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When it comes to owning a house, projects can often get split into two distinct categories:
- the projects I’m nearly doing backflips over to get done right this very second
- the projects I’d rather peel my own eyelids off before I’d do more than once
It’s entirely possible for a project to be both at the same time. For example, I am thrilled over the idea of bringing my kitchen mood board to life. But the idea of painting another four to five coats of primer and paint on the upper cabinets this month? Yeah, I might need to be drunk for part of that. Or maybe all of it. But it’s gonna happen.
But by far, the project that I both want to blink and instantly have finished and yet dread the most is the back yard. The main reason? There are so many problems with it, I’ve hardly known where to begin.
Overgrown, full of bugs, and creeping up my trees – this ivy needs to go. My ex was kind enough to cut down all of the ivy from trees three years ago (to keep the ivy from invading and killing off the really tall pine trees that exist back there), but we left the ivy alone after that. Ivy, just like any other plant, happens to grow, so after another two years of turning a blind eye, I’m back to where I started. Only the ivy that was killed off before never fell off the tree on its own, so each tree has a lovely layer of dead, rotting ivy underneath the fresh growth. Ick.
Not only that, but ivy attracts less desirable outdoor creatures into the yard. I’ve never seen snakes or rats, but I have heard that both of these are common around ivy. I’ve read that a deterrent for snakes is simply to have a dog with the ability to roam all over the yard, which Charlie does, but I’m not exactly crazy about using her as my first option as snake repellent. Especially after hearing that Melanie’s dog was bit by a copperhead.
I spoke about the sinkhole in the yard (and what I suspect caused it) here. What I really need to fix it is a large amount of dirt. I think I might be able to find some places in the Atlanta area that are either cheap or free (thanks to Craigslist), but I’m simply not looking forward to the process of filling, tamping, filling, tamping, and so on.
My neighbor is actually pretty nice, but she grows bamboo near the fence that separates our yards. The bamboo spreads fast and is hard to control; it’s basically the herpes of plants. And it’s both destroying the fence between and spreading bamboo into different parts of my yard. I’ve mentioned it to her casually, but she isn’t taking any action to rid the problem. Rather than taking it any further with her (sometimes keeping the peace with a neighbor is simply a better idea than getting into a disagreement), I’m just battling it as I can to keep it out of my yard.
Every other overgrown plant
My back yard’s biggest fault is my own: neglect. Everything is overgrown. The azaleas and Japanese laurel have thrived, but they badly need to be trimmed.
And the weeds have grown into freakishly large weed trees.
Some of the branches on the far side of the yard have grown to such an extent, they block out any chance of sunlight. Other than shade-loving shrubs, it’s a little difficult to find plants that might want to grow near the house without much sunlight.
Lack of a garden
The cement patio is small and relatively boring. Against the house, there are two strips about two feet wide on either side and lined with scalloped red brick. I dislike everything about this area. I hate the red brick, the lack of plants, and especially, the mosquitoes. I suspect that at one point, there were plants growing around these spots, but they were all dead/missing by the time I moved in, and weeds have taken their place.
You actually can’t even see the brick in this photo… but it’s there.
So what now?
Sure, I’m complaining about the back yard like I’ve just moved in. Only I’ve left it to fend for itself for years. So why am I bringing all of this up now?
Exactly. Thanks to a number of things falling into place, it’s finally time to get this clusterfork (intentional typo) of a yard under control. Even as I type this post, my arms are rubbery and shaking for a rest. It’s been three and a half days of hard work. I needed a great big push to convince me to get started; and once I did, things really began to click. I’m not quite finished yet, so I can’t quite share the results. And there are so. many. pictures. So for the next week or so, expect a healthy amount of outdoor posts with a sprinkling of cabinet updates too. I guess it’s true that momentum from one project can always spur your energy into the next!
How about you? What is your backyard situation like?
P.S. Don’t forget that today is the last day to enter the Aquasana giveaway – winner will be announced tomorrow!