Backyard Overhaul

We’ve been busy.  Really busy tearing up our backyard and building new things.  It all started in late April, early May when we had a stretch of super great weather and we were spending all of our time outside.  Rob and I were tossing ideas back and forth and before we knew it there were garden beds being built and shrubs and trees being removed.  And of course the lawn was mowed.Backyard_03The first project that was done was the sandbox.  Rob went to the hardware store one morning and before he had to be at work that afternoon it was built and ready for use.  He used this plan that I found on Pinterest.  It’s perfect.SandboxWe wanted one with a top so it wouldn’t become a neighborhood litter box (there’s a cat that sleeps on our back porch on occasion) and we wanted to keep the sand as dry as possible through all the rain.  The same day Rob built the sandbox was also the same day Max got a water table.  So now the game is to transfer water to the sandbox and sand to the water table.  In the end everything’s a mess and Max is happy.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do since we moved in here was remove the shrubs surrounding the patio, closing it off.  So one Saturday, while Rob was working and Max was napping, my mom came over with her hedge clippers and we got down to business.  She and I cut them all down to the roots and Rob later dug them out.  What a difference!  So satisfying.Backyard_01

Another big removal project was the crabapple tree.  The fruit it produced was bitter and not edible and it was in a prime sun position where we wanted a garden bed.  So down it went.  Rob took down most of it then we had a friend come over with his truck and wench to yank the stump out.Backyard_02Then came the garden beds.  We have not one but TWO garden beds.  Now, this is a big deal because we’re not great at tending to gardens.  We’ve got a veggie garden with corn, bell peppers, chili peppers, lettuce (that’s terribly bitter) and spinach (that is also not that great), and strawberries.  We have been great at watering and sort of good at weeding it.  Even Max enjoys helping out.GardenThe other bed is a flower bed.  I wanted a flower bed with flowers that I can cut and that’s what I got.  We went to the plat store and got some great things to plant.  My mom and I hauled a truckload of dirt (Rob was at work) and got the plants in the ground.  I was so pleased.  My mom even brought me some of her peonies to plant.  They won’t bloom until next year, but I’m super excited to have them.  While at the plant store we also picked up a cherry tree that was planted in place of another tree we cut down.Backyard_05In the middle of the yard were these out of control butterfly bushes.  Bushes that had grown into giant groupings of small trees that weren’t blooming because they were partly dead.  They’re gone now.  In there place we put a cherry tree that is already a huge hit with Max who had eaten all the cherries.  Yes, we bought the tree the was already producing fruit.  And yes we have eaten all of them.

My mom surprised me with a bunch of outdoor lights which was super nice of her.  Now our back porch is nicely lit in the evening.
Backyard_04I’m realizing I’m sort of terrible at taking before photos.  I thought I took a before of these awful things a while ago, and maybe I did, but I can’t find it.  So you’ll just have to believe me when I say that the bushes here reached the roof and there was maybe 24 inches of space in between them to walk through.  I hated them so very much.  Rob and I shared the trimming responsibility (Did you know it’s kind of difficult to use a chainsaw?  Or maybe I’m just weak?  Probably the latter.).  We still need to get the stumps and roots out, and that’s going to take a lot of work.

So that’s that.  We have a lot of really fantastic ideas for our yard that will take lots of time and money, neither of which we have a whole lot of right now, but we are enjoying it greatly as it is, spending our afternoons back there with Max and the dogs running around while we fire up the grill and sip on beers.  Cheers to a lovely summer and a lovely backyard!

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