Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Backyard improvements...DIY

Our poor backyard has been neglected for a very long time. When we moved in many years ago it consisted of a medium size pecan tree, some berry vines that didn't produce edible fruit and two unkempt cherry plum trees. Now the pecan tree is gargantuan and the berries and one plum tree are gone. Our poor little home had been badly neglected before we moved in so the yard was dirt. And it remained dirt. And...it still is dirt.  But not for long.

My husband and I finally agreed on a garden design that will work for us. It's very simple. And that's a good thing. In the past I wanted a cottage garden...soft edges, flowers everywhere, fluff. Now I have adopted Grandpa Fred's point of view, "Why grow it if you can't eat it?"  This is what we have in mind...

Right now the pecan tree branches span across the yard and a bit over the deck. They shade the back of the yard and much of the garden space. I've got calls in to tree trimmers for bids on having it cut way back. This has to be done to make room for SUN...we need sun for the grass, sun for the chickens and sun for the garden. It would be nice if the tree were to go permanently...but it is very expensive to have it removed...so a trim it is.

To get started, the weekend before last we moved the chicken coop. I love having chickens. But I do not love how messy and destructive they are. I like to let them free-range...but I don't like that they tear up my garden, scratch through my flower pots and poop everywhere! It was time for a change.

We moved the coop behind the shed (that little white building on the left) so now they're between the shed and the back fence. This makes much more sense in the "design" of the backyard. They've got their coop still...but now it's inside a spacious run just for them. They still get to "free-range"...but now it's just a bit more controlled.

The girls may beg to differ as they pace back and forth at the new gate, pining away for the days they were free to eat our innocent seedlings and poop on our deck. But...in time they'll get used to it. They've already found a new dust bathing area...and eventually I will have a sandy area for them as well as some greenery. They'll be OK. They've got it better than many!

Just this past weekend we extended our garden area. It's now about 3 times the size it was! What am I going to do with all that space?!! (I'm sure I'll figure it out...) The garden now spans from the back of the house to the back fence. We installed posts and wire fencing to match the chicken run. It's not fancy. It's actually very utilitarian. But that's fine. At this point, I just want it done. So cost effective utilitarian works for me.

Here's the new garden area...from the wood fence to the newly installed wire fence. And you can see in the foreground the ground tilled up...that will be grass. If you can imagine me standing and taking the picture, the chickens are behind me, opposite the garden area. Poor girls...they'll be able to see it but not get to it. So mean...I know. But don't worry...they'll get plenty of goodies. They always do!

This is a closer shot of the garden and the garden gate the boys built for me a couple of years ago. I think it works perfectly!

Productivity sure does feel good. I can't wait until it's all done and planted and we can sit out on our deck, enjoy a barbecue of grilled veggies from the garden...and look out on a nice yard.


Denise said...

we are on the same wave length. I am dreaming up plans for our front yard.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Michelle, this is so wonderful to see! I love your plan, I love your lemon tree, I love your new coop area, and I love your new fenced garden area!! This is going to be great and I can't wait to see pictures as it all progresses.

By the way, I've lost 2 hens in 2 days and I think we've lost another today. The girls are out hunting for it now. One just died (and another is acting listless), but something got the other one - she kept going over our low fence. I kept telling her... should have clipped her wings. I feel really bad about that. This weekend I'm going to work on the coop area if the weather holds out. I've got to do something to the fence to keep them in or I'll have to clip wings which I don't like doing.

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Great plan! I can't wait to see the end product:-).

Mavis said...


Keep the pictures coming... I like being a garden stalker :)

Mari said...

wanna plan my backyard? I can't wait to do what you are doing. Hopefully soon! I want lots of flowers/colors!!


teekaroo said...

It's fun seeing other people get to move ahead on their garden plans. I've got to get outside and get some things done, but I'm a bit limited since we're renting.

Earth Mama said...

Michelle! I am loving all the changes over here!! How wonderful to revive your backyard and what you already have! What a wonderful and sustainable choice.


Christina said...

you have a coop??!!! OMgoodness. Why aren't we neighbors? awww.