Tuesday, February 8, 2011


At the beginning of Fall we started a yard overhaul. We had a friend with a tractor and a landscaping degree come out and change the topography of our yard. We gained about twice as much space and are now working to shape that space.

This used to be overgrown with vegetation and weeds and quite a severe slop ie. we never ever used this part of the yard. NOW it's open and flat and will be our mini-orchard provided the trees survive (we are skeptics based on past failures). This last week we planted four different types of figs (Kadota, Black Mission, Brown Turkey and Violette de Bordeaux) three apples (Spitzenburg and Fuji), a pluot with three different grafts (names TBA) a Santa Rosa Plum and two Red Skin Elberta Peaches. I think that covers it. There is so much information out there about how to plant fruit trees it's a bit overwhelming. Much of it contradicts (like most of the parenting philosophy out there). I consulted the Dave Wilson site which has some great information and happens to be where are trees are from. We've tried a few of the multi-planting holes (where you plant 3-4 in one hole) and a few single plantings. We have an organic farmer friend here that seems to have the touch and we took some advice from him as well (in addition to him selling us some extra trees at his cost-Thank You). He plants his orchard and DOESN'T WATER AT ALL until May! It's a bit hard for us to do, but we're going to try it since he seems to have all the luck and us none and this is his career. Brian and I keep having to talk each down from watering with hose in hand. Once, I consulted our friend on how to deal with aphids in our garden. His reply "I've never had aphids." I think if you're going to take advice, this is the guy to take it from.

Here is our newly planted grass patch (all other grass from yard was removed but I was attached to having a bit to lounge on, it's under the straw) our retaining wall (this area was all sloped, now we have three tiers in the back and our pea gravel play area with sandbox, chairs and we're on the lookout for a used fire pit wok-style for marshmallow roasting) and some new soil laid down to create a planting bed around the perimeter of the grass. This will give us a lot more gardening space, allow us to plant some spreading plants and take advantage of the good sunlight here. I'm also very set on finally planting an asparagus bed this year since I've been putting it off and it takes three years to get a harvest.

Close up of retaining wall that Brian built from rock on our property and a work site down the street. Every time we drove by we'd throw a rock or two in the trunk.

The front we are converting to all native plants. The idea in the front is to have little maintenance and watering. Eason's design idea was to place these overturned pots behind our newly planted blue fescue. I like the zen balance to it.

Part of our landscape feature seems to be an ever-rotating pile of something next to the driveway. Redoing the yard is lots of wheel barrowing (with the extra weight of two boys on each trip).

View from front to back. We took out all of the grass that was here and covered it with FREE woodchips that were delivered to our house from a tree cutting job in our neighborhood. It had more greenery to begin with, but it's broken down quickly and we're not tracking a ton of mud inside anymore. Eventually we'll put a gate up at the back of the house that can open or close (to keep escapees out) but for now we just have to keep a vigilant eye on Eliot who likes to take off.

So that's it for now. We are slowly continuing to piece it together. It's a slow process, but we're getting there. AND, Brian's retaining wall stood up to a deluge, so at least we know we've done something right.


  1. It's nice to know someone is reading them, let mom know because she wanted to see some photos of the yard.