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Quick Backyard Update

Wow, Autumn has just flown by! I can't believe our twins will be ONE YEAR OLD in less than a week! There have been some pretty exciting things going on around here that I plan to share with you all over the next month or so. Hopefully I can play catch up and get everyone up to date with the changes that have been happening around our cottage.

Taken the day before all the beds were dug up.
Very pretty, but very high maintenance. 

This update is about our backyard. I don't think I've mentioned it much here, because, honestly, it wasn't anywhere near the top of my punchlist until mid September. One Friday I walked outside and was just completely overwhelmed with the state of the yard. I knew when we bought the house that I wanted to pull up the majority of the beds and lay some grass down. See, the former owners of this house were retired and GREAT gardeners (so it seems to me after seeing their work back there!). But I have neither the time nor the knowledge to keep up with everything they had done. Not to mention that our grass was literally a 4 foot by 2 foot patch. That, my friends, is not enough grass for two little girls to have picnics and play times!

another angle of  before
Back to September. With this overwhelmed feeling, I realized that next spring and summer, our girls will definitely be at an age where toddling around in the grass will be an amazing way to spend a morning. Honestly, I kind of panicked.  So I borrowed a page from the Young House Love book and made a post on craigslist-- You dig it up, you can HAVE it. I figured it was free labor for us in exchange for some plants that I had no intentions of transplanting somewhere else in the already full yard. We had a couple and then a young man, Kenny, come by. It took them two hours,but they removed about 40 hostas, countless ferns, bushes, grasses, stones and bricks. The next weekend, my parents visited and my dad helped us dig out a forsythia, 2 boxwoods, and what felt like miles of winter creeper vine. Our yard went from the overgrown mess that you saw above to this:

where the beds used to be!! This is after the initial craigslist posting

Big transformation, right? But there were still those huge evergreen bushes and a spindly pine tree that constantly made me nervous as it leaned against our power lines. So, we hired the aforementioned Kenny to come in and clean it up back there. He (and his dad, it turns out) came out last Sunday and chainsawed all the monster bushes down. They also added a little top soil, feathered it out and put down a ton of grass seed. Now our backyard looks like this:

no more monster evergreens or shaggy pine tree!
Yes, that fence is unsafe and pretty awful looking. We knew it would need to be replaced, but now that we've taken down the bushes hiding the worst of it, it's looking as though we will need to replace is next spring--before we have babies playing out there. Next spring we'll also add a butterfly garden alongside the garage, some honeysuckle, hydrangea, and other shade-loving flowering plants along the back fence, possibly a weeping tree of some variety, and, if I'm feeling REALLY brave, a tiny piece of a vegetable garden with a rosemary bush. We use a lot of rosemary around here; I think a bush is completely necessary.  And maybe I'll try to refinish some of our existing outdoor furniture to make a nice place for some barbequeing with friends next year!

So there you are. We've started a new project that only adds more bullets on our to do list! But I am so very excited to watch our little shoots of grass pop up and then to see our little girls playing in it next year!

How about you? Have you done any fall landscaping this month? What are your plans for the spring? Do you know of some pretty bushes that love shade and attract butterflies?


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog and seeing what your family is up to at the moment. I think the backyard is shaping up well and with a new fence and flowers, it will be perfect.

We are actually getting a good many things accomplished in our backyard as well. We have torn our wooden catwalk to a pool down and reaplaced it with a brick pathway. Also the wooden steps are gown and have been replaced by new steps. We have all the polls set for fencing in our entire backyard (all 330 feet of it). This Saturday I will be excited to say the project should be complete. I have to say again that we have the best family and friends. This truly could not have done so quickly without them. I'll have to send you a picture when completed. Love, Brook

Katelyn said...

I think you are so brave to tackle an outdoor project so big! I have a completely black thumb- I even killed an indoor basil plant in just a few months. As much as I love looking at beautiful gardens, I know my only hope of having one is a husband who loves gardening or hired help! I always just skim over the garden pages in Southern Living or BHG because all of that is so foreign to me! Can't wait to see how everything turns out.

Jamie said...

What a great backyard space!

Tara said...

Katelyn, I am fairly black thumbed myself! I'm hoping that with them being outdoors it will help a little? Plus, I need to get better!! I need plants in my house, real ones, not fake, and I need them to live!

Jamie, thanks! We're excited about the possibilities!

Tara said...

Brook, I can't wait to see pictures (or better yet, in person)of your backyard work! I'm sure it looks great.

And yes, our family is awesome!

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