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The junk drawer

Do you have a junk drawer? The place where all random and useless stuff gets shoved in with all the necessary and useful things you semi-frequently need, so you set to digging trough the chaos in order to find that very specific thing you think may have fallen into the vortex? Yea, you know. Well, this is the first house where I haven’t had a junk drawer. Instead I have a Junk Deck. It seems our random stuff has been super-sized to grossly large proportions. Building materials awaiting project initiation. Extra pieces we have taken off the house. Random bits of randomness that have no other place to go. Storage of things that have no set home. Useful items that we must shuffle around amidst the clutter in order to use. This has been the out-of-sight, out-of-mind space all fall and winter long.

Now, I want to use it. I want to play outside. I want kids running around under the trees. I want to garden. And sit in the sun. And eat summer dinners out here. And BBQ with neighbors. For those of you who are convinced through this blog I am such a purist who lives free of clutter (Jenna I hope you read this), Welcome to my Backyard:


[Click on the photo to go over to Flickr to read the notes of all this junk you see]

We have big plans for this space. Big plans that we are going to start making into a reality. Big plans which require big amounts of work. The overall Plan:


[Click on the photo to see it larger at Flickr]

First, we are having three of our 7 fruit trees removed this week. None of the trees have been cared for in quite some time, so all of them are suffering from neglect. One is terribly overgrown with a compromised root structure too close to the large eroding slope by the railing of the deck. Two is being overcrowded by the two trees on either side of it and dying. Three is diseased and spreading disease between two other trees. The four which will remain- an apple, pear, pluot and unknown- get fed and trimmed then given a season to recover.
Second, we will rip up all the damaged pressure-treated (arsenic lumber) deck boards. The deck structure is great, so we will dig around it to get a positive dirt slope away from the house and put in better storm water drainage to prevent flooding of the basement. It also allows our landscaper to get in with his digger to start the large amount of dirt moving we need to do. Then we will resurface the deck with ipe, extending it out a bit farther. We also need to take off the fence boards, as the back and left sides are set almost 2 feet inside our property line. Then we will re-stain the boards black and put them back on horizontally.
Third, we will regrade the 4′ eroding slope that is just behind the deck railing into terraces. The goal is to slow down the surface water that currently rushes down the slope against the back of the house when it rains as well as create better access into the yard, which is at a higher level than the deck. We will make some nice soft-scape sitting areas and a garden area to grow veggies. The big design element will be a dry creekbed we will create to the left of the fruit trees. It will serve as a drainage