Friday, March 29, 2013

in the dirt

It has been a time of destruction in the backyard.

Here's what it looked like the day we got our keys:
The view from inside the side gate to the far back corner of the backyard. 

The house we bought was given a 6 week makeover by a house flipping company. The flippers spent all of their landscaping budget on generic curb appeal and on cleaning and pruning the giant rubber tree in the front yard.  When it came to the back of the house, well, they ran out of steam and that turned out to be okay with us.  The back garden was overgrown,  but large and bright.  We could see that there was some great stuff already there, but knew we'd have to do a LOT of pruning and cutting and digging and cleaning before we could begin to create anything like what we envisioned. 

Drew started the whole process by attacking the giant pink bougainvillea that filled the entire back corner and completely obscured the neighbor's garage wall.  Over the last month he's been removing chunks of flowers and leaves and dead vines and thorns, just enough each week to fill the green waste bin and get the debris out of the garden.   Its now completely gone - cut to the ground and ready to grow back only in the spots that we want it.

Bamboo removal is a trickier endeavor, so Drew spent many hours over the course of several weekends cutting through a wall of plants 3 feet deep and 8 feet tall, leaving giant piles of bamboo waiting to to be cut into chunks and deposited into the green bin.

Our neighbor's garage and our back wall are now visible.

Bamboo - some as tall as 10' - ready for reuse elsewhere in the garden.

The big bottle brush tree was next.  It started out like this:
Another overgrown bouganvillea next to an even more overgrown bottle brush tree.

 Here's what it looks like now:
A lovely canopy and a view of the neighbor's cypress trees.  And I can't wait to paint a mural on the side of the garage.

I had every intention of completely removing the teeny lime tree placed randomly near the middle of the backyard, but it was in bloom when we started demoing and it smelled too good to cut down.  It has been so happy since being pruned that it has started producing tasty little fruit again.  I will be making Margaritas.  And ceviche.
The lime tree is covered with sweet-smelling blooms and the bees who love them so.

The giant aluminum awning.  It had to go.  Luckily it was no match for Drew and Fred.  They unbolted it from the concrete, pulled it down and cut it into pieces.   It took them about 2 hours, beginning to end.   The scrap metal guys took the remnants away and its almost as if it never existed.   Now the back yard is a lot sunnier.

Two men and a Sawz-all.
At last, it was time for the concrete.  I have been dying to remove it from the moment we got our keys.   A jackhammer was rented.  Luckily, there was no rebar inside, so the big pad was was broken into paver-sized pads that we'll use elsewhere in the rebuilding of the patios and paths. 
Two men and a jackhammer.

It looks like a bomb exploded here, but all I can see are the possibilities.

Its been a blur of happy change and it is so exciting to have the garden in a really raw state.  The reconstruction, which we've already begun to plot and plan, is going to be even more fun.

Happy spring.  Enjoy the transformation!

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