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Transformation Of A Yard- Summer Project


AREA 51
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This summer I decided to do something with my yard. I had a small usable area with a steep woodsy yard. Most of it had become damp, dark, and simply a nice view. The upside, was the backyard was much cooler, but I had to remove my pond because of lack of sun, and basically the yard became a muddy forest right up to the house. Here is some photos to give you an idea.

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Basically, in the sixteen years I have lived here, the yard has overgrown beyond use. I love the wooded lot, but it was too much, but then...

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In 2011, we were hit by a freak tornado on labor day. It was a small one, but it hit us directly. I have some photos below. The day was overcast with some sprinkles. There were no thunderstorm warnings, and my kids had just been playing outside, then all of the sudden there was gray and green swirling in the windows. By the time we ran to the basement, heard a few thumps, it was over. Some photos below. We could not get on the deck or in the backyard.

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This leads to how the tornado, if one can find a positive, did me a favor. It cleared my yard. We had wanted to get rid of many of the tall pines, alive and dead, and though the tornado took out many oaks, I was actually happy the yard was cleared. Photos below.

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All clear, and sunlight could shine again, however...

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With the sun able to get through, mother nature came back with a vengeance, and I was not ready for the weed explosion. It was worse than the trees. Many trees have sprouted but the weeds, and the invasive poison ivy, were out of control. I had to do something. These photos are one year later, but multiply by two, and you have an idea. The whole yard was nearly full of poison ivy. I had to do something.

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I began a clean up. I covered my self from head to toe, got the weed eater, and went to chopping it all down. It took about a week buy all the weeds were gone.

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The next photos will show what I did. This area is steeper than it looks, so to use any of it, I decided to level off areas in a big step fashion. I dug out steps on the hill, and though the work was hard, it only cost me about thirty dollars in cedar chips.

The top part of the yard, where the fire pit is, has always been used, but the lower part was just not practical, until now.

This is the top part of the yard, and to the lower right, you can see the post for the railing.

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This is an overview of the yard now. I still let a lot grow wild. It is simply impossible to control everything, so I just concentrate on keeping the area I created in control, and most trees short. I do that by pruning trees and lots of Round up. I want it to be like a camp site.

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This is the top two levels. A perch to sit and the camp fire.

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Photos really do not give it the best perspective. I am not saying this yard would make it on a home improvement show, but we enjoy it now. Whether cooking out, doing smores over the fire, or just watching wildlife, it is very functional now. It proves, with a some sweat and creativity, one can transform their yard without spending a fortune.

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Did it do any damage to your home? If not that's a heck of a way to have some trees cleared.

The tornado was a 1, and technically, it did not do any damage, but the trees it knocked down did. The worst was the photo above with the tree on the house. We heard that hit, and one of the branches came through the roof. Another tree took off the the corner of the roof near our bedroom.

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You see the potential fire hazard/snake den you left down by the gully? You did clean that up too, right?

My property runs all the way down to the drainage ditch at the bottom, and it is just a mess down there. It is so overgrown, I just do not venture down there. I am sure it is like snake condos down there. Many of the neighbors piled branches along the property lines, so snakes have a lot of choices. I have also seen something like a beaver waddling down there, but we are not near water, so it must be a hedgehog or something.

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OK, now I see. The downed trees are on your neighbors property, right?

Yes, some of those tree at the bottom in that photo were my neighbors, but they were downed into my yard. The neighbors across that way are an older couple. Someone came out and started to do some work, but all they did was down these trees into my yard. I figured they would come back the next day but they never did. It was Tomahawk tree service or something like that. I was patient, too patient. I called them two weeks later and two months later, complaining that I had just had my yard cleaned and their people downed these trees into my yard. They gave me the usual, we will get too it, but at five months later, I called them and said I would be contacting the BBB and state consumer officials. That got their attention. Later that day I was in my yard and the older neighbor said they would be out tomorrow. I told him I was not upset with him, he let my guys use his yard to clean up my yard after all. That dirt road beside his house was used by my clean up crew. I told him I was upset with his guys.

The next day Tomahawk came out and removed the trees and did lots of other work I figure they were supposed to do in the first place five months earlier. I really think they tried to take this older couples money without doing the work, and they might have got away with it had they not downed those trees onto my property.

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Cool fire pit. I never thought about putting one in the ground. The retaining wall is nice too.

I love fire. I do not know if that should be a concern or not.biggrin.png I did both fire pits on the cheap. The one above is just dry stacked block, and this one is just a hole in the ground surrounded by rock. That is why all the branches and brush do not bother me. I will burn them eventually. The wall is just logs from the storm clean up, and every rock is what I encountered while digging these levels. The most frustrating part of this was every time I swung a pick or used the shovel, I hit rocks. Man oh man, did I hit rocks.

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My backyard needs a miracle. Weeds have overtaken most of the grass but there is still a little grass there. Thought I'd take some southern weed and feed and see what happens. Will probably require some seeding but ya never know...

Our backyard is the best feature of my house. For some reason landscaping comes natural to me and I enjoy it. I just wish I could do the things inside the house like Regular Guy and some of the others on these boards. My house needs a lot of remodeling inside.

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