|First year pile.|
|The first pile above was mostly removing multi-flora rose from the side yard that had grown so far into the road that it had trapped enough leaves to completely hide the granite block curb and make a 4" bed of really great compost which I moved up and around the ailing Lilacs. Note: wear double long-sleeve shirts and gloves when dealing with the thorns of this bush or as this Rutgers website recommends, get a bulldozer.|
|The 2nd first year pile.|
|Ariel view of The Ring and the tree swing (behind the roof corner) hung on the most dead tree in the yard.|
If you click and enlarge the photo above you'll also notice the rope swing that was hung on the most dead tree in the yard. We figured the tree needed to come down due to the fungus growing on it but we were really put into action to get quotes for tree removal after a large 15 foot branch crashed down while we were having lunch on the deck.
I don't know where you live but we found that tree removal near us in central NJ is less expensive if you have it done in the winter. We're on a wooded lot with lots of ash trees that were dying and needed quite a few taken down. Tie some twine around the trees you can't save so as not to confuse them when the leaves are gone. Also, ask to have the wood removed unless you have the time and ability to chop it into log size pieces. We came home to find we were left *ahem* "fire-place sized" wood pieces. Unless you have a 20 foot tall fireplace in a castle you're not fitting a 12 inch log that's 2 or 3 feet thick.
We debated buying a chipper and having lots of great mulch and wood chips but there was just so much big stuff we took it to the dump which was free. The sweat equity really helped us learn the lay of the land and find all kinds of great plants season to season, appreciate the hidden bits of moss or new varied plant life growing where before the sun couldn't reach.
Most places you'll find chemicals used is either in the lawn or the plantings in the front of the house. We saw clear signs under the front window as the dirt was dry and dusty as if it had been bleached of all life. We felt bad to remove these old bushes from the front of the house and the beautiful blue spruce but it had to be done. Someone clearly didn't think about size proportion when planting and no one who moved into the house after that thought about buying pruning sheers.
|Pile year 2, now it's getting serious|
|This was the second year of our spring pile. We split our acre yard into sections and are still taking the clean up bit by bit, slow and steady, and there's only so much advil you can take. |
|Pile year 2, landscape view|
|We made about 6 trips to the local dump a year where they turn the debris into mulch. Last year we got smart and rented a Budget box truck for $90 and did the haul in one trip.|
|Pile 2 point 1, year 2, the bigger stuff.|
|Those crazy kids, zero. Old man in the bushes, one.|
|Half way there!|
|Ta - Da!|
|Foundation planting done wrong and not thinking 30+ years later.|
Also, the view is facing north west. These trees would make a great north wind block further away from the house but up close to the house they only trap the shadows and cold. Our ranch is cantilevered and so the over-hang would remain cold by not only funneling the wind but also because it was never allowed the winter sun to warm up the house. Even in summer it remained cold with these ever-greens.
Even though our ranch was built in 1965, the builders (as well as builders now!) could well have heeded the following advice from one of my favorite references.
From America's Garden Book by Louise Bush-Brown & James Bush-Brown Copyright 1939
"'Foundation Planting' has been given altogether too much emphasis in this country. It all came about, and the habit became fixed, several decades ago, when the foundations of houses were made, as they still so often are, of ugly materials such as concrete block, while the house itself was a self-respecting frame structure. Bushes and low evergreens were called upon to mask the existence of this regrettable, but apparently unavoidable condition. The nursery catalogs were filled with pictures of various combinations of dwarf evergreens. Variety of form, and color, and texture seemed to be the great aim in this type of planting. It never occurred to people that the array of tall and short corquets, round and oval globes, and the green and yellow and blue pincushions, with a pair stiff blue toy trees, had only covered up one type of ugliness with another. The only difference was that for monotony there was substituted a restlessness; for frank utility, a discordant decoration."
The book is just brilliant! And that was it for our guilt, especially after we replaced the windows, the view from inside just had to change.
|After. Not only could we see but the Japanese holly behind them was glad to see the light of day.|
|New window, old stumps.|
|Dig that summer tan!|
|Seriously freaky, no?|
One last spring clean up tip for yard sales... Don't.
Just put it in the yard the night before and at dawn the next day put up a sign & post to Craig's List.