Monday, April 4, 2011

Taking Back Our Yard

My husband and I were reminiscing the other day and remembered it was this time last year when we DIY'd clearing our back yard and then installed a fence. It was March/April 2010 and we'd only moved in the September before (of '09) and were chomping at the bit all winter long for warmer weather so we could tackle the yard. At the first sign of Spring we started that undertaking, and since this lil old blog didn't exist back then, I'd like to show you now a little bit of what that process looked like.

So this week I'll take you on the adventure that took us over a month to complete. Let's begin a tour of our backyard, this time last year:

That's the left side of our yard. There was a rotting wood shed and a dilapidated wood fence that was on its last leg. This is a fence line we shared with the neighbors so when we installed the new fence they were good sports and shared the cost of that length of it.

Below is a close-up of that back left corner that was leaning and had become a leaf burial ground. Oh yeah, see those gnarly bushes there? Those are forsythia and we had a whoooooooole row of them that the previous owners must've installed as a 'natural' fence:

Let's zoom back out and take a look at that whole back row of forsythia:

Yowza! What's that in that back right corner, you ask? Well, let's zoom on right back in and check it out!

It's a gate! Yes, someone had actually installed a itself...without a our backyard. Ummmmm, what the.....(eye roll). I have no words. Well actually, I had several words for it when we tore it down :)

Zooming, back out, here's what the back right corner and right side of our yard looked like. More 'natural' fencing with a row of lilacs this time instead of forsythia.

You might be thinking, "Oh, nice - lilacs are great!" They are, but not when you're trying to prpare for the installation of a fence where one needs to dig 3-4 foot holes, 1-2 feet wide and these babies and their root systems are in the unfortunately they had to go. 

It ALL had to go.

So we began the awesomely rewarding slow and painful (I'm talking sore muscles for weeks people!) process of cutting down each forsythia and digging out the roots. In the photo below, we'd gotten this far when suddenly I exclaimed, "Honey, did you know we had a park behind our yard this whole time?! WOOOOHOOOO!"

Haha, j/k. Of course we knew there was a park there - it was one of the big reasons we bought the house, so our future kiddies can play there :) Here's a shot of the entire back row of forsythia bushes cut down:

And here's what it looked like after working a total of 2-3 weekends straight:

YAY! And the gate is gone. Wait, gate? what gate? We had a gate? :) 

See that white bucket? Full of rocks; like huge, honkin, throw-them-and-you'd-probably-kill-someone kind of rocks.

Now also in the above photo you may notice that the right side of that back line still has some roots stickin out of the ground, and the lilac row on the right was also still there even though you can't see it in that photo. Yup -that's where our poor, tired, screaming DIY muscles quit.

Lucky for us, around the same time, we also had a tree company at our house cutting down and grinding out the stump of a monstrous tree in our front yard that was ruining our sidewalk and threatening to crash into our house like a few others did up the block from us in a really bad thunderstorm (our whole street is lined on both sides with gargantuan trees. It's very pretty, but also pretty dangerous in inclement weather :/ ). When we asked the company, they obliged and included grinding out those forsythia stumps and the whole right side row of lilacs in their price for only $100 more. Well, we weren't really lucky to have to pay for that darn tree removal, but it was lucky that they were already there with all their heavy duty equipment and therefore didn't charge us what they normally would for a clearing job like that.

So their stump grinding machines saved us 2-3 more weekends of hand-digging and back-breaking labor. That was WELL worth 100 bucks to me! :)

That's it for today's installment of Opertaion Save a Yard. Tomorrow, I'll show you what we did with the left side of the yard and this sad, old fence and shed (Hint, it involved the back-end of a truck and a lot of "Tim the Tool Man Taylor" grunting).

Happy Monday and see you tomorrow!



  1. Wow - you guys are troopers!! Some things are just worth the money. And this is absoLUTELy one of them! ;-)

  2. Wow you have a bunch of projects ahead of you .....but it is so worth it in the end! Thanks you for stopping by my little blog The Polished Pebble!

    I will be back soon

    xo kelley

  3. Sarah - Amen Sister! :)

    Kelley - Thank YOU for stopping by my little old's an absolute honor!


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