Transforming the Outdoor Space: Before

After twelve years of dreaming, the new backyard is becoming a reality. A landscape architect friend came up with a plan after I gave him all the pieces (four seasons of interest, tree, water feature etc.) and yesterday we took the first step–demolition!

Here are the before shots:

An overview, taken from the second-story. Just about everything you see here is going. The purple cone flower, a false lupine (hiding behind one of the railings) and the purple moor grass (in the big pot) are the only plants that will make it into the new yard.

Little did I know when I took this shot, I was two feet away from a paper wasp nest. (Which has subsequently been dealt with.) As you can see from here, the majority of the yard is taken up by a drab, gray-weathered deck. I've been waiting years to rip it up and replace it with colorful and green growing things.
Old Deck, Old Yard

Looking toward the garage, the finest feature about this deck was the massive railing. God forbid if you should fall off the one-foot drop to the ground below. Mostly it served to block what little of the yard had anything of interest to look at.

Strange Grouping
The serviceberry tree will go in this corner. The pots are in this strange arrangement, simulating where the table and chairs will eventually go.
The ridiculous benches on either side along the fence were never used by us and only served as convenient ways to peek over the fence and chat with the neighbors. They were a real waste of space.
Old Deck: Escape Hatch

Here's the escape hatch for the basement window well. Good luck actually trying to get out of there.

Air Conditioner

The window well and the air conditioner provide two corner challenges for the landscape design. The hope is that the new, very much abbreviated deck (more of a stoop) and some shrubs will conceal the A/C unit. And don't you love the ridiculous gate? That's history too.

The jungle:

Invasive morning glory vine and various bird seed sprouts made this a never-ending patch of hell. Near the end, when we knew we were going to redo the yard, I just let it go crazy.

The view from the garage:

Again, more of the gray-upon-gray. My Blick birds are fleeing the drabness. There was a time when I'd cover the deck in pots of colorful flowers, but that gets expensive year after year and requires a lot of watering. I'm looking forward to a backyard that I don't have to replant every season.

These are keepers. The purple coneflower does really well back here. In fact, they've all but taken over the black-eyed susan that used to share this space.

Another shot of the kudzu:

Won't miss this mess at all. Nor will I miss the swampy mess it becomes every time we get a good rain. One of the major goals of the backyard redo is to fix the grading and get the water to drain out and away.

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