Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Yard of Yards

We have begun the daunting, but enjoyable, task of re-landscaping our front yard. Just over 12 months ago we purchased our home from a widow who was no longer to keep up with the day to day routine of taking care of a 3000+ sqft house as well as the yard.
Or what you could call a yard. K and I spent the first few months getting the interior in a satisfactory condition for three kids and one animal. With that completed (somewhat) it was time to tackle the front yard.

It was a mess.

My first task was to remove the yard of ivy. What we’ve gathered from numerous conversations with the neighbors is that the previous owner decided to let it go ‘natural’. I guess natural for her was to create a safe haven for rodents of no particular shape or size. She planted ivy throughout the yard, which had completely covered anything that resembled grass and was choking the life out of two of the trees. The ivy climbing the trees was as large around as a shipyard rope. Not wanting to destroy our lawnmower with ivy I decided the best approach was the oldest approach: by hand. Word to the wise – invest in a good pair of leather gloves; they’ll save your hands. I would yank out the ivy as deep as I could and then use a limb pruner to finish it off.
This took WEEKS to accomplish and was no easy task. All the stooping and pulling has had its toll on my lower back. It will never be the same. But the yard? Oh yes, we finally had a yard. I planted an fescue mix called “Tulsa II”, specifically for our area, and it was beautiful as you can tell from the photos, but it did not withstand our summer heat with the amount of sun it received. So it will be Bermuda grass this Spring.

You can also see from the photo that there was a ledge that tiered the yard into two separate areas. Only problem was the mortar was terribly sub-par and was crumbling all over. K and I decided it was to come down. So there was another weekend of hard labor and back pain but it was done. And the neighbors cheered as they walked by, “you guys are doing a terrific job! It’s looking so much better!” It doesn’t help that we have the neighborhood matriarch living next door, constantly asking, “What are you cleaning up next?”

I was not looking forward to leveling out the ledge that the brick wall left. I was looking at probably two weekends worth of work. But miraculously, our neighbor got a new “toy”, a tractor, with a box blade attachment and they volunteered to level out the yard. YES!! Two weeks ago they leveled it out and I planted some annual rye grass to make the dirt hill pretty and green.

Now can someone tell me how to make money doing this kind of work?

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