yard work

expanding the empire.  (the back yard is next.  followed by the world, of course.)  here are some before pictures of my yard from last summer (dirt) and this spring (grass).  which didn’t turn out to be any improvement.


so we moved on to this:


which is basically a lot stinking harder than it looks.  the fun part was digging up the sod i just planted and having to rototiller it back into dirt by hand.  so we could go over it again with a real rototiller.  so i could go over it again with a shovel.  and then a rake.  and then weed indefinitely for the rest of my life.  or so it seems.  it turns out when you water a previously, 3-year abandoned lot you get a lot more than you bargained for.


my mother had the brilliant idea to break up the sidewalk.  i told my brother to get right on that.  the pavers aren’t all laid yet though.  i want them to flair out more when they reach the driveway and mimic the curve of the grass.  the yard is basically three big circles, two of grass and then a raised, circular bed along the driveway.  we plan on xeriscaping it someday after we finish filling it with dirt.


and here’s the picture of my shadow as i came up the steps.  it took me a little off guard.  whoa nelly.


the bottom left picture is a pet peave of mine.  our yard positively vomited out into the street in a mess of weeds, rocks and dirt.  my mother, brother and i spent a day breaking through the packed dirt and gravel and hauling it off.  after we scraped it down level to the road we put in a temporary retaining wall of stakes and 2×6’s.  (i have high hopes for a sidewalk in 2011.)  all the rocks are what my husband picked out of the dirt as he dug his irrigation ditch.  (and he thinks i’m compulsive.)


all the plants in the yard are courtesy of my mom, mother-in-law and craigslist.  in other words we did the whole thing without spending hardly any money.  my mother filled her car to the brim with transplants and drove 7 hours to spend a day planting them in my yard in the rain.  then she bought me three fruit trees (pear, apple, cherry) and helped me haul a truckload day lilies we found for free out in kuna.  my mother-in-law visited too and brought me roses.  (i think that was because she knows her son can’t stand them.)


we turned the city right-away into our garden.  my husband irrigates it with canal water every friday and it stays perfectly happy, even in the heat.  we have lettuce, kale, raddishes, corn, potatoes, fennegreek, cilantro, peas, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, spinach, beets, onions, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, hubbard squash, strawberries, raspberries, parsley, mint, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, fennel, coriander, carrots, rhubarb, and sunflowers.  some of it’s spread around the house as well, but the garden itself is a pretty big stretch.  and no one steals from it either, which is what everyone was worried about when we planted it.  i think it’s great just because it doesn’t take up any of my yard.  we planted a whole row of corn along the street to give a more uniform view when people drive by, since gardens are by nature rather mangy.


i’m still working on my driveway.  it took forever just to stack the retaining wall.  my husband hauled home free concrete in the minivan so we didn’t have to buy keystones.  which he decried as ugly and suburban.  and then left me to stack lopsided chunks of concrete.  (he still thinks i’m a little ocd.  he thought it was fine before.)  but i insist that this is an improvement.  previously there was no driveway.  just this muddy, weedy, white trash pull-up you could fit 4 cars in.  it drove me crazy.  i still need to edge the other side of the driveway and then fill in with fresh gravel.  that and a fence.  i’m dying for a lattice fence in the front yard that i can pack with 3′ flower beds to insulate the house from the street noise.  i’m going to keep packing in perennials and i hope by the time we sell it will like walking into a walled garden.  that’s the look i’m going for.  and since we didn’t start with anything i went out of my way to get it started this year.  even if it meant abandoning my house, pet projects and blog for 4 months.  could you tell?  but now that it’s too hot for yard work it’s just right for scraping paint off my house.  i plan to have it shiny and new by this winter.  i promise.


2 Responses to “yard work”

  1. 1 mom July 16, 2009 at 11:44 am

    it is so nice to have before, during and after pictures. then you can really see the progress and with a new paint job your place will just sparkle. i love being a part of the process so when we come down again you can put us to work. love mom

  2. 2 miriam July 17, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Wow, you’ve done so much! We live in a townhouse now, but our first place was a yardless thing in Wisconsin. I remember thinking we’d just throw in some edging and a few flats of flowers and it would be done. Ha. Love the veggie garden especially- clever.

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