May 23, 2013

Rebuilding My Yard

I went outside today, camera in hand, to take photos of my yard. It wasn't until I looked around with an eye towards sharing it with you that I realized I have no yard worth sharing! 

So I've decided to share the process of building our new yard instead. 

This was my backyard last July: 

Green, lush, shaded, and full of healthy plants and flowers.

And this is my backyard today. (It actually hurts a little to look at it!) 

 We had the large old shade tree removed earlier this spring for safety reasons, and now must redesign our yard to survive the high desert sunshine left in its absence.

First, since the fence had to be taken out for the tree removal, my husband replaced all the old posts and side rails before putting it back again. Then he rebuilt part of the deck and added a new stair where the tree trunk had been.

 We're having automatic sprinklers installed soon in both the front and back yards, but our main water line wasn't adequate. The water company said we're one of the last old homes in the North End to be updated, probably because I've been watering the yard myself one little section at a time for the past twenty-five years! I can't tell you how excited I am about not having to do this anymore!

 After the street service was updated by the water company, we had new larger pipes installed all the way to the house by another excavator and plumber. The entire front yard was pretty much dug up by the time it was all done. 

Meanwhile, we used hoses to map out where we want our new planting beds and grass in the backyard. (The black hose is where the new border will be.) As you can see, the old shade grass didn't last long in the sun, and we are planning a smaller lawn of drought and sun tolerant grass. We're also having the sad-looking front yard grass replaced with a new healthier drought tolerant lawn.

The tall Karl Foerster grasses that we removed to make room for the tree removal equipment will go back in along the fence with more drought tolerant sun loving plants filling in the larger beds. We're also adding a couple of smaller beds on either side of the new deck stairs. We borrowed the huge plastic pots for storing the grasses from our local nursery. 

We don't have any homes nearby directly behind us and can see the the cute houses on the next block over and the snow capped mountains of the Boise Front off in the distance over the fence and through the trees. 

We also love seeing the huge thunderheads building up in the sky over the Rocky Mountains. It all makes our tiny yard seem much larger than it is, and for living in the middle of a city we think we have a great view. 

 There is a house behind us on the right, though, and it will be screened by this new tree we planted. We chose an Eastern Redbud that will stay small enough not to interfere with the power lines above and won't drop messy fruit on the sidewalk leading to the alley below. On such a small city lot, every little decision matters. Unlike my favorite Dogwood Tree, this Eastern Redbud will tolerate the hot full sun. It also gets pretty pinkish red flowers in the spring.

It sounded so good for our tiny yard, in fact, that we planted a twin on the other side by the shed to screen the house there on the left from our view, too. We've had problems with the squirrels damaging trees in the past, but they don't seem to like chewing on the Redbuds for some reason.

This is my side yard with the cute potting bench my husband made me last fall. I'm dying to fill it with my gardening tools and share it on my blog, but as you can see, the mess around it doesn't make for good photos. 

 These are roses we've had to dig up and store in buckets until the sprinklers go in. They're sitting in the raised garden beds that normally would be full of spinach and radishes by now. Everything is on hold for the sprinklers, and I feel completely discombobulated by missing my usual spring routine of digging and planting. 

I have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day and my new yard and gardens will take some time.

I'm happy to report that at least the clematises I planted last year are doing well, safe from being moved for the sprinklers because they grow up out of the way on their trellis.

So, progress is being made. It's just not very photogenic progress. I hope to have photos of fresh new lawns, dewy with drops of automatically sprinkled water, to share in a few weeks.

Please join me today at the fun new Garden Party at Elizabeth & Co.  

Elizabeth & Co.
Thanks so much for stopping by today!

{ If you're interested in seeing more of my former yard, please visit the My Urban Garden tab at the top of this page.}


  1. Oh Laurel, I'm so glad you are documenting the whole process of your new yard! And with that tree gone, it really will be a whole new yard. It may be a process of trial and error to see what works with your new conditions, but that's part of the fun - watching it all evolve. The sprinklers will be so helpful, maybe even a necessity. Can't wait to see what comes next!

  2. I certainly understand what you are going through and the anxiety of giving up your tree. You now have a clean slate to work with and this is going to be fun! Looking forward to seeing where your creativity takes you and us as your write about it all!
    Happy Hugs!

  3. It's going to be fun to watch the progress of your yard. Your neighborhood is so charming - and wow, what a great view of the mountain!

  4. I think this is so exciting, planning a new yard and garden! I am excited to see the progress as you go.


  5. So exciting!! It's looking good, and will keep getting better. :)


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