From the house listing back in 2008.
Once we pulled up all the thistle, we realized that we didn't actually have dirt in the backyard, we had red clay. Apparently, weeds don't mind the clay, but we could not get anything normal to grow. So, since we were looking at bringing in topsoil and seeding, we put the project on hold for a couple of years (do you KNOW how expensive it is to bring in almost a quarter acre of topsoil?!) to save up. And in 2012, we finally brought in the topsoil.
We (and by we, I really mean Justin) spread the topsoil up to about two feet from the fence all the way around. We also skipped the garden area that wraps around the side of the house (you can just barely see the trellis over in the upper left hand corner of the above pic). We did this for cost reasons, and also because we weren't sure whether we'd eventually do planter boxes along the fence, flower beds, or something else. Then, we seeded. By the fall of 2012, it looked like this:
A lot more green, but also a LOT of clover in there! It looked much better once it was mowed for the first time, but we still have a good deal of weed and feeding in our immediate future :)
While he did that, I weeded our 5x20 garden bed and also our strawberry patch, which was no small feat! I may or may not be really sore today, ha!
Now, in the next couple of weeks, we'll be laying down landscape fabric around the fenceline, and bringing in mulch. I haven't quite decided what (if anything) will be planted along the fence, but being that I have a bag of 180 Brodiaea bulbs from Costco, I'm strongly leaning towards those!
We sort of hope that we'll eventually be able to buy the empty lot directly behind our house. It isn't currently for sale, but the couple that originally owned our house subdivided their acre lot into four lots. They've developed one of the lots, and have left the others undeveloped. The husband was a contractor and I think was developing them himself, but recently retired. We've been thinking about sending them a letter that if they're ever interested in selling that quarter acre directly behind us, we'd potentially be interested in buying it.
So anyway, we don't want to invest a lot of money in flowers or bushes on the fence line before at least making contact with the owners of the other property, but I wouldn't have a problem sacrificing $12 in Brodiaea bulbs :) It's sort of a dance between thinking about what could maybe-possibly-someday happen in the future, while also making what we've got now a space that we love. Especially since realistically, even if we did buy that property, it would require all the steps we've taken here (weeding the thistle, bringing in topsoil, seeding, etc), so we'd be looking at a long term several year project there anyway.
Whew. We still have a lot of hopes and dreams for this space, including installing a gate kit where the plywood is in the above pictures (we had to remove part of the fence to bring in the heavy equipment). This will also include moving a fencepost, so it isn't a small project persay, but doable. We'd also like to build a pergola over the patio, and maybe tear out the raised beds for a bigger garden area. I'd love a firepit and a swing set too.
So basically, we have a long way to go, but I forget sometimes how far we've come already!
We ended the weekend with our first time eating alfresco this year, which was a blessing!
I'm hoping this is a space that we'll be spending a LOT of time in this spring and summer--after all, when you're outside all weekend long, it's amazing how clean the inside of the house stays!