Feb 142012
 

Since I’ve found myself with some extra time on my hands lately, I’ve chosen to focus some attention on the yard.

The front yard is complete from a design aspect. All the labor that needs to be done is maintenance. There’s grass, shrubs, bushes, a rose bush, and a few small trees. That doesn’t mean that this is easy. A significant amount of time goes into the upkeep of the front yard.

My house is surrounded by trees and they wreak havoc on the grass. Every few days I go out and remove the leaves from the grass. I know it’s February and trees should begin blooming soon, not shedding their leaves, but the leaves keep appearing. It’s an on-going process that begins in October. I fill the enormous yard debris bin to capacity no less than 6 times every fall.

Once you remove the leaves, you are left with dead grass or bald spots where the leaves once rested. It’s a manual process but a fairly simple one to get the grass to return. First, you remove the dead grass with a claw tool. The dead grass should break off easily. If it’s difficult, it’s not dead. After the dead grass is removed, you’re likely left with a bald spot. Stimulate the dirt by loosening it up with the claw tool. Fertilize the entire lawn (I used bat guano this year) and it should come back to 100% within a few months.

The backyard is a different story. It’s about half complete and there are two drastically different climates due to enormous tree coverage over half the yard. When I bought the house, it was fully complete with a large grassy area in the back. I lost about half of the grass on the sunny side of the yard. I struggled for awhile to figure out what to do with the space because I want to do something with that space but I don’t want to have the yard burn up again. I eventually decided to put raised garden beds on that half and grow vegetables.

As it sits today, the back yard is in a state of disarray. Rhododendrons line the fence. There’s a large area between two rhododendrons that I have historically piled the leaves between yard debris pickup days. Should I decide to get chickens, this is where the coop would likely go.

In the north west corner of the back yard is another large bare spot. This area is historically overgrown with knee high grass and blackberry bushes. Blackberry bushes are the worst. They are covered with thorns and are difficult to kill. I went out yesterday, clipped them down to about 6″ and sprayed the roots. I took the thorny vines and filled a yard debris bin with them. I spent three hours filling the bin with weeds and blackberry bushes from the corner. It’s cleared up now and ready to go for whatever I want. I may put a secondary compost bin back here. I have yet to decide but it looks much better now than it did before.

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