It's a Doozy

We've never purchased or owned a perfectly complete home. And this house is no exception. There's always another project looming, a to-do list. With this house, our next project is a serious doozy. 

Summer 2013

The back yard. 
Behold the ugly truth …

Summer 2013

We purchased a home with an overgrown, neglected, disaster of a backyard. The privacy it provided seemed like a plus, when it was all green and lush, but come winter a different story started to present itself. Weeds, mostly. Lots of overgrowth. Not much in the evergreen department. It's not pretty. 

Fall 2013

We did take care of a few obvious issues, like trees overhanging and touching the house, with a tree service this past summer. You can read more about that here. And, John spent several grueling weekends removing a lot of overgrowth from the very back corner of the yard. In return he was treated to a serious case of poison ivy.
Needless to say, our work here is done. 
It's time to come up with a plan and call in the professionals. 

Winter 2014

Here's the plan:
1. rip out everything from the mature (past their prime) azaleas, to the monkey grass to all the other shrubs and roots.
Just like in Chicago, we've decided that less is more. Working with old, overgrown and yukky plants is a lot harder than starting from scratch. This yard is getting a clean slate.
2. regrade the entire yard.
After living here for almost 6 months, watching the water render the grassy area a muddy cesspool - we've decided to face the problem head on. 
3. install stairs connecting the "deck to nowhere" to the yard. 
What a novel concept. An outdoor space that allows you to access your yard! It's a must. And quite frankly, we have no idea why the deck didn't have stairs to begin with…
4. address the awning situation.
Basically, the awning is old. Really old. The seams have all ripped, there are several holes and it's not waterproof. About all its good for is a bit of shade. There is a lot to think about here and unfortunately, none of the options are inexpensive.
5. layout/seating.
The deck is long and narrow, which makes for awkward seating arrangements. It doesn't help that we are utilizing furniture from our old Chicago screened-in porch and patio. One option would be to add additional space in the form of a patio at ground level. Or just rework the layout/seating on the existing deck. 

Winter 2014

On the other side of the backyard is this existing raised bed that currently holds a fig tree and other miscellaneous plants. We plan to transform this into our kitchen garden. Our whole family loved our raised bed gardens in Chicago (you can read more about the boxes, here and the finished garden, here) so why not try our hand at it again, this time on a bigger scale. 

Here's the plan for the kitchen garden:
1. replace rotting railroad ties with something more aesthetically pleasing - like stone.
2. create beds within the overall space, separated by gravel pathways for easy access.
3. upgrade the soil. This seems pretty self explanatory. Gardening requires good quality soil, of which there isn't much at the moment.
4. grow some stuff

Nothing is set in stone, and I am sure there will be changes as we go, but we are excited to get this whole project underway. We'll be sharing inspiration, sources and play-by- plays whenever possible. It feels strange to hire in for this sort of thing, we are so used to doing it all ourselves. I know we will all be missing images of John toiling away. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll be able to snag one or two for you. I wouldn't want to deprive you, after all.

until next time,