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  • September 22nd, 2008 | 7:18 PM
The yard in progress

I'm way behind on posting the variety of things we've done around the yard but as we are coming up on the end of the hardscaping, here are a few pictures.

First thing we did was the sideyard. This goes from the front courtyard to the backyard. When we bought the house a year and a half ago it looked like this. (For the record - that's the junk from the previous owners, not us.)


When we moved in - a clean sideyard, standing in the backyard looking toward the courtyard.

After the cement was removed.

Planted with redtwig dogwoods and yerba buena. I've still got to get in there and replace the decomposed granite in-between the stones that I can't stand to look at anymore. I'll put in some soil and a lot more yerba buena. The dogwoods should grow up and over each other and give a nice archway. Once I have shade I can fill it in with more shade plants.

The house before we did anything. Okay, we did remove the fountain that you can see to the side of the garage. It had cherubs. Not quite our style.

A closer look at the front with the old fence and the Mayten tree that kept dropping giant branches in each storm. Note the large quantities of stone/concrete/non-peremable surfaces.

After the new paver driveway and paver courtyard.
Minus the Mayten tree and with a new fence. I LOVE the gate. Next up here is to finish digging the creek which will capture the water from the downspouts which has been piped out to it. Plus rearrange the mound so it looks natural and not like a burial mound. Not as easy as it sounds.

A corner of the backyard. More aggregate, a path that goes nowhere. Thirsty grass. Boring. Plants that have no wildlife value.

The sliding doors are to my office.

The path is gone. The grass was the next to go.

This weekend my husband finished laying the stone patio. Now I have to plant in-between everything.

Whew! Just looking at all this pictures again has me exhausted! Next weekend it's shopping for boulders! Plus there's a little matter of a light that comes up in the yard that we can't figure out how to turn on. No switches in the house work it. No timer in the garage. No idea. And we're not handy enough to figure one out on our own. Time to go looking for an electrician.

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 17 comments — Leave comment )
September 23rd, 2008 05:17 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting, I enjoyed looking at your pictures. They are inspiring!
September 23rd, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
September 23rd, 2008 10:26 am (UTC)
the house that Susan built!
September 23rd, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
Re: nice!
Love that image! Thanks.
(Deleted comment)
September 23rd, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I am so sick of hardscaping and want to plants in the ground soon! Too much dirt. Not enough green.
September 23rd, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)
Making good progress there. Thanks for keeping us posted.
September 23rd, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for following along.
September 23rd, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
I love all the work you've done! I really like those little stone paths you've built!
September 23rd, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
September 23rd, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
I do love to look at the before and after shots.

I don't know about brave. I think silly is more like it. How we ended up removing both lawns and getting a puppy just before the rainy season and when I am about to be out of a job? Yikes! It is down to crunch time.

As for visonary, I dunno. I've waited 15 years to own a home again, to have my own dirt. I've looked at so many pictures of what I love and don't love about a yard. I've fallen in love with native plants. So like a story, it has all been simmering for some time.

I've made mistakes already and I know I'll make more. The dirt shaping is hard. The rain garden in the backyard has the potential to be so ugly I'll have to bury it under a giant pile of dirt.

And I am limited by what my body can do which isn't much at all and so I wait, impatiently, for the weekends when my husband can strongarm things for me.

But I am hopeful.
September 23rd, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
You're making incredible progress! It's going to be gorgeous.

I have no patience for landscaping. I need tens of thousands of dollars so I can hire someone to do it for me--fix it up, then maintain it. I am not happy working outside.

I am happy BEING outside, just not working outside.

So I'm doubly impressed.
September 23rd, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'll settle for natural and restful and a nice place to sit outside and write.

I used to think I wanted to have enough money to pay someone to do it all. Then I paid someone to do the path on the sideyard and discovered that I really have control issues with that sort of thing.

I'm not good at working outside. My body is broken so I'm slow and I'm not strong and I end up doing everything twice, but I do like seeing it come together.

Man I need plants in the ground soon though because the lack of them, all this dirt, is making me crazy.
September 23rd, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
Looking at the pictures makes me exhausted as well! Now I wish I'd taken before-during-after pictures of our interior remodeling projects! Well they are still in the during stage, maybe I can still start. :)

When I moved in this house five years ago, there was no lawn (the builders scraped off the lovely tobacco-farm black top soil and left just the NC white clay). There were a few junipers on one side of the porch, and two rosemary bushes on the other side. Between my husband and I we built retaining walls on both sides of the porch, planted creeping phlox, mums, more juniper, hyacinth, gladiolas, elephant ears, etc. That process I might have pix of. I should post 'em. Except his first wife, that insisted on building this house and soon left him and moved out of, reads my journal... maybe that is even more reason to post them! [/snark]
September 23rd, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
LOL on the snarky thoughts!

How sad to have lost all that lovely topsoil but it sounds like you have done some beautiful work yourself. I love seeing yard transformation pictures.
September 23rd, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
Susan, that is such a pretty yard! Good work.
September 23rd, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Barb! It's not very big but we're trying to make comfy for us and the creatures that pass by.
September 24th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
WOW! That's a lot of change. Well done!
( 17 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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