Thursday, June 28, 2012

Removing sod, six inches at a time

I truly believe that at some point we will have almost no lawn in the backyard. I suspect I'll have removed all of it by hand, small section by small section. It would have taken an hour with a sod cutter to remove it all in one fell swoop but now I have all these muscles, so I shouldn't complain.

Because I'm landscaping as I go, with just a rough idea of what will happen here, we end up with a lack of transition between spaces. To wit:

Does anyone use their recycling bin for recycling?

We plopped down cedar chips when we removed the cement slab and relocated the vegetable beds with the hazy idea that we'll have more pathways filled with cedar chips that take you around the yard, past a small circular lawn we haven't laid, past the deck we have yet to build, and through the gate that doesn't exist on the west side of the house. Some day we'll figure it out but for now we have a weird triangle of grass that wants to encroach on both the rain garden and the cedar pathway.

I needed a hose break right about there, so I wouldn't run over the grasses in the rain garden when I watered the side entrance. My fig tree in a pot has been homeless since we tore out the cement slab, floating around the yard wherever I needed a bit of height. So I removed a bizarrely shaped strip of grass, getting rid of that triangle and creating a wider mulch moat between the lawn and the rain garden.

Now we have a different weird transition.

I didn't have any cedar chips on hand, so there's fine mulch to the left of the fig tree where there should be chips. It looks silly right now but I do like having the tree there. We've always wanted a green screen here so we'd feel tucked in when we sit in our morning coffee/evening Manhattan chairs.

Sorry for the blown out photos--it was actually sunny!

So I think my plan to have a lush greenness pull you into the yard is sort of working. You enter the side yard . . . your eyes are drawn to the nursery pots full of dead hyacinth. What the . . . ?

Then your eyes are drawn to the random rain barrel, in the middle of the lawn. Surely there's a better place for that? And why is there a recycling bin full of empty nursery pots?

As you walk down the pathway to get smacked on the right by rhubarb leaves. One day you'll get smacked on the left by fig leaves.

Planning is for suckers. At least this guy is happy.


  1. Hahahaha...That is EXACTLY how I've done most of my garden! It must have looked a bit funny to the neighbors the first few years, how my front garden would just "stop" at one point with no transition. Gradually I made it all the way to the other side of the property...and then started on the other lawn. One things for certain, it's much more manageable to take it out piecemeal. BTW...your Deschampsia is just great in that light!

  2. Doing it this way also makes it easier to sneak the sod into the yard debris bin too. :)

  3. And here I had the impression that you were all organized and working from a grand master plan. Welcome to the slap-dash club!

  4. When do I get my membership card? Do we get discounts somewhere in town?

  5. HammeringOurWayHomeJune 29, 2012 at 6:11 AM

    HA, I love this piecemeal approach because doesn't planning and mapping it all out seem like such a bore?! I think your yard is looking great though, and you're going to have FIGS? Why does that seem so exotic to me? (translate: I want figs!)

  6. Figs grow really well in Portland--we're really lucky!

  7. I love your backyard, it's vibrant but peaceful. Works in progress have their own charm, and yours clearly reflects all the effort and inspiration you put into it. I am also planning-challenged. There is a raised flower bed in the middle of my backyard because - one year I just wanted to put raised beds everywhere. The next year my attitude was: raised beds, meh. It still works in a way.

  8. Oh, thank you! The good thing about raised beds is that they're movable. By the way, your post about cup plant and clematis cracked me up. If only plants would do what we want them to.