When I was growing up, our family had a small garden in our backyard. I’m sure we grew other things, but all I remember were the zucchinis. Oh, the zucchinis! My brother Corey loved to leave them on the vine to see how big they would grow. Of course extra-large zucchinis aren’t good for eating plain, so it meant that my mom made a lot of zucchini bread.
Well, that and she gave away a lot of it.
If you have ever grown zucchini, then you know it’s one of those crops that just keeps on producing, whether you want it to or not. I know many people who have done “dump and runs”, leaving large bags of zucchini on their neighbors’ door steps.
Call me crazy, but that’s one reason I am looking forward to having a garden of my own. I can’t wait to have an abundance of produce (including zucchini) to give away to anyone who will take it. And lucky for me, I now have the space to grow such bountiful crops – 180 square feet of space, to be exact. Josh has been hard at work for the last eight months preparing our yard for this garden, and I am so excited to share it with you because the before and after shots are different*.
As you can tell, our yard was in some need of some TLC when we moved in. I am sure it was once beautiful, but years of neglect meant the trees, grass and plants were completely overgrown. So before work on the garden itself could begin, Josh (because let’s be honest, intense physical labor is not my thing) had to do some major demolition which included, but was not limited to: removing two trees, digging up endless weeds, transplanting several rose bushes, digging out rocks and pavers and removing the old, rotted railroad ties that separated the grass from the grass from the flower beds.
Once everything was removed, Josh then had to start the foundation for the raised bed. Our backyard is essentially a swamp in the winter and spring due to the rock-hard clay and the slope in our yard, which causes all of the water to run down the slight incline and pool in the middle of our grass. That meant that simply tearing up the grass and planting in the ground was not an option.
In order to build a solid foundation, Josh and his dad Craig installed french drains in several key spots to prevent the ground from being completely saturated and therefore compromising the foundation.
Once that work was done, he could start the fun work! Josh dug out almost half of the grass, built a retaining wall, filled it in with soil and more gravel to create a level space in the yard, added weed cloth and gravel to level it, built raised beds, had dirt delivered and filled the beds. Phew!
And now comes the time for MY hard work to begin: planting and tending to our garden! I’m excited to share the plans I have for all of our fantastic garden space, but this post is long enough already.
So check back next week for a run down of what I’ll be planting, plus a breakdown of the cost of creating our fantastic garden.
Have you ever completed a backyard overhaul? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
*please excuse the different angles and lighting in some of these photos. They’re not perfect “before” and “after” examples But you get the point, right?