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- The patio is a cement slab, and in my opinion, too small to host any kind of entertaining. I’ve recently been doing research on overlaying the cement portion with paver stones (to dress it up a bit – thank you Lowe’s Creative Ideas) without the use of a sledge hammer. I am also planning on extending the patio to double the entertainment area.
- By digging down the 10″ deep required to fill in the rest of the patio, I’ll have fill dirt to move over to the sinkhole area near the rear left fence (created by the builders when they bury their excess construction materials and branches, which then decays over the years and leaves an empty space in the ground. This was a common practice during the time when my house was built but has since been made illegal in many areas. The former owner of my home brought in fill dirt many years ago, but the weight of the dirt simply collapsed the cavity, still leaving a sunken area since she did not choose to dig out the debris before covering it over. Thankfully this spot is at the rear of my property and not threatening to the foundation of the house and should be a simple fix, albeit tiring to my sore muscles). I will probably need more dirt than what I’ll dig up, but it will help fill in the space.
- Once the sinkhole area is filled and packed with dirt, I plan to plant privacy hedges along the back fence. I’m considering emerald green arborvitae (to remind me of Italian cypress) or fragrant tea olive to plant in a row. Not only will this give the backyard some color and privacy, but they will also hide my neighbor’s link fencing (U-G-L-Y).
- During all of this, it will also be necessary to move the existing flowering shrubs that have taken over the left side of the yard. A blue/green hydrangea and several azaleas seem to have survived despite the ivy overgrowth and will need to be moved during the final battle of the Ivy War. The line of brick that probably used to divide the ivy area from the rest of the yard will also be removed.
- There are four very tall pine trees that are also in the yard, which I would love to get rid of, but at present do not have the budget for. Should that ever change, I’m ripping those babies out, but will make do if necessary and will simply create a ledge around the trunk (for drink resting) or possibly put a trunk bench around the one in the middle of the yard.
- I hate link fencing, so while the rear link fence can be covered with shrubbery, I will still have to take care of the other one that divides my neighbor’s (the landscaper’s) yard with mine. Hopefully, limiting this task to one side of the yard will keep the cost (and effort) down so this can be truly DIY.
- A proper fire pit will be built on the new patio and the old one covered over with soil.
- Finally, a flowerbed will be built along my neighbors shabby wooden fence on the right to distract from the fact it’s falling down a little and bring more color to the backyard. Since this is the area that gets the most sun, I will plant a variety of colorful, butterfly-attracting flowering plants. In the words of Tim Gunn, this is a make it work situation!