Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Back Yard Jungle: Part 1

March 2013

We got a break in our normally bummer spring rainfest and had several nice weekends out in Portland.  This encouraged us to get moving on our increasingly scary back yard.  In the fall, Josh and I had decided we wanted to install a fire pit in our backyard.  Being pro safety and anti grass we thought it would be best to install gravel around the area.  We took all our old boxes and laid them on top of our grass from the corner of the porch to the back fence.  This is roughly a 20' x 15' area. 

Then something happened which we are not proud of, this area became a logical dumping ground for things we didn't know what to do with.  Remaining stones were placed to hold down the cardboard, left over mulch - left in a pile in the middle, a random door we scored for free and then had no idea what to do with, random scrap wood stacked in the corner. The end result was horrible and I looked at it all winter. 

 Please note: this is the improved backyard after I had removed the mulch, door, and Josh had taken out the blackberries. 

On the landscaping front it was even worse. We went into the winter without doing our standard cut back of much of our landscaping. We were honestly so worn out and the weather turned bad so quickly we just never got around to it. The invasive blackberries were everywhere.  The forsythia fence line was about 10' deep and 20' tall.  It was a jungle.  We had piled all the gravel for this fire pit along the house under the guest room window.  Which made it difficult to even reach the backyard from the porch.

Our first step was to cut back all the foliage and remove the blackberries once and for all. Josh dug out all the blackberries along the back fence.  I worked over on the side cutting down the forsythia and some invasive vine. If you have ever done this, it is horrible work.  I hated removing blackberries they have roots that go everywhere and the prickers get you with even the best gloves.  This took a full weekend and we ended with only one small corner in the back of yard cleared.

This is after I cut back the forsythia and only to expose our rotting fence and more construction debris
Josh took advantage of this space to build a small pad for our firewood to live.  He leveled the area and reused some amazing 1970's decorative cinder blocks that once were a fence to build an open lattice and then filled it with gravel from our pile. I followed behind to move some ferns from other spaces in the yard, and purchased an awesome lime green pine tree.  I also moved the blueberry bushes that were on the back fence to the front of the porch.  They had never been very productive so I was hoping they would work better with more sun.

Weekend one ended with a 5' x 8' section completed.  It felt great, but we knew we had a long way to go.  The good news was we reused free blocks, already owned gravel.  The bad news, I had at least 20 yards of lawn debris and we had only cleared half of the area.  
Dear lord do we need to paint this baby blue horror-  I pray for the willpower to come

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