Friday, November 11, 2011

The Yard – Vol 1 Issue 2

I know you’ve been itching to see what the yard actually looks like now. I should have taken pictures all summer, but the yard wasn’t actually that great, so I’m kind of glad I didn’t – but it would have been fun to see how much it has improved.

Well, here it is – the yard after one year of residency in a previously vacated home (our house had been vacant and untended for almost a year before we bought it).



The Front Yard (I will try to do more detailed pictures next time)

Current condition: you can see the beds are weed-free (mostly), there is a hibiscus tree in the far left bed, as well as a Spring Deutzia which is hard to see against the black fence, but will really pop next spring with its white flowers. There are crocuses, tulips, irises, gardenia, asiatic lilies, and daffodils in all the beds (except the bed in the far back corner). The lawn is greening up in most places, the sprinkler system is functional, and the tree in the middle of the yard (a Tulip Tree) has been pruned and, as far as we can tell, is pretty healthy. The circle beds on the sidewalk that used to hold those dying evergreen trees now have white Rose of Sharon bushes. There are also three azaela bushes under the big bay window in the front. Two seemed to have a hard time after I planted them, but I think they weren’t getting enough water because a sprinkler head had broken.

Goals for next year: In the spring we will overseed the lawn, fertilize all the trees and shrubs, and plant some berry bushes (blueberry, raspberry, and strawberries). We also plan on planting some rose bushes close to the house. There is a stump that needs to be removed from the flower bed near the driveway, and we would like to replace it with a tree. We also want to put some more shrubbery in all of the beds – plants that will provide some volume and color even in the winter (it looks dead – but I promise there are lots of bulbs that will be coming up!). I will also be planting some calla lilies in the spring. I will also start pruning the Rose of Sharon in the circular beds to form trees. I’m hoping I can get them to grow a main branch instead of looking bush-like. My mother said it was possible, now I just have to figure out how to do it. And I read today that young plants need winter protection, so now I have to figure out what to use to cover my little baby Sharons.




The Back Yard

Due to the layout of our back yard, it’s hard to get the whole thing in one or two shots. I did my best with a panorama shot (above) and then I have a few more shots of the rest of the yard.

Current condition: As you can see, we have some work to do in the back. There are dirt patches on the side yard (show in the large panorama above) from where we removed curbing this summer. We have a dog and children, so a backyard’s purpose for us is for little children and animals to run around and frolic – I don’t want to have to worry about them trampling my flowers. So flowers are in the front, play-yard is in the back. We originally laid rocks from the removal of the pond under the deck, and then we discovered there are sprinklers under the deck… But under the deck is mostly dirt and the dog’s “poo” area – we trained him to do his business in a specific spot so he doesn’t ruin our lawn. In the smaller picture on the left, you can see where the pond once existed, it’s now a big dirt area, and a vegetable garden (which did pretty well this summer, in spite of being planted horribly late in the season). There is also a little grass over there, where we laid a few pieces of sod we got from a neighbor. The back “corridor” as we call it has some issues from a missing rain gutter, so there is a bit of a ditch, and the entire yard is really patchy and uneven.

Goals for next year: Overseed the entire backyard, and seed (or sod) all bare patches (including under the deck, which will require some serious rock removal. Ouch). We will also be routinely dumping compost all over the yard in the holes to help level out the yard and improve the quality of the soil. I also want to do some potted plants on the big red deck you can see the stilts of in the pictures. In the top big picture in the lower left hand corner, under the deck stairs we will hopefully be adding a rain barrel to catch all the rain runoff from our roof. The area by the pond will be leveled, top soil added, and sod laid. We will probably lay sod under the deck, since it is extreme shade (because our house is south facing, the area under the deck actually gets quite a bit of sunlight – at least 4-5 hours every day during the growing months).



The Vegetable Garden

Current condition: Right now the vegetable garden is more of a compost pile, since it isn’t the growing season. I also didn’t really plant any fall veggies. There are three sprinklers that are on our automatic sprinkler system and give our garden water during the growing season. Unfortunately they are on the same zone as the dirt patch, so the dirt patch got a lot of water this summer.

Goals for next year: plan and harvest more plants. I want to put compost from the dump all over the top of the garden for the winter to help keep in the moisture and improve the soil quality. I also want to get more manure from our neighbors (see that roof on the other side of our fence? A stable in which five horses live!) to add to the compost for the winter. We also want to get the vegetable garden sprinklers on their own zone so we’re not watering the rest of the yard every morning when we water the vegetables. I am going to document the growth and harvest of our plants on this blog next year, as well.


So there it is, our improved and updated yard. I plan on taking pictures each week of our yard. It shouldn’t change much during the winter (other than sometimes be snowy, sometimes not) but I figure if I can get into the habit in the winter, then it will be really easy to do in the Spring/summer when it really matter. And I would love to be able to watch my garden grow through pictures.

And if I think of anything else I want to do to the garden, I can list those things on the blog!

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