Creating the Dirt Pit

The back yard is definitely moving in the right direction, which really means that it is looking more and more terrible. Gulp. You really do have to make things worse before making them better. Our backyard has been going through quite the journey…we had the Irrigation Well Revival and We Moved the Fence.

Our next step was to pretty much remove, kill, or demolish anything and everything that was left. Ha! In order to get ready for our sod delivery we had to kill the existing weeds, remove the shell path (that was unnecessarily wide), till the yard, fertilize, and level it. No big deal, right?

We started with the shell path. We liked the idea of having a path to the shop and shed, but the white shell path really stood out, and it was huge! We were missing out on so much space for grass.

I can’t believe how much space that path took up looking back at these pictures! Really glad we ripped it up! First we took out the slate stepping stones that we will use later to make a patio where we will have our fire pit. We kind of have one now, but we are going to take all the slate up and pack the pieces much tighter and remove all the shell.

The slate came up very easily. All it took was a little nudge with a shovel and you could pick it right up!

We tried to be careful when taking the shell up because we were going to reuse it in two places. We planned to make a shell path on one side of the house and on the other side by the carport we wanted to make a pad out of shell for the trash cans. So we tried to take as little dirt as possible with the shell. As we moved along though, this proved to be less important. You see, the first layer was easy. We just raked the shell into piles and shoveled it into the wheel barrow.

After we picked it up it looked pretty good, a lot like dirt. 

Buuuttt, then it rained and washed all the dirt off the shell that was still there and made the path look pretty much just as it did when we started!

It took two more rounds of raking (rigorously) the path and shoveling the shell out until we were satisfied with the amount of shell left. We separated the shell from the top that didn't have much dirt in it and stockpiled that for the path on the side of the house.

The shell from the bottom layers went over to the carport since we just planned to use that under the trash cans, it didn't have to be as pretty. So that went directly down.

It looks a lot like dirt with a few pieces of shell in it, but after a spray down with the hose (or a storm, whichever came first!) all the dirt washed through and it looked like shell again!

We had a lot of shell so we were able to fill the entire area next to the carport with shell. This was great because we never planned on putting sod here and it really is just a utility area for us right now.

As all this was going on, we killed our weeds. We sprayed three times, but we only did the third application since it rained shortly after our second application. So we went from lovely weeds...

...to dead scraggly nothingness.

One of those classic it has to get worse before it gets better steps!

With the shell gone, the border ripped up (black border from the shell path you see above), and the wonderful weeds dead, we were ready to till.

We decided to rent a tiller because we knew we had a lot of roots in our yard and doing this by hand would be nothing short of miserable and backbreaking. The money was well spent because we did all the tilling one evening after work and it made small work out of all the roots.

We also tilled the side where our new shell path would go.

Yes, we still have our massive stock pile of pavers, but no need to worry, there are plans for those :) After playing pickup sticks with the roots, the yard and the well were finally ready for the irrigation instillation.

We are moving along fast, so more posts on the yard coming your way soon!