Landscaping bug bite

The landscaping bug has bit me big time this year. For several years after we got married (more than we’d care to admit), we neglected our current home because we had bigger plans. We looked for that ONE old farm home that we both wanted. Prayed for the perfect situation, the perfect property. Then, we came to a realization: God had already given us OUR home–the one He planned for us. Once we came to that realization, it finally was time to also make it the home we wanted.
So, a few years ago we told Dan that we wanted to buy our plot off of him–not just the little 1/2 acre we were using, but all of it. We wanted the entire 1.3 acre parcel! After that was out of the way, we started turning our mobile into the farm home we wanted. It’s definitely still a mobile home, but it now has more of that “country charm” we wanted. We used our meager budget to update the interior to our tastes but the exterior still needs a lot of TLC.

Dire Straits

From my perspective, the land needs SERIOUS help. Because we never planned to stay, we didn’t put a lot of work into the yard and let Dan go about his business. A few years ago he decided to fill the pond and shortly after many truckloads of fill began arriving. Much of this fill contained huge boulders, concrete, asphalt, etc–not exactly my choice, but it wasn’t my yard. Fast forward to 2016 and we’re definitely buying the lot and staying. Unfortunately, we now have what looks somewhat like a strip mining operation. As social people, we want to have people over, but the yard is a bit of a disaster. What is one to do on a limited budget and limited access to construction equipment?
Roll up the sleeves and get to work!

The pit

To many, the situation may seem hopeless. Here you have a gaping half filled hole littered with concrete, asphalt and who knows what else and no money to haul it off. This is where the landscaping bug has hit. With a little creativity, a lot of sweat and a little blood, a mess can be turned into a masterpiece. It’s just the task I’ve always wanted–take a neglected piece of land and make it beautiful–and MINE!
In the last few years, we have added trees to the front lot and made it functional, but the pit remains. The first step was excavation. Before we could think of any designs, we needed to find out what we had. Could it be mowed? How much work/dirt was needed to make it usable? So, I started mowing as much as I could every week and learning the lay of the land. After I determined where all of the hills and valleys, I had a better idea of the possibilities. Thankfully, the land wasn’t nearly as bad as I initially thought. 2 days on a Ford tractor with a grader box and most of the land is ready for planting. Several more days with the grader box, and it will be ready for structures.

The process

The entire process to transform the land is going to take several years. Since the grading/contouring has started, we now must find a place for all of the junk fill or a way to reuse it. A lot of that fill will be moved to the bottom of the 10′ island of dirt growing over the old pond. Some of it can be reused for stepping stones, water features or other structures. Still more will need to be hauled off.
Further complicating the process of transforming the land is me. My vision is constantly being revised as we find more usable land and more distinct features. For example, what we thought was a peninsula of usable land now looks to be an extension of other usable land. The mowing and excavation revealed that we have about 1/2 acre of mostly flat land. Unfortunately this 1/2 acre tends to hold water, so we’ll have to direct the runoff. The runoff will be directed to the creek formed from filling in the pond.

The Plan

As of today, the plan is for a small fruit orchard and wild-grasses. In the largest portion of the flat area, we will plant the weeping willow tree Sara’s always wanted. Around that we’ll have a trail through the woods, a picnic area, a bonfire ring and more. I can’t give you more details, because I really struggle to share my vision with others. I have a picture in my head and know that it will be very much like the finished project. Stay tuned for more updates!

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