Every year around this time I seem to get waylaid by projects I wasn’t expecting. This year it started innocently enough. It was high time to deal with the north side of the yard. We had some terraced garden beds that had always been neglected. They had a few hardy succulents hanging on from the last owner but mostly just collected leaves.
This bed extended almost all the way to the fence. It was impossible to get through with a wheelbarrow.
If I wanted to bring anything into the backyard like loads of manure I had to go all the way around the house. It was one of those annoying situations that aren’t quite bad enough to rise up the priority list. Last year when I built all the vegetable garden beds the impassable corner got elevated to level one.
I got as far as tearing off the end of the bed and moving enough dirt to get around the ex-bed. I had great intentions of rebuilding but that’s as far as that project got. All the parts sat around stacked up against the fence for a year. This year I got a bug to put in asparagus, rhubarb and strawberry beds into the north end.
First, the end of the bed needed to be finished off. After it was rebuilt it got dug out and amended with alfalfa and manure.
I planted eighteen asparagus plants in the new bed.
They looked like some sort of odd sea creatures. The rhubarb and a couple New Zealand spinach went in down at the end. Things were looking good. I decided to add another row of wood to add some height to the upper bed for the strawberries. It had been so sloped before that it didn’t hold water at all.
That’s when it started to snowball. Now that the upper bed was improved it only made sense to fix the path next to it. The path had been sloped and was annoying to stand on as we hung laundry so it got flattened too.
A new path needs some rock to line it of course. If you’re going to line the path why not fix up the area around the upper gate to the chicken yard? A little retaining wall might be nice…
At this point I was running out of rock. A deal was struck with my friend Rick. I got his big (enormous) pile of rock left over from his landscaping project and he gets free eggs for life. A sweet but dangerous deal. Now there is nothing stopping me from expanding southward. Manifest destiny and all that.
See how the garbage can is tilting off to the left? The whole back yard was just one big hillside when I started gardening. As I’ve been putting in beds I’ve been flattening and filling as I work my way downhill. It’s slow going but I did get a fairly flat upper level last summer around the vegetable beds.
After the chicken yard gate was spruced up the next piece to address was the slope between the cold frames and the path that leads to the laundry line. I’ve got just the thing! Railroad ties from craigslist that we picked up last year.
The railroad ties got pinned together with rebar to make a nice stepped retaining wall. Plus now we have a new flower bed to boot.
Here’s another view of the back yard before the raised beds went in. You can see how much it slopes before I put the vegetable beds in last year.
The slope is leveling out as the beds are being built.
Another double level retaining wall made for a nice transition.
And leads nicely to the stairway…
After the stairs the wildflower garden was looking kinda shabby and slopey so it got a terracing makeover too.
Whew! It’s been an exciting and challenging few weeks putting all this together. I can’t wait to see it all planted out this summer. Our plan is to seed the new flower beds and “shop” from the front yard where we have a bunch of plants in a garden that just hasn’t ever come together.
Are we finished? Nope. The first thing Alesandra said when she saw the new back yard was “Wow this looks great! You know I can see a pergola covered in grape vines and twinkly lights over there…” Thanks Alesandra. I wasn’t seeing it until you said that. Now the yard looks unfinished without it!
All I wanted was some asparagus.
That’s OK, I needed somewhere to put the wood fired pizza oven anyway.
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