Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Backyard in Stages

Every morning, I open my blinds to the backyard to let in all of the glorious morning light we get, only to be greeted by a variation of this:


Not a pretty picture by any means. And actually this is a pretty inaccurate photo of what I see right now, given that some extra bushwacking and rough grading has been done and we've added a shed and a fire pit to that concrete patio.

This is what it looks like now. Except not in the morning.

 I am a bad, bad blogger. I haven't been able to find my camera (holla back point & shoot!) since we moved in, and I'm trying to remember to snap photos as I can from my iPhone. I'm getting better, but the yard was actually cleared a few weeks ago, so I'm trying to find any photos I can of the process.

At any rate, this is what it looked like before (MLS photo, because I'm terrible):

Lots of trees. Lots of PINE trees. Very unstable, very thin, very apt to sway from top to bottom with even the slightest breeze. And as I mentioned before, making a safe, fenced in backyard for Peyton to play in is a big priority for us, so we put clearing those pines very high on our to-do list. And so they came down the week after we moved in.

We paid a local contractor to come and cut down the trees, grind the stumps, and haul everything away, but the ground was left with shallow pine tree root remnants that I thought I could tackle myself by hacking out of the ground with an axe I found in our garage.

All the best intentions
After an hour of huffing and puffing and trying to get as much down during naptime as possible, this is what I had:

You guys. That was HARD. And there was a lot more. So I did some research and the general consensus is that, left in the ground, they will rot over time in the soil. I'm just going to have to keep an eye out for any new weird growth, I guess.

At any rate, the next step is grass. Beautiful, lush grass. But because sod isn't necessarily in the budget, seed it is for this yard. I would LOVE sod (Instant yard! Beautiful "just cut" lines!), but because we are penny pinchers and looking to do as much ourselves as possible, we're just going to buy seed and spread it ourselves, water the crap out of it, and hope for the best.

And because our soil is so sandy, this showed up on Friday:

That's getting spread tomorrow. We'll probably need more dirt. You guys, why is DIRT so expensive? Geez.

Hopefully we'll be able to seed by the end of the month (then pray the rest of the summer isn't scorching hot/provides ample rain) and soon we'll have a happy little grassy spot for the tiny child to play. After grass, we're going to get a vinyl fence installed (by yours truly) by the end of the year and we'll be golden!

Here's the rough plan, via a painstakingly detailed MS Paint sketch:

Once we put the fence in, the 5 year plan is to add a pool and then we will never ever have to leave our house. So exciting!

In the meantime, however, this is how I'm feeling about our dirt patch:

I just want some grass, man!

PS: I don't want anyone to think that we hate trees and are anti-environment. It's actually the opposite. However, I am not particularly all that partial to pine trees, and our daughter's safety in the backyard trumps the pine trees. If it helps, we are planning to start composting, planting some nice dogwoods in the backyard away from the house, and buying/building our own rain barrel to make up for the great tree massacre of 2013.


  1. OMG I so feel your pain! Another question about dirt, why is it so dang heavy???!! I had a million and one tree roots left too, but I used a small chain saw to help get them out. I think I broke it getting all those roots out! Good luck with the rest if your will be SO worth it! :)

    1. Oh girl I know! I wish I had a chain saw, that would have made life so much easier. I finally got the hubster to finish it for me with the axe :) Thanks for the encouragement, your backyard makeover is going to keep me motivated!


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