Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We have a YARD!

Truth told, we've always had a front yard and we've always had a back yard - the problem is that neither of them were exactly in the best shape. The front yard's issues are mostly cosmetic and will be the focus of next summer but the back yard, well, that just needed immediate attention.

Let's just take a quick walk down memory lane.

This photo is from our first month here last summer. Josie is playing in the front yard with the back yard barely visible behind her. You can see whole mess of overgrown trees, shrubs, weeds and chaos just behind the iron fence that still stands.

This is looking out into the yard we just demolished from the side door.  (Technically the thing I keep calling our backyard is our side-yard because we have a corner lot.)  This is how it looked when we moved in.  There were scrubby, struggling pine trees all along the fence to the left, a huge mess of overgrown honeysuckles along the back and overgrown ornamental shrubs along a hump of earth to the right the blocked the driveway from the yard. The old free space was that brown patch there in the middle - certainly not anyone's idea of a good play yard.

This is from the driveway looking out toward the front yard. You can see that big hump of dirt that had to be removed.
From the far end of the driveway - back when we had the Murano and my parents had the gold Jeep. Our house is the one on the left. It used to be a multi-family so there was enough parking space for way more cars than we'll ever need.  The driveway is shaped like a big "L" and the two cars are parked here on the spot that is now grass.

So...we've been talking about addressing the yard for months and Lou sort of just decided to pull the trigger on it last weekend. Josie was set to spend the night at my mom & dad's house and before I knew it Lou was driving a Bobcat down our street and into our back yard. I gotta say, I was a little skeptical but it took two weekends and we have a YARD.  Here's how it all went down.

Rent a big sharp saw to cut the line in the blacktop that will divide the driveway from the new grass -

Work together to dig out the bricks and loosen the roots -

Take some time to play with one of the many interesting discoveries -
Take out the remaining trees -

 Bring on the Bobcat  (used to tear out the tree roots and move the dirt) -

Time to jackhammer that driveway we don't need. Go Louie Go!

The big heap of rubble grows and the roots come out pretty easily thanks to all of this rain -

Josie returns home from Xenia and has this to say about stopping for just a minute to pose in the mud -
 Then cooperates -

And even got to ride in the Bobcat with daddy -
 And make quite a few mudpies -

Here is the yard from the same vantage point as the original picture of Josie in the sprinkler last summer. You can now see beyond the fence all the way through the yard and to the remaining driveway.

The step not pictured here is hiring a local company to carry out the (gasp!) two dump trucks full of blacktop and gravel. We had no idea how much junk this project would make and it cost more than we'd like to admit to get it all hauled away. But, we were still way ahead of the game in terms of saving by doing this work ourselves so no big deal (although it kinda was then).

Awww Man! I just realized that I didn't get any photos of the Dingo - the other big piecesof heavy machinery that Lou rented to spread the big 'ole heap of top soil we had to buy to fill in the rest of the hole from the busted driveway.  There was also cultivation, grading and tilling that took place, and there was a whole heckuva lot of rain that made this job really difficult!

This past weekend, the project switched from demolition to rebuilding. The sod arrived (very very soggy sod) on Saturday morning. It took nine hours from this point to get it done.
It didn't seem like too big of a job in the beginning, but over 200 pieces later and even more rain and Lou was pretty much over the whole thing. Here is the first row -
 Ladies and Gentlemen - we have grass!

A break in the rain and we came outside to keep Lou company. Lou found "Boba Fett" buried in the backyard and Josie spent the next half hour playing with him in the bird bath.
 She got two pairs of boots so heavy with mud that she could barely walk in them -
 And Lou pressed on -

 By the time it was all done, Lou was exhausted and covered in mud. And this sprinkler just taunted him.

One last job on Sunday - roll the lawn -

Like I said, he was kinda over the whole thing -

But, it was done! And we officially have a beautiful, lush, green lawn!

Isn't it lovely?!