As much as we love our big yard (by city standards anyway: 1/4 acre), it is a lot of work. Come the end of the rain in the spring, and until the start of the rain in the fall, it is pretty much a tend-to-every-evening-and-weekend kind of job.
This spring, instead of just the usual maintenance, we took on some seriously big projects. Along with some pretty cute landscaping apprentices, we began.
For the record, scraps in a wheelbarrow (including the children) are often produced by me. I love me some pruning! But other than that, I really can't take much credit, if any, for what has been transpiring in our yard over the past months (other than project managing of course, and I'm even listened to on occasion!). Credit needs to be given where credit is due, and that pretty much all goes to Jord: "yardworker extraordinaire" being added to his already long list of talents. So without further ado:
1. Project 1: Gardens
In the picture below you can see the laurel hedges that were a large and shady part of our backyard. Judging by the size of them, they were original to the house (60+ years old).
For a few years we've had a small-ish garden behind the hedges (where you can't see), but after last summer Jordan decided that the only way we're going to keep up with feeding this family is to grow a bunch of food ourselves. So since we never really loved the laurels and and they took A LOT of pruning every year, we decided they should come down and be replaced by gardens. The tree huggers in us felt a bit bad taking down such well established greenery, but for the greater good of our own urban vegetable farm, it was justified.
Step 1 - Prune the hedges down to trunks and dig out the stumps. Two industrial-sized bins later they were finally gone. They were that big.
Step 2 - Start building 8 raised beds, scratching your head about what to do with the last giant stumps that were not budging.
Step 3 - Use some serious gears and levers, and the brute strength of two men, to get the last stump out.
Step 4 - After a ton of planning, cutting, digging, shoveling and building - plant, and enjoy the bounty that's to come.
Now onto Project 2: Swingset
When we moved in 5 years ago we got a trampoline. It was a ton of fun, but given that it was in the blazing sun all summer and the torrential rain all winter, it started to decompose. We thought Rio would be devastated by getting rid of it, but instead she just asked for a swingset instead.
Well the girl's brilliant because we have been trying to think of something else Asher can 'do' in the backyard (besides lie on the ground or sit patiently in his wagon) so the swing was the perfect solution.
But of course, Mr. DIY couldn't just buy a kit for a swingset - he wanted to do it himself. Big, sturdy, and strong enough for adults. So after some research for the plans and the best swings and hardware, off he went.
Step 1 - An online order and at least 10 additional trips to Home Depot for supplies.
Step 2 - Measure twice, cut once. That wood was huge, and expensive, so mistakes were not an option.
Step 3 - Start to assemble the giant cedar posts (with the help of grampa and a few onlookers).
Step 5 - Install the ridiculously large and heavy cross beam without killing anyone (also with grampa's help and the peanut gallery - me - shouting instructions.)
Step 6 - Realize that standard swingsets are not nearly as high as the one you have built, therefore the kids would need ladders to get on the swings. One more trip to Home Depot for excess chain.
Step 7 - Enjoy your beautiful cedar swingset that's here for the long haul. I'm already envisioning the two person swing that will hang from it, and the climbing plants that will adorn it, when the kids have outgrown it.
Phew. That was tiring just writing about it - can't imagine how the man who did all the work must feel?! That's it for "big" projects this spring - now we sit back and wait for summer to come.
Next summer - chickens?!