Backyard Revival

About 25 years ago we planted 15 feet of raspberries along the fence on the North side of our yard. Husband had inadvertently killed a 4 foot wide strip of grass along the fence the entire length of our property.   We planted day lilies and irises in the remaining length of the dead zone.   As our raspberries grew and flourished (and spread beyond the original 15 foot bed), so did an ash tree on the other side of the fence  along the property line in our neighbor’s yard, throwing increasing shade on the canes. The canes have  moved away from the shaded area under the tree over the years and invaded the lawn, leaving a large, empty space along the fence that fills up with weeds.  It is hard to walk between the invading raspberries and the strawberry bed. It is impossible to mow.

The raspberries produced prodigiously until this year. The berries  were small and hard, and withered immediately after ripening.  I suppose there could be disease going on, or else, after so many years of productivity,  the new canes that grow up every year are just worn out and don’t have the vigor of the originals we planted.  The ash tree is too tall for us to trim, even though we would be within our rights to trim every part of it that hangs over our property.  We decided it is time to reclaim the area, dig up the raspberries that are too shaded, and plant hydrangeas,  ligularia (aka “The Rocket”), and ostrich ferns,  in their place.  That shouldn’t cost too much, but it won’t be a picnic digging up those raspberry canes. There are still raspberries that get enough sun, and we will leave them be.  They haven’t invaded the lawn yet.

Hydrangeas grow beautifully in our yard, and can cover a large area of landscaping sins.  I am tired of such a wild looking back yard. We will have to sell the house in the next few years and it isn’t too early to start sprucing the place up.  I look forward to a backyard revival, but not the expense and the labor that will go into it.

If money and  labor were no object, how would you change the landscaping  in your yard?

28 thoughts on “Backyard Revival”

  1. If money is no object that I’m going to hire some help. Weeding is a little overwhelming and I think more mulch would be great but I need somebody to haul it around and spread it out. I’d also love to have a deck in back.. a nice big deck and I need a new fence along the back-the old one is falling to bits and I’ve been trying to prop it up without having to actually put in a whole new fence. And I’d really like to take out some of the big scraggly trees at the back of the yard but I’d have to put something back in because my neighbor’s privacy fence is really ugly back there. Maybe a redbud. I’ve always wanted a redbud.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    If money was no object, I would not live in this house! But the yard I love. In a yard Reno, the ash tree in the back yard would go, as well as the two silver maples which pour thousands of maple helicopters upon us each May and June. I would also export the crab grass. Otherwise things stay as they are. My yard gives me a lot of joy.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well, if money were truly no object, I’d have a house put on the yard that is my property on Madeline Island.

    No need to design anything, just get the blueprints from the little house at St Olaf next to the wind turbine.

    The St Paul yard? Rebuild the garage into a self-sustaining greenhouse and send me an arborist to trim the apple tree into a functional size (we bought it as a srmi-dwarf at the Friends plant sale and it now towers over our little house. S&h well remembers planting it, so has to be at most 15 years old.

    I am told a previous owner had a friend in the nursery business, so the yard is very over planted with some nice things that will need a professional to remove, and it’s not like I want to live on a bare patch of grass.

    I do find unshaded spots to grow edibles, and am happy to report the first tomatoes are finally getting a bit orangish!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. If money and labor and the laws of physics were no object, I would just import the back yard from Robbinsdale. Not sure what to do about the two neighbors’ back yards this would take out… Maybe we could step out the back door into a holodeck (i.e. Star Trek TNG)…

    But if we are dealing in real space, what’s available is about 495 sq. ft., and the back door is currently 20 feet from the 1.5-car garage,

    We could rebuild the garage with a rooftop garden. Then expand the back kitchen window into doorway to a screen porch – say 10×15. That should leave some space to get around to veggie garden, but that will take out a chunk of work space… Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alley neighbors recently built a new garage with a deck/patio on the roof.

      They are extremely lucky to be able to do that as most of the garages have a power line directly over them.

      The neighhbor across the alley from the new garage has made a summer project of excavating a space to sink the family trampoline into as the kids are now big enough that it is dangerous power line wise to have it on the ground.

      This means, alas, they have to give up the winter ice rink.

      These are all 40′ lots or there about.

