Backyard - Part I

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

We bought our house in November (the above picture is us on the day of our possession!) and we had to move quickly on it because it was a seller’s market. Because it was winter we didn’t pay too much attention to the yard, status of the lawn, or other landscaping features, mostly because it was all covered in snow.
Fast forward to spring time…the snow starts to melt, we start spending more time on our deck and voila a series of issues are revealed.
  1. The previous owners never cared for their yard. In fact the neighbors have told us that the most they ever saw them do in the yard was mow the lawn. As a result there are more weeds than lawn. I started pulling up the dandelions but stopped because if I continued we would have a dirt patch where the lawn was. Sometimes you have to suck it up and bring in the professionals, which we did.
  2. There is absolutely no privacy in our backyard; we are basically on display for all our neighbors to see. The two neighbors directly behind us have done zero landscaping in their yards (no trees) and the result is a direct line of sight into their houses and vice versa.
  3. The neighborhood we bought in uses a drainage ditch system to manage storm water and unfortunately for us that concrete ditch in on our side of the fence, there are certain rules about putting in flower beds etc. near this system
  4. Lastly the landscaping/plants that were there were so badly maintained, there was quite a bit of use of plastic string to hold back branches as opposed to proper pruning etc.
The first thing we tackled was the front yard. It is the first thing people see when they come to our house and we want to make sure it looked nice. We started by removing a giant mugo pine. After that we went on to the junipers, they were in various stages of dead or dying. We decided it was easiest to pull everything out and start from scratch.
Then I took my first trip to the garden center to begin the adventure of becoming a gardener. On the advice of my mom I decided to start with perennials because they would be lower maintenance and the rabbits would be less inclined to eat them.
I planted the following:
The one thing you can't see in that picture is a hosta around the corner beside the driveway. We are also going to be putting in a mayday tree, see that dirt patch in the above photo that is where it will be. 
With the front yard in better shape than when we first moved in, it was time to move to the backyard. When we were planting our front yard, my mom and I got to talking to one of our neighbors who took us into her backyard and showed us all that they had done. This is where I discovered the Flame Willow. She showed us a tree that was at least 15ft high and said that it was only 6 years old. I knew that that tree would be the key to our successful backyard.
Currently we have one lone tree in the backyard (and some kind of lilac bush that doesn’t flower). We had it assessed and it won’t be possible to move it. So we have two choices, cut it down or move the flower bed to it encompasses the tree. We've opted to removed it, we don't want a yard that is all flower bed and I really don't want to have to look after a large flower bed. 

Below is the "before" pictures of the backyard (you can see our little flame willows and the blue columnar spuces). 

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