Literally. I can only imagine how sore my back will be in the morning. It was only two weekends ago that we woke up on Sunday morning, barely able to move, our bodies revolting against what we may possibly put them through again. That weekend we spent about seven hours outside on Saturday working on the backyard. Digging up stumps, raking sticks and leaves and debris, starting to move dirt to clear room for the retaining wall.
This is Dave's master plan. And to my bewilderment, it is slowly coming to shape. It seemed a daunting undertaking at first, clearing and leveling out our upper yard into something usable. When we bought the house we weren't even aware that the hill behind the house was part of our property. There was a row of evergreens with a hill rising behind, and we assumed that row of trees was out back property line. We were pleasantly surprised to find that row of trees was just the beginning. Our yard stretches another 45-50 feet beyond that!
Again I'll remind you that nothing had been done in the yard in about ten years. We live in the woods so there is a lot of debris, branches, a hundred million acorns and leaves in various states of decomposition. It has all made for great compost. Instead of trying to get rid of all the little stuff, I've taken to raking it into big piles which I occasionally turn. Depending on the weather, it doesn't take long for the pile to break down. Lots of that came in handy for filling the holes where stumps used to be. That way, we could use all the extra dirt to level out other areas of the yard.
There is also the matter of several stone walls which were in quite a state of disrepair. Along with a jumble of stones in various places throughout the yard. Which have now all been relocated, hence my poor sore back, to another area of the yard until they can be used again. I've taken down the small curved retaining wall close to the house and started to rebuild it. I flattened out the curve a little bit so it's more of a gentle slope than the S shape it used to be. That worked out to be a few wheelbarrows full of dirt for the upper yard as well, hooray!
We've been plugging along, working three days last week for a few hours after work, until it was too dark to see what we were doing. Thankfully Saturday was a fun day, but then on Sunday the sun came out to remind us to get back to work. I'll post pictures very soon. I can't wait to show our realtor when this is all done. We also joked last night about inviting the town DOT workers who've been collecting our yard waste each week to have a few beers and show them the before and after pictures. They must be wondering where the heck all this stuff is coming from.
Our goal before winter is to get the retaining walls in place, and remove several of the big trees that are leaning over the house. I'm hoping that will open up the canopy and give us a bit more sun. I also have a ton of planting to do. My aunt pulled a carload of plants from her garden, all mature, shade loving plants to donate to us. I think her garden needed the room, and ours certainly needed the plants, so it worked out perfectly. She gave us ferns, several large Astilbe, a huge clump of Peonies (one of my favs!) among other things. I can't wait to see everything in place.
Pictures coming soon I promise! For now, more Advil please!