Sunday, April 3, 2011

Back Yard Project 2011

A few weeks ago, we made the decision to take our deck that was close to 25 years old down.  It had become more and more work to maintain and really was no longer attractive.  A call was made to our handyman neighbor and with the help of Foo and Fish, the deck was dismantled.

You can see the condition of the deck in these pictures as well as the overgrown status of much of our yard plants.

The dead vines are made up of trumpet vine and passion flower vine.  They did an amazing job attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.  As soon as the deck was out, however, I pulled down all of the overgrowth and dead plants.  I am not sure how much will return this year.

When pulling up the deck, we discovered a very large infestation of carpenter ants.  The deck's integrity was severely compromised and we did not regret our decision to remove it.

What remained in the yard after the deck was gone was a nice plot of dirt.  The kids dug up the cemented in posts, no small job.  KC and Hannah (our dogs) were besides themselves.  They didn't quite know what to make of the situation.

The next few weeks we worked on pulling up plants, transplanting bushes such as azaleas, roses, gardenias, monkey grass, and more.  We got rid of all the overgrowth and thinned out the yard nicely.  We had hoped to put in a natural stone patio, but after pricing it out, we decided our best choice would be to put in grass and a vegetable garden, something I've always wanted to do, but never had a space with adequate sunlight to be successful.  Since the deck was now gone, we had plenty of room and plenty of sunshine.

We also worked on the front yard as we planned to get everything done at the same time.  The next several weekends were spent preparing both the front and backyards for mulch, dirt, gardens, and grass.

I really had not given the vegetable garden much thought past the idea of having a raised bed.  I sent a quick email out to Welshrunner inquiring about his recent experience into the realm of suburban farming.

He sent a few suggestions and then reminded me that he had been following many of the concepts of Square Foot Gardening.  I took his advice and proceeded to spend the rest of the day well into the wee hours of the next day reading everything I could online about the process.  I was hooked on the idea and decided to make my plan to follow much of the same ideas.

Thursday and Friday were exciting as the grass, dirt, and mulch were delivered.  Foo started putting the mulch out and when Mark got home, he started as well.

Saturday morning, I headed to Lowes for the remainder of our supplies.  The rest of the day consisted of good, old-fashioned hard work.  All of the children helped and by the end of the day, they all appreciated their new backyard.

Here are a few glimpses of the day in progress.

Some of the supplies.

 By the time I returned, the team had removed all of the overgrown bushes from the front of this window and transplanted many of them to other areas in the front yard.  This was great because we lost several plants this winter.
They had also laid most of the sod leaving an area for the vegetable beds. 
To see grass outside of my kitchen window warms my soul.

KC and Hannah enjoying the new dog beds, while Lem plants some of the veggies.

Mr. Mellow Yellow posing for his herbs.

Fish and Boo have 3' X 3' boxes.

Better view of the 3 X 3 box.  We made them deeper to accommodate potatoes at some point.

Foo and Lem have 4' X 4" boxes. 

Hannah is in Heaven.
KC is just looking for trouble.  

Our new Mary Garden with plenty of room for hummingbirds, song birds, and butterflies!

A view of how all the beds look against the back of the house.  St. Francis is watching over us.

I will hopefully post pictures as the gardens progress.  I can't put into words how satisfying it is to see the family all work together to get the yard in order.  Growing our own produce will be a great experience as well.  Looking forward to our home grown bounties!


  1. What an awesome project! We have been working in our yard, but your progress makes ours look pretty sad! :-) Can't wait to see the progress!

  2. I've been square-foot gardening for almost 20 years's THE BEST! It really helps me to organize my thoughts and planting and spacing.

    Don't forget to save your kitchen scraps to dig in to your raised beds. Leave 1 square unplanted in each row...dig out the dirt, fill the bottom half or 2/3rds of the hole with kitchen scraps, fill the top bit with dirt, then plant. Then start on another square. You can use some kind of cute plant marker or garden decor to help you keep track of which square most recently had scraps buried in it = )

    It doesn't keep you from planting, it helps you compost in small amounts rather than a large pile that has to be turned and tended to, and it causes you to succession plant without even trying!

  3. Hi Pony! We have got to talk! I'm afraid I've made a huge mess of this. I am so confused I don't even know where to start with questions... me at kfelicidario at gmail dot com


  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog via the SFG Forum! I enjoyed seeing your garden go in!

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