Monday, May 4, 2009


Project Play Yard is slowly coming together. Between the week-of-constant-rain and the ever-present toddler, we've been taking baby steps in this massive project.

So today, I will remind myself about all the outdoor projects we HAVE completed, even though they all seemed massive and insurmountable at the time.

This is our house in 2006 (I think) before we started our projects but AFTER we had the trees removed. Our house was built on a previously-wooded lot, and the builder had left several mature trees on the lot. We had eleven of them removed, including a gumball tree that used to stand in front of the far-right side window there. Note to builders everywhere: I don't care how pretty they look on the lot. Do NOT leave gumball trees standing when you build. Their droppings (hard, nasty gumballs) are a bane to lawnmowers everywhere.

Lest you think we hate trees, please know that we still have five mature trees standing, including three beautiful dogwoods in the front of the house. I'll have to get a picture with those when it stops raining.

The back of our house looked roughly like this.

In April of 2006, we got all ambitious and decided to put in some landscaping. We did the job ourselves, with the help of my parents and sister. First, we rented a sod cutter and cut out about 700 square feet of wet, soppy sod (it was April, after all). Then we went around the area with that black, plastic edging (which we had to trench in with shovels). That was about all we accomplished in one day, but it was a lot. You can't see it here, but the landscaped area extends around the side of the house and all the way to the back patio. Later, we added the mulch and rock edging (HEAVY rocks).

This is the view from the back yard, taken today. This is how the side looks now after it has evolved through various plantings, splittings, etc.

We also cut out the sod right next to the house in back, and added a rock border and stones instead of mulch. The bricked circle here was added in 2007. There used to be a really big tree here, which was unhealthy and was a threat to our house if it ever decided to get REALLY windy or stormy. So we removed it in 2007 and put this little bed in its place.

Also in 2007, we landscaped on the left side of the driveway and completed the loop around the left side of the house to join up with the back. I don't have a good picture already loaded, so this is all you get.
So to recap...we had eleven trees removed (mostly dead or unhealthy trees, plus two gumball nuisances). I think we did this in 2005. In 2006, we added landscaping to the front, North side and back of the house. In 2007, we added the left side of the driveway and South side of the house, removed the big dangerous tree and added the brick bed in back.

In 2008, we had a baby in the house, so all we managed to do was put new mulch on everything.

Which brings us to 2009, the Year of the Play Yard. And here's the progress we did on day 3, AKA the Day of the Soppy Wet Mess.

We completed the frame of the yard. We also put in my corner flower boxes, which will be filled with dirt and day soon as I get a chance to get dirt and remove the grass.

Here are my other two corner flower boxes.
And here is a view of the whole frame, as seen from our back patio. The tree standing in the way is the only remaining back yard tree. It's healthy and pretty, and even though it sheds a billion of those maple whirlybirds every year, we plan to keep it.

And yes, our yard is relatively big. The play yard occupies most of one quadrant of the back yard. My husband jokes that we are whittling away at the yard bit-by-bit so we have less mowing to do.

It is taking longer than I expected to make real progress on this project, but I have to remind myself that each project has taken time, and having a child underfoot is going to slow progress a little. I'm trying to take it in steps. The part involving dangerous tools (like electric saws and drills) is over. The next step involves removing grass from the garden boxes and killing the grass everywhere else. Then comes dirt and planting in garden boxes, weed blanket and sand in the sandbox under the tower, and weed blanket and pea gravel everywhere else. I see lots of weekends spent running back and forth to the rock yard in our future.


Lizzie said...

So PRETTY! Love the landscaping you've done.

Jen said...

Wow, you've really done a lot! I am impressed!