Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A few things to do . . .

We recently purchased a new house with .4 acres in what I describe as a somewhat "jungly" condition. One of our neighbors mentioned that the previous owner rarely ever mowed.  We have our work cut out for us, but we are looking forward to making improvements. We've been living either in the desert or in an apartment for the last 7 years and haven't even owned a mower in that time, so this is a big change for us.

Here are some "before" photos of upcoming projects:

This is what I call  "the scary slope"  in front of the house. It's got various types of trees, a lot of crown vetch, an assortment of weeds, some junipers and who knows what else is hidden in there? The neighborhood cats enjoy stalking prey here and I'm scared to know what exactly lives in the mess a few yards from my front door. This photo was taken after my husband went after it with a machete. It was spilling out over the concrete making the sidewalk impassable.
This is the official garden area. This is after I spent an hour or more digging out buried tomato cages and pruning back some blackberry canes.  It's still a tangled mess that needs many more hours of work.  I plan to make a compost bin in one corner and a small salad/herb garden and flower cutting garden in the rest--nothing too ambitious.
I call this one the "hidden spruce."  Our yard slopes up in back so that this beautiful blue spruce could be seen from the back of the house nearly at eye level if the scrub oak wasn't in the way. It will be trimmed back a little. My husband already trimmed back some of the small branches.

And this is the front door with a patch of eroding dirt between the sidewalk and the garage and a patch of weeds on the other side. I'm thinking that a smallish conical tree with blue-green foliage on either side would be nice to set off the entrance. I also want to improve the curb appeal by sinking flagstones into the sod in front of the picture window to make a patio seating area to take advantage of the splendid mountain views from there.
The view.  No need to improve that.


  1. Well, looks like you will be busy, but a GOOD busy :o) I am looking forward to seeing the transformation.
    And you are right about that view-no need for improvement there!

  2. I am one of these nuts that loves overgrowth - however-that beautiful Spruce deserves to see the light of day! :o)

    Happy pruning!


  3. A diamond in the rough. :) I can't wait to watch your progress. OH! the view is gorgeous!! I think I would just sit and stare. There are no mountains in Illinois.

  4. What hard work but what fun! I love to see before and after shots. Beautiful view...great idea about the little patio area under the picture window.

  5. Sue, it looks like a wonderful challenge. I know it'll be wonderful when you've tamed it. The little "weedy" tree in the front is a sycamore and in Fall they get the most beautiful crimson. I think the flowering bush that's in the mountain view pic is a "rose of sharon". What kind of soil do you have? Does it need amending? Compost is wonderful for this. If it's "clayey", sand helps too, to make it more porous.
    Anyway, go to it!

  6. Rita, it's definitely a rose of sharon--I have a whole hedge of them blooming right now. I thought the sycamore was a sumac (if we are talking about the same one), but I don't know my trees. The dirt around the foundation is rock hard-I think they dug down to clay digging the basement. The rest of the yard is better. It definitely needs a lot of compost.

  7. I too am looking forward to watching the progress!
    Sue, (MySavior), I had to laugh at your comment!
    I usually like the look of natural plant growth also. Trimmed at times but lush.

  8. GOOD LUCK!! Always remember what the outcome will be while you are doing that back-breaking work!!