June 10, 2011

The Great Outdoors Part 2

In our home's original listing, there were a ton of photos of the backyard.  To be honest, the Hubs and I couldn't figure out why, because it looked like it was in pretty rough shape.  Why advertise it?

Listing Photo- April 2010
Listing Photo- April 2010
While the retaining wall creates a natural fence for our backyard, our property line actually extends back quite a bit into the woods area behind it, as well as to the left of the house which is all wooded.  We think Ry will have an amazing time playing Explorer in there in a few years.
Listing Photo- April 2010
The deck in the photo above is accessed from the slider in the Dining Room. Can you tell that the previous owners had 2 huge dogs?  Look at that poor, abused grass. 

Listing Photo- April 2010
Maybe it was the fact that we didn't put an offer on this house until it was cold and snowy, or that we were just too enamored/scared of the inside to worry about the outside, but the backyard didn't really cross our mind too much.  It was wooded, it was private, and we didn't have to mow too much.  Sold.

And then the first Spring comes around and you remember how nice it is to have a beautiful outdoor space, and you find this:

April 2011

April 2011
A bunch of gray and brown dead stuff and gloom.  I hauled out dozens of lawn and leaf bags of debris before I got smart and started flinging some of the stuff back over the fence into our back property where we can let nature do it's course.  There were a few good surprises though, like an area on the retaining wall back behind Ryder's room that looks small, but in actuality is a pretty huge 20 x 15 space that just happens to get fantastic light.  Hello Garden.

April 2011
We also started to notice what looked like a lot of perennials that were popping up.  We had no idea what we would find, but we crossed our fingers that it would be something good, since there is over 700 square feet of planters built into this monster retaining wall.  (So much for the backyard that would be easy to manage.)  Happily about a month later, this showed up:

Amazing what a little green will do, huh?  And do you see all those little bushes?   Houston, we have flowering perennials. 

These are a bunch of Lilies just ready to burst, and those trellises behind them (which we'll need to upgrade someday) are growing some sort of fun flowering vine.  I'll make sure to take photos when everything blooms.

And that garden I mentioned?  Well, I promised to take it easy this year, just to manage my own expectations, since I am a full time marketer, full time Mom, and full time home renovator.  But my Dad encouraged me to start with something small, so he put in a few tomato, pepper, and broccoli plants as well as some herbs.  Lucky girl, right?  That planter box just above the garden has a whole wealth of flowering perennials and bushes up there as well, which was completely unexpected since this space is a little more tucked away and hidden from the backyard.

If I've learned anything this Spring, it's that everyone has different priorities.  The previous owners may not have felt strongly about bathrooms, bedroom privacy or kitchen counter tops, but they certainly loved their landscaping.  I literally lost count at the total number of perennials that are planted around this home somewhere over 100.  From Hydrengas, Irises, Lilies, and dozens of other ones I can't even begin to name, they must have spent a fortune planting and maintaining this yard.  Since Summer started for us a little late here in Minnesota this year, barely anything has bloomed yet, but I'll make sure to take some pics to share on the blog when they do. 

Sure, the retaining wall still needs a little love.  I'd love to top the two sets of stairs with composite decking someday down the road to make them safer and more attractive looking.  And this rock wall to the right side of the backyard is a little rough, but at least it's green.  So I guess I can say for now that the backyard has been a happy surprise.  I'm already looking forward to next year when I'll know what something is before it comes up and can plan accordingly.  My Dad suggested that I get a plant book so I could identify eat plant, to which I sarcastically responded "I don't need a book, I have an iPad."  Kids these days... Hopefully we'll have a lot more time next year as well, because for now, I'm happy to just sit in this yard and use it as a break away from the chaos inside. 

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