bought my home about 3 years ago, it was bank-owned, as many available houses at that time were (and frankly, still are in this area). The bank had redone the inside, but the outside and garage were left in the "foreclosed on" state, meaning no water and no care/weeding/mowing. I don't even have pictures of what everything looked like back then.

The front garden was priority one to fix, since it was the second thing both neighbors mentioned, and it was absolutely the worst on the block. It wasn't too bad before the weeds started growing. So over the course of two weeks, I came up with an initial plan, got bids, and got the major work finished.  But that's another post.

Meanwhile, for over two years, the back yard languished. It looked like this most of the time, minus the 2 months in spring when all the brown stuff was green and growing:
Back yard, 11 Feb 2011, with the patio to the right.
And that's after my (new) neighbor replaced the fence with another ugly one. I tried mowing the grassy weeds one year, but mowed brown grassy weeds don't really look any better than long brown grassy weeds. The sprinkler system didn't work (turning the valves on manually made a pretty neat fountain in the middle of yard), and the weeds by the kitchen window were so tall they scratched on the glass, and scared me at night:
Weeds near the window!
And during the day too! There was a was strange sand pit (visible in the picture above), which based on google maps, used to be the foundation for an above ground pool. Now, the neighborhood cats were using it as a litter box.

There were three "trees". One is visible in the first picture, and two more here:
The other side of the house.
The trees were Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila), which Sunset characterizes as "not a desirable tree". No kidding! The back two were really more overgrown bushes, and none of them really cast much shade, even in the summer. All the wood fencing along the side in picture 3, and the back had to be replaced, and the trees were in the way for that too. Other than those trees, there was nothing in the back yard at all - no bushes (other than overgrown weeds), no hard scape and no support (sprinkler system, shade, etc). And it sat like that for two years, while I planned and saved. I'll talk a little bit about that process next time!

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