      My neighbors are pretty cleaver, and near as I can tell doing their own work. Very in the spirit of the “greatest generation” that is mostly responsible for the origins of this neighborhood.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I haven’t spent much time thinking about landscaping. We’ve had a couple retaing walls built over the years. The first in the back yard to make room for our deck. Then another out front to get rid of a slope that was difficult to mow.
    And then we added some edging and river rock around the house. We had some bark material in a few areas but the chickens loved to root in that so it didn’t last long. No more wood chips please.

    This year I’ve started mowing areas I haven’t mowed before. Just what I need is more grass to cut.
    That’s what I need! Someone to mow but only when I need them. Sometimes I like mowing.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. There are two ash trees in our neighbor’s yard that I wish I could magically remove, or else have the hit by lightning or blown over. Or, I could buy their house, have it moved to another location, have the trees cut down, and then turn their property into a beautifully irrigated garden with space for flowers and vegetables. I would also take out the “wildflower” garden she planted that takes up most of their property and consists of noxious weeds and trees she dug out of their cattle pasture, and which keep spreading to our yard. Their fence and the Engelmann Ivy on it that spreads all over into our yard would go, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All of your problems solved in one fell swoop. Aren’t you the cleaver one? For some reason that made me think of this song:

      OK, I admit it, it’s a mystery to even me how my mind works. Good thing I like surprises.

      Is there a back-up meeting place to tomorrow’s Blevins in case of rain? I hope be able to make it.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Love this.

        Went to see a live performance in downtown St. Paul once – it was Dan Chouinard playing and singing, and Kevin Kling telling stories. Dan Chouinard opened up the show by walking out and sitting down at the piano. The very first song he played was King of the Road, and everyone in the place starting singing and knew all the words.

        Now whenever I’m in a place where musicians are accepting song requests, I always ask for King of the Road. Everyone knows it. Even got the guy in Hudson’s German restaurant, Winzer Stube, to play it on his accordion.

        Liked by 4 people

  7. For the immediate future, when money is certainly an object, my main priority for changing my landscaping is to eliminate a nest of ground-nesting yellow jackets next to my front sidewalk. I discovered the nest in the usual unfortunate way. Went to Urgent Care this morning and they gave me a prescription for some steroids to help with the inflammation.

    An online search tells me you can knock out a nest by pouring a peppermint castile soap solution into the hole, followed by boiling water. You must do this during the late evening, overnight, or very early morning hours when the yellow jackets are sleeping.

    If money were no object, I’d like to remove a couple of trees that are in places I’d rather not have them. I’d like to have a back deck or patio, maybe covered with a clear plexi roof like the one BiR and Husband had in Robbinsdale. Some paver paths through the yard. And I’d like to put the raspberries in a confined area somehow. They tend to march right up to the house. I think I need a moat to keep them at bay.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Seems like boiling water itself would do it…

      The rural approach to this sort of thing seems to be gasoline. “Pour some gas down there.”
      My dad used to wash his greasy hands with gas; that’ll take the grease off. (Take your watch off first).
      Start a fire? Diesel fuel and some old motor oil.
      Clean some parts? Gas.
      Kill some weeds? Pour some gas on them.

      Gas. It’s a wonder product!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. ouch linda, hope the pain and swelling go away quickly,. i am semi allergic to bee stings. i dont need to carry the adrenaline but i react much more than the average person with swelling and pain. . i think it was aldii’s where i just saw the pepperment castle stuff.
    ill do my landscaping on the octagon lot up on leech . clearing the lot for my container home with a sport for a foundation and deck and a little spot to act as a landing by the wild rice entrance to the lake.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. In the current house I would like to turn the whole front lawn over to pollinator-friendly stuff. We have a huge pine tree out front that will be a doozy to get rid of when its time comes (it’s taller than the house) – ferns are happy underneath it. Jut need to find something else that will grow as well as the crab grass…

    Back yard. Well, right now a lot of that is Husband’s Muddy Pit. He seems to need a muddy pit to play in. The one in the middle of the yard was originally to level out the swimming pool – but Daughter has been less interested in a back yard (above ground) pool, so this summer it has just been a muddy pit that Husband fusses about. He is working on other muddy parts of the yard…like making a raised area under the used-to-be-swing-set-and-climber… So I would take anything not muddy. Again, more flowers than not would be nice. Maybe a pergola somewhere with the sort of furniture and shady breeze that tells you it’s okay to be lazy and read a book – the chores will wait.

    Liked by 2 people

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