(This post is about the outside of our house and that’s how Jackson says “outside.” He LOVES going aaaa-sieede?!!?! and gets a really high pitched voice when he asks to go play. Love it.)
I’ve been home with a sick little Olivia the past two days and am starting to get a little cabin fever. We tried going in to work for a bit but she wasn’t terribly thrilled so we left. She fell asleep on the way home so I stuck her carseat in the stroller and went for a walk. We have this great trail behind our house that’s a .5 mile loop, so I can go out and get my 3 miles in without ever being very far from home (in case anyone decides to lose their Shiz)! It also branches out and goes through a pretty wooded area, over a bridge (!), and in between the high school football and baseball fields. I love running there and imagining my kids one day playing on those fields! But not too soon… Anyway- today we just did the loop a few times in case Livie decided she wasn’t having it and so I passed by the back of my house several times. I’ve mentioned here that we are working on deck stairs, but the backyard needs SO much more than that. The front yard needs a little love even more. Last fall Seth and I set aside a chunk of change to take care of it all this spring, but then we found out we were having twins, so we decided to stick that money away for all the extra baby things we’d need (a double stroller, another crib, another car seat, double booze for mommy and daddy, etc) and put the yard on the back burner again. Another reason it’s still on the to-do list is we don’t know what to do with it all!
The back yard is mostly a hill, so we don’t have a lot of flat space to work with. Here’s a pic taken from the path at the edge of the yard:
The immediate plan is to make that room under the deck (on the right side) an outdoor kitchen area with all the grills (yes, we have enough grills to warrant a statement like “all the grills”). Some day I’d like to run a water line in there and add a bar and a TV too. Although it still looks rough, it’s vastly improved after tearing out the Victorian style doors that screened it in! We’re also going to tear out those trees and extend the garden to the entire space there. During the last big storm we had our willow tree was beaten up pretty badly so we cut it down. Right now there’s just a big stump, but we’re planning on turning that into the fire pit. We want to pave a walkway from the current cement area out to the future fire pit and then line it all, garden included, with the same pavers to bring it together. I also want to plant some trees since we have no shade anymore in the afternoons. I’m not sure what to plant though… I really really want an apple tree so I need to do some research there. We also need to address the area on the very right side- there was some crazy overgrown ground cover there that we ripped out this spring. I wanted to plant strawberries or squash there and maybe some pole beans to climb up the lattice, but Seth sprayed it with Round-Up so I don’t think we’ll be eating anything from that ground for a while!
Now for the front yard… yikes. It’s such a jungle. Everything is overgrown and overwhelming! There is a ground cover that has taken over and choked out just about everything. Last year we pulled out a tree that was in the front and this spring we pulled out two huge overgrown bushes that were blocking the view of the road (on the west side of the house). We’ve had several neighbors thank us already for doing that! In their place, I stuck a few peonies but they haven’t amounted to much yet. I love the hydrangea in front of the house. It’s usually huge but was knocked down by that same storm and never really bounced back. I also love that tree (on the east/left side)- in the spring it gets really pretty fuchsia buds on it. Other than that… I’m not a fan of anything. Hostas are fine. But the rest has got to go! I’d like to see several hydrangeas lining the front, hostas on both sides to bring a little more balance, and peonies in the very front (I’ve always heard peonies near the house is a bad idea because they attract ants but I la-la-love them). The biggest issue is that under the nasty mulch is a layer of rock. And under the rock is a fabric cover. And there is a loooot of mold in between all that. Seth and I don’t feel like we can really handle the demo ourselves, so we’re trying to figure out what options we have for removing it all. But then once it’s gone… I still don’t know what to do!
1- Changing with the seasons. I don’t want all my flowering things in the spring and then everything is dead come fall.
2- How things die. This is an odd statement, but it’s important! The iris die nicely, leaving behind their greens. The coneflowers (on the east side of the house) burn up and leave dead black heads on the stems. They look awful!
3- Most important- Maintenance. I love love working outside and in the garden, but the reality is I don’t have time. And with the time I do have to spend outside doing that kind of work, I’d rather be in my garden. So my front yard needs to manage itself as much as possible.
I really hope we can start on the back yard this fall and maybe tackle the front this spring, barring any other life-changing news. I KNOW we won’t be getting news of twins again this winter! Until then, I will continue to shudder every time I pull up to the house and walk past our back yard. And then remind myself we’re doing pretty good just to keep everyone inside the house alive and relatively happy and the outside can be a disaster for another year.