Clearing the Backyard

The backyard has been a beast of a project looming over us. This weekend, we finally got our hands dirty.

As a reminder, this is what we were dealing with: decades and decades of neglect and overgrown trees. It may look green in these photos, but the entire perimeter is full of piles of dead leaves and dust that have packed down upon themselves to become mulch.

Luckily, Alex and I are both big fans of farm-themed video games like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon so we were eager to clear the brush and get some veggies planted.

Since Alex got his chainsaw, he’s been cutting down small trees and shrubs, including this one that has been obstructing the view from our living room window.

Then Alex removed the unsightly plastic from the pergola that has been bothering me every day. Now that it’s gone, light is pouring into the bedroom. I can’t wait to remove even more plastic, paint it white, and hang string lights from the top. Not the greatest before/after photo, but the best I could do with dirty hands.

We used pickaxes, shovels, shears, rakes, and brooms to dig into the chaotic mass of roots and literally rip everything out. Many even began to take root in the mulch-y leaf piles. We were half expecting to unearth a dead animal or a gigantic anthill in the process, but luckily it was all just plants. After two days and three trips to Home Depot, we finally saw our progress pay off. Honestly, Alex did all the heavy lifting and I’m so thankful he’s just as excited as me to tackle this project. I could barely open a 25-lb. bag of soil, let alone carry it.

We bought leaf bags from Home Depot and filled up at least 7 bags with all the dead crap. Then we leveled the soil, cut out the bottoms of our old kitchen cabinet drawers (leftover from demolitions), laid down weed fabric, and used the drawers as raised vegetable garden beds.

We planted a kale medley, an Asian veggie medley, rosemary, and jalapeño peppers in the veggie beds, and moved my tomato container next to it. We also got ambitious and bought a lemon tree and avocado tree… which meant we also got a better hose and small drip irrigation system.

We also ordered an extra yard bin from the city to help clear the clutter faster, and our neighbor offered us his two yard bins. That means every week, we’ll been filling 4 yard bins to the brim for garbage day. We’re so tired and and still setting everything up, but we’re excited to start making use of the backyard after all the neglect it has suffered!

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