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the before pictures: back yard

January 13, 2008

zora naki

We bought our house in the spring of 2005. It was built in 1940 for a lady who lived here for more than 60 years – she was quite fond of camellias, as there are at least 6 on the property. The back yard dropped about 3 feet from the back lane to the house, so there was quite a slope to the yard. There was a chain link fence surrounding the back, and a small wooden platform we affectionately referred to as “the deck”. At the back on the right (behind the bushes) is the garden.

Back yard: 2005

Backyard - 2005

In the summer of 2006, we replaced the chain link with a solid wood fence for more privacy – we’re right on the corner of two well-traveled bike routes. I did enjoy getting comments about my gardening decisions through the fence, but felt that a little privacy was a good thing with two little munchkins running around back there, and another on the way. I still haven’t quite finished staining the darn thing. There’s a handy little woodshed attached at the back.

Back yard: 2006

Back yard - 2006 new fence

We had to redo the drain tiles around the house in the spring of 2007, due to the underground stream that decided to make its way through our basement the previous winter. Seizing the moment, I decided that now was the opportune time to level the back yard and add a patio.

We used pavers by the house to create an alley for bikes and scooters, and added a concrete retaining wall and two huge curving beds on either side (you can’t see the one on the right in the photo below). Sadly, the beds remain largely unplanted, because it was August by the time everything was done and we were out of cash.

We also got rid of the old concrete path to the back gate, moved that bright green rhodo a titch to the left and put up a trellis to screen the garden/compost from view. There are still plans afoot to move that camellia tree lurking at the back (you can just see the top of it peeking over the trellis).

Back yard: 2007
Back yard - 2007

Plans for 2008 include planting all of the beds in the back with edibles, planting one or possibly two espalier trees along the fence (apple and/or pear), letting the camellia on the left fill in (I used to have to prune it severely to keep the path accessible) and practicing my forest gardening techniques, while leaving enough open space for the kids to play. I’m still open to suggestions though!

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