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Adventures in Gardenscaping

When your home is over 90 years old, and has had multiple owners who have cared for it – or not – to varying degrees, there’s always a metric crap-load of work to be done, which can make it difficult to know where to start.

“Luckily” for me and JustHusband, that decision was made for us two years ago, a few months after we’d moved in.  On a particularly windy night in late October, a long section of our backyard fence collapsed.   Since it happened so late in the year, we decided to prop it up with 2 x 4’s and wait until the following summer to rebuild it.


We began with some destruction. Not of the fence, but of the old shed. Then we tore down the entire fence, because it would just have looked really weird to have one section that was all new and shiny, and two remaining sections that were all old and cruddy.

That entire summer was spent building the fence.  (Or, as I’ve come to refer to it, The F*cking Fence):


Materials for “fencing”: gas-powered auger, 2 x 4’s, and quick-setting concrete mix


Don’t ask me how late we stayed up setting the fence posts.  Seriously: don’t ask.


The finished fence!

All things considered, we built a pretty awesome fence that is still standing today, thanks to help from family and friends who actually knew what they were doing.  (Unlike me and JustHusband, who only kinda-sorta-maybe knew what we were doing.)

Naturally, after all of that work, the backyard was a hot hot mess.  So we’ve spent almost all of this summer cleaning it up.  First, we built a new, smaller (and completely rodent- and critter-free!) shed:


Day 1: Shed with a view


Day 2: Almost there!


No Vacancy For Critters!


Then we began what I call “gardenscaping”. Gardenscaping is what you do when your yard is less of a garden, and more of an archaeological excavation site. To wit:  over the past two years, we have unearthed from our backyard the following items…

Broken glass; chewed up tennis balls; marbles; rusty nails; crockery shards; empty bottles; bits of concrete; old bricks; rotting beams; roof shingles; bones from previous owners’ dinners (at least I hope that’s where the bones came from!); sea shells; a beautiful chunk of what looks like rose quartz; and most recently – and inexplicably – a bunch of twisted, rusting metal pipes about 5′ in length.

As you might imagine, this has made putting things where we actually want them somewhat of a challenge. Still, we’re managing pretty well.  We made an impromptu dining patio from some of the old pavers and bricks we dug up:


Upcycling for the win!


Who says your patio chairs have to match? I don’t!

And, last weekend, we were finally able to start putting plants in the ground:


From L to R: boxwood, hydrangea. Repeat.


From L to R: lavender, Japanese peony, dogwood tree

We still have a looong way to go, but the end is near.  I will say that through all of this, I can totally understand the appeal of playing in the dirt all day.  However, I will be very glad when the backyard is done.







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