When I moved to this house 3 years ago, the yard (approximately 25’x 100ft) was completely bare of anything but grass. The end by the sidewalk which was sunken about one foot, was also quite wet, and was not easy to mow. My goal is always to reduce the amount of mowing by a great number of plantings, particularly flowers.
When our home was destroyed by an explosion from the next street, we turned it over to the fire department for training, and then burned it down.. We had a new home built on the same spot.
A young man was passing through our side-yard, stopping briefly to take a photo of our neighbor’s truck. He stepped backwards into the yard to frame and capture the shot, then swiveled around to take in the scene. “Hey there!” we called from down the hill, where we sat on the patio. The young man looked to us, and with an air of bewilderment asked, “What is this place?”
Just one year ago we closed on this property — with a backyard filled with cement pavers, drastically unleveled by time, tree stumps and ferocious city weeds. I was determined to have a vegetable garden in our little 1,200 square foot plot, especially after enrolling in UMaines Master Gardener Program in York County that ran from January to June.
We originally had a above ground swimming pool, we had to reinvent our backyard so brought in fill, leveled it off, installed patio brick, framed the brick with 2X4’s, than boarded that with red mulch and drainage rocks.
Description of Project: Back Yard Transformation! My husband Ed and I bought our 1908 home in late 2011 and have been “bringing it back to what it never was” ever since. We’re in a tight knit old-fashion neighborhood where the houses are all very close together and the kids play in the street; we’re also adjacent to the South Portland Greenbelt so our house is viable from all for sides. So what did we do? In July of 2014, we transformed the back yard from a patch of under-used grass to a garden party space with a custom pergola, stone patio and curated gardens. Who did it? WE DID! Every last bit. DIY from start to finish. From the design of the garden layout and the custom pergola to setting the stone and removing the sod. Hundreds of bags of mulch! Thousands of pounds of stone! And the effect? HEAVEN. We vacation in our own home. You can’t see it in the pictures but in addition to the over all effect of a back yard oasis-Shangri La, Ed built a one-of-a-kind water fountain in the “L” nook of the deck and there’s a hammock hiding just near the red mulch pathwath to the Green Belt Walkway.
Ever find yourself unsure of how much water to spray on your lawn? Steady watering is extremely important to helping new plants to take root and flourish. Give your plants about an inch of water a day when there has not been rain within the last 24 hours. Make sure it is at a pace that the soil can absorb it all with creating runoff. An easy way to do this is to place a cup on the lawn where the sprinkler is running and when the cup fills an inch deep, it’s time to turn off the sprinkler!
Doesn’t it seem like just when you get the lawn mower back in the shed, it’s time to turn around and do it again!?! While you may be tempted to cut the grass shorter, mowing your lawn too short can actually damage the grass and even encourage weeds to grow! To keep the grass healthy, do not cut off more than a third of the grass blade at a time. Sorry, no short cuts here!
Filing your blades to a sharpened edge can make shoveling and hoeing an easier task to muscle.