Friday, July 19, 2013

Side Yard Waste Land

April 2013
 Side Yard April 2011

After finishing the fire pit we had about 2.5 seconds of celebration.  Then we turned around and looked at the South side of our house.   When we moved in, this area was covered in blackberries and was completely overgrown.  In 2011, I cut all of it out so that we could paint the house.   I then put down cardboard until we could decide what to do.  Well, we decided to store left over building materials there.  Then slowly over two short years the blackberries came back.  

  Side Yard 2013- Cringe

Starting at the corner I cut back all the blackberries.  It took about 4 yard debris bins to get it all and it seemed like I would never make it to our front yard. As I cut back the blackberries I was forced to deal with all our debris. We 'free' craigslisted the old wheelbarrow and the fence gate (scrappers delight).  We recycled the plastic garden pots, dumpstered our broken concrete, and neatly stacked the tens of pavers, bricks and rocks we found back there. Once we had a bare slate, I turned up the ground and tried remove ALL of the blackberry roots to avoid the same problem again.

Random pile of dirt from old owners, huge pile of pea gravel from us
Once again, this was backbreaking and I have no pictures of doing this work. We filled a whole wheelbarrow with all the roots we found under there.  I rotilled the space and Josh got to work fixing the grade. We needed to be very careful making sure we had a steady sloop away from the house, we also needed to meet the existing height of our neighbors side yard in a 10' wide area.   Josh's solution was to create a curvy dry creek bed feel that would be our pathway.  I loved it!

The sun is killing me here 

Using the fill from our random dirt pile we created mounded beds on either side and kept a free flowing feel to counteract our more ridgid lines over by the firepit. 

This is what is left of the forsythia and two limelight hydrangeas

Next, we put down landscape fabric for the pathway and then installed more boulders and river rocks to form the edge.  Using the remaining pea gravel we had left we filled in the pathway.   All we had left was to find plants that would be happy on the South side of the house.  We also had to find plants that will be happy in the constant shade along the fence line.  We started with a Lilac since these like sun, smell delicious and never get too big.

Lilac is on the left between the living room and bedroom windows

If you have been following- this is the third tarp in this post.  We were cleaning them throughout the project, which really made for some horrible pictures. Boo to the large cinderblock wall.

Fast forward to June when I took these, you can see the pathway.  I also added lavendar, little lamb hydrangeas and some sunflowers.  I am still looking for more plants for the fence line.  Also, please note the amazing moment the pathway ends into our stone fence.  Gate and new fence TBD.

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