Here We Go Again!

You know that old joke that Minnesota only has two seasons, winter and road construction? Well, I’m starting to think that we should start identifying our summers by major landscaping projects. With the exception of the first summer we were dating, our entire relationship can be measured by what project consumed our summer months. The summer before we were engaged? We painted the house. The summer before we were married? We reseeded the front lawn? First summer married? We moved a lot of dirt and reseeded the boulevard.

As I have mentioned a couple of times, this year’s project is the backyard. Before we even started, we knew this one was going to be a huge undertaking.  Not only is our backyard much larger than the front yard and boulevard put together, it was also in much worse shape.  We have slowly been making progress, starting with the tree removal this spring, then there was spraying all the grass creeping charlie, relocating all the landscaping rock around the house and garage, and removing the patio.  But things really started moving last week after this arrived:

About a third of this truckload filled the new garden (I tried to count the number of wheelbarrow loads, but I lost track after 3).  The rest of it was destined to even out the backyard, but after two summers of running a garden tiller and hauling 10-12 cubic yards of dirt one wheelbarrow load at a time, we are well aware of our limits.  A couple of consultations and bids later, we hired a local landscape company to move the dirt and we were in business! 

Here are the before and after photos, side by side

We removed the fire pit and had the ground re-graded to even out some low areas and pull water away from the house:

This is where we had the big tree branches come down, so this area was particularly uneven.  This was also where the creeping charlie was really thick (you can tell by how thin the grass is was).  We also filled in and built up the rock border around the shed using the rocks we removed from around the house, garage, and fire pit:  

This was the lowest area of the yard and, again, a pretty uneven area thanks to the falling tree branches.  Now it's an even better location for a bouncy castle.

Here's where you can see some of the more dramatic transformations.  You can see where we removed the patio, as well as the landscaping rock along the house:

An unexpected addition to the project was to have the step and sidewalk removed so we could build the yard up along the house.   Ultimately, it came down to doing it right now, or having to deal with collateral damage to everything we are doing this summer later down the line (and with that, ladies and gentlemen, we have another option for next summer’s project: a deck, or at minimum, new steps).

Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate with our plans this weekend, so we are still waiting for everything to dry out before we can do the last little bit of work by hand and get the seed down. 

Even still, the end is in sight!