Back corner lot Landscaping project

The plant layout. The red landscaping bricks will be three high.

A few years ago, they old guy next door neighbor moved out. So went the TLC in the back corner of my lot. Its to the far left back against the property. Its an area about 20 feet square. We have a dying Elm tree in that area and eventually we will take that tree down. Good News is that we intend on planting more trees, just not the 75 footer type.

So The other members of the household decided it was a good time to start tearing up the old stuff in that corner. We went to Lowe’s a few weeks ago and bought some bushes, a few juniper trees and some plants. All of this will eventually get into the ground. The plan is to lay landscaping cover and we haven’t decided if we want river rock or some other cover. I am not one to do mulch. It goes bad and dingy too quickly.

So I go outside and assess the situation. Honestly, its not in that bad of a shape. The only challenge will be to remove a tree which has grown against some old fence line I put up 7+ years ago and English Ground Ivy.

The English Ground Ivy coming from the neighbors yard.
The English Ground Ivy coming from the neighbors yard.

Today I seen the new owner of the house. I asked him if I could take out the tree that is keeping me from taking down the old fence and putting up a new one. He said, “Yes, no problem. All of the people who come to see this house ( its up for sale) doesn’t like it.”  I told him I would clean that area up a little as well take the tree out for no charge. I want my sunshine back in that back corner. Grass refuses to grow back there since there is nearly no sunlight.

Extra Landscaping rocks from other projects will come in handy framing the area
Extra Landscaping rocks from other projects will come in handy framing the area.

There is a small walkway into this area. There used to be a hammock back there and if all goes well, there will be a new one back there.  I figure we can complete this project over a few weeks. The temperature for this coming week, the last week in June 2019 is expected to be in the 90F degree range. It may be a late afternoon project at best. I am not one to push my luck in the oppressive heat.

So it being a cooler Saturday morning, I decided to get outside and start painting the left over landscaping rocks. These will be placed in an arch around the yard. My thought is, lets move the area out about 3-5 feet. It will offer the plants a little bit more room to grow and digging holes for the plants and bushes wont be a burden trying to cut up all the large roots we encounter.

This gave me the idea to arch the landscaping rocks to it will look more appealing
This gave me the idea to arch the landscaping rocks to make it more appealing.

Here is the idea behind the new look. The existing sidewalk, will be framed by two juniper trees that may grow to about 20 feet tall. On the left hand and right we will add a shrub and other plants. It really depends on how large these bushes will get. We’re playing it conservative for now, and may add in other plants once we get an idea how large the shrubs will get.

The plant  layout. The red landscaping bricks will be three high.
The plant layout. The red landscaping bricks will be three high. 

Even though this doesn’t look like a big project, it is. Simply removing the grass and getting holes in the ground is enough. We have about 6 inches of top soil in the yard, and underneath is gold colored clay. I told my son, that the ultimate way to do this is to break out the Roto-tiller I bought way back in 2009.Should the tiller refuse to cooperate, I imagined that I would be digging this up with a post hole digger manually. My son and I pull the tiller out. It doesn’t have any oil in it and the gas tank looks and smells like it had stabilizer still in it. We filled up the oil and the gas tank. In about 5 minutes, the tiller is running and life just got a whole lot easier.

I decided to till up a spot wider than where the bricks originally were laid down. this will aid is in tampering the ground level and be less of a pain laying down the landscaping rocks.

This ten year old tiller made a huge difference preparing the ground for the plants and bushes.
This ten year old tiller made a huge difference preparing the ground for the plants and bushes. In the foreground a bush and a juniper tree wait patiently to be firmly planted into their new home.

We started this project just after noon. With the tiller, I was able to sink the blades into the dirt and clay and till down to about a foot deep, maybe 16 inches. The smaller roots were no problem. We did encounter a few handful of roots we had to remove in order to complete the tilling. Root removal was done with a LONG coarse blade in a Saws-all. All three of us took our turn removing the roots. Some were easy, others were just plain painful.

After tilling both side, I was spent. The tiller at times was pretty hard to control. It ends up bucking worse that a wild bronco on occasion and my arms are paying for it now. A good meal, some medication and rest and I’ll be better in no time.  I was willing to pay the price since the tiller cut the job time by a week or more – due to the incoming heat and my reluctance to use a post hole digger on the entire area.  =)

Today I managed to till up all of the area. My son and his girlfriend ended up pulling the English Ivy up on our side of the fence line. They also also assisted by cutting out the roots that were just too big for the tiller to take care of. They cleaned up the debris and bagged it all. They planted three of the five plants and helped put everything away. Looks like I am buying dinner.

There was much that was done. The biggest part of this project will be painting and then placing down a lot of Landscaping bricks.
There was much that was done. The biggest part of this project will be painting and then placing down a lot of Landscaping bricks. 

After we clean up and I ate, I snuck back outside and took a spade shovel with me. I quickly dug the two holes to the left hand side. That side was pretty much free of roots and was tilled up pretty well. They can get the plants in the ground tomorrow morning. I’ll go to Lowe’s and get the landscaping cover and a few other items. Once we make some significant progress, I will add it to this post until it is all completed.