In October of 2007 – the month we moved in to our sweet little house - this is what our front yard looked like!!
OMG!! The cedar hedges that encased half of our yard were massive (about 15’) and ugly!! And they were thick, too – probably about 8’ thick. YUCK!! The poor sun couldn’t reach our front yard long enough in the course of a day for grass to grow, and flowers didn’t stand a chance. We had moss. Lots of moss! Moss liked our yard. We didn’t!!
As soon as we could, we had the front hedges removed. Let there be light!! Would you look at that… there’s my cute little house!!
Our next challenge was how to replace the stairs AND shore up the steep slope. Our biggest concern was the mega-tree. You can see what the roots did to the original steps; they’re completely tilted! If we built our retaining walls around that tree, we’d be sure to have it ruined by the roots too. Before committing to the idea of removing the tree, we called in an aborist who confirmed that this huge thrice-conjoined cedar tree riddled with ivy was, in fact, not in good shape.
So… down it came last spring 2009!!
Then we had a bobcat guy come in and remove the stairs, sidewalk and stump (above).
After that, he excavated the front of our little hillside and hauled away a good truckload of earth.
The photo to the right shows Brian measuring out the position of the first of 2 retaining walls that we (yep – US!) would build.
Here’s my handsome and handy Brian setting the first blocks…
This was hard and back-aching work… I’ve never worked so hard!! Simon kept a close eye on our activities… and of course our supervisor, Scotty, was always near by!!
Here are a couple photos of our first wall…
Next we had to dig back into the hillside so that we could create a base for the second wall – placed 6’ behind this wall. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of us building the second wall :-(
But I do have a few photos of Brian laying the bricks for our lovely walkway!! Have I mentioned that he’s cute?!
Last fall ~ for my birthday, in fact ~ Brian and I purchased and planted a new tree to replace the mega-cedar. Of course this lovely little Japanese maple won’t get nearly as large!! But she sure is pretty… and Simon (passed away this last Christmas) certainly liked her, so that makes her even more special to me!!
The ground that was left behind after all our excavation was pretty crummy. We knew that before we could plant a lawn, we’d need a good turf soil. Problem!! With our terraces, it was going to be more back-breaking work to haul up the 15 yards of soil that we’d need! So… about a week ago we had it blown in. How cool is that?!!
We were ready for grass!
The aborist/landscaper/nursery owner friend I’m consulting on the plant & grasses we’ll bring into the beds and yard recommended a hyrdoseed lawn. Fred from Grassmaster was here just the other day to blow on our new lawn. Haha!!
More weird but cool stuff!!
Fred tells us that in about a month’s time we’ll be mowing our lawn :-)
Now we just have to start purchasing and planting some lovely shrubs, grasses, flowers… you know… pretty stuff in the terraces!!
In fact, just a few hours ago we planted our first plant – a rhododendron that will bloom white flowers!
Above – Scotty making sure that the hole we’d dug was deep enough, and that we’d put in enough fertilizer! He’s a task master, that supervisor of ours!!
And here are some photos of our almost finished yard!
In this photo (below) you can see the wonderful pathway that Brian built – I told him where I wanted it and I helped in a few small ways, but he did all the work. I sure like him a lot!! You can also see one of our planting terraces to the right. This planter sits just below the house and I plan on planting some low shrubs and definitely some kind of flowering plant that will climb up one or two of my front deck’s posts!! We’ll also plant some other low shrubs of some kind at the base of each of our mushroom path lights (also installed by Brian – man he’s great!).
A close up of the stairs – first the lower set, then the upper wall’s stairs.
Of course you HAVE to see the lower planting terraces. They’ll look so fantastic once we have lovely plants, flowers and grasses in these beds!!
There’s a story about the horrible tree trunks you see above… that’s what’s left on our side of the yard of that yucky cedar hedge. Unfortunately these trees live on our neighbours yard and he refused to remove them. His side is lush and green (he faces the south sun) but our side of the hedge, which faces north (our house faces east) was brown and ghastly. After consulting with our aborist/landscaper/nursery owner friend, we cut off all the branches that were encroaching about 3 feet on to our property. Our next project will be building a 6’ tall fence along this side of the yard. We’ll have a garden below, planted with rainforest type plants that should do well in a shady setting. I think it’ll look terrific!!
And now… a reminder of the steps we’ve taken to this moment…
All leading to how FANTASTIC our house and yard look now!
I’ll be sure to share progress photos as we finish other elements of the yard (our fence, our garden plantings… stuff like that).
We’re so happy!!
I’m sharing this transformation with the readers at Susan’s blog Between Naps on the Porch. Head back to BNOP for more great metamorphoses!