Yard Demolition

Per the original agenda for house work, the yard was going to be left to rot away until some major things in the house were accomplished. I suggested this mainly because once you put some work into your yard, it then requires regular attention to maintain it. I thought since the yard was already deteriorating we would be better to redo some things inside the house that, once completed, we didn't have to spend any more time on upkeep. Those projects would simply be done.

That looks great on paper and sounds pretty logical but when your yard looks like this…

…priorities quickly shift. I’m also pretty sure our neighbors are tired of looking at the weed factory we have for a front lawn.

Thus, The Engineer and I picked a beautiful day and started some yard demolition. This meant getting rid of a bunch of stuff that was gifted to us by the previous owners. We started by ripping up pavers, bricks, cinder blocks, and rocks that were literally all over the yard.  I kid you not. I have NO IDEA how this many different pavers ended up on this piece of property and for what purpose. This is the stack after we ripped up maybe half of what is randomly placed, buried, or abandoned in the yard.

Crazy right!!! The good news is that we plan to use most of it in one form or another. We want to use the cinder blocks to build raised planters for our garden (more on that area below) and we will make several paths in different areas with the pavers. We have several different kinds too haha! We have red paver squares (still in the ground), white paver squares and rectangles (some pulled up and many still in the ground), red brick, (half pulled up and half in the ground), and slate (still in the ground). The slate is AMAZING. It is currently mixed in as stepping stones in a shell path. We plan to rip it all up and pack it tightly to make a fire pit area and plant green grass in the cracks, like this. The crushed shell will be moved to the side by the carport where our trash cans reside and we will put a mulch path to the shop and shed

Anyhoo, we started our backyard cleanup behind the shop. There were several lengths of drainage gutter, a ladder (thank you for leaving that!), two sections of rolled up chain link fence, a tire, and a box full of, you guessed it, more pavers! Actually this box was faux rock used for siding. When the sunroom was added the bottom was faced with these and looks very nice. I did notice that it didn't go as high as I wanted, so I’m excited to have this extra material that I can someday finish the facing with. It isn't high on the list of things to do, but it is on there! That entire area was cleaned, purged, and raked of leaves. We are only left with the ladder and gutters, much cleaner!

Cleaning the future garden area was next on the list. This area was pretty much self-volunteered as the garden because it already has a lemon tree (another awesome thing that came with the house!). It is kind of off to the side and gets a decent bit of sun. The only problem was that it was a mess. We ripped out some overgrown bushes, removed the trash that had migrated over there from behind the shop, raked the leaves, pulled out an old fence post from a chain link fence, cleaned off all the pavers, and trimmed the lemon tree! Here is the before and after:

It’s hard to call it better because now it just looks dismal and empty so we decided to use the word closer. Closer to our goal. The mess of pipes in there is an old well with a broken pump. We plan to fix that up and use it for our irrigation system since we are pretty sure the well will be fine with a working pump. The pavers in this area of the yard make the most sense of anywhere, but unfortunately they are very dirty and quite un-level. The plan is to make a simple path form the gate to where I was standing when I took the picture from the red pavers on the other side of the yard since they are the best looking ones. Once it was all cleaned up I realized we should have trimmed the lemon tree a month ago before all the blossoms came in. Oops. We still trimmed it a little, mostly taking dead and bottom branches off to promote upward growth. Next year it will get a big trim! It’s not perfect, but it is closer.

At some point in this process we realized that the gutter on the shop was overflowing with leaves. The Engineer climbed up there to shovel it out and brought yet another cool item the previous owners left us, the pole saw. He wasn't going to do any real work, but you know how it is when you have a new toy to play with. You also know how it is when you start to trim tree limbs…there’s always that other limb that if you just took it down too things would look so much better! He wanted to just try it out and ended up cutting four decent size branches. It is not a finished job by any stretch of the imagination. We had actually planned to take the limb he was working on all the way back to the trunk. Because it is over the shop we knew it would need to be taken down in pieces, so it wasn't a waste of time at all. We are pretty sure we will rent a man lift to do all our tree trimming because we have A LOT of old tall trees, and a lot of trimming on each one! It does look nice with the area above the shop opened up though!

The last thing we did was rip out our ‘sand box’ that was in front of the shop. I say ‘sand box’ because it isn't any place I would let a kid play. The sand was actually dirt and you see that dead tree trunk back there? We found carpenter ants in it. Not to mention that we don’t have kids and someday when we do, we will build them a much nicer sand box elsewhere. It was easy to remove, just four boards nailed together.

 So now we have a pile of dirt and firewood. We left the dirt there because we will use it as fill in areas that need it when we redo pavers. It isn't super attractive, but its closer. Oh, and well take the useless, carpenter ant infested tree trunk out too.

Anyone else working on the yard? The weather has been perfect lately for outdoor jobs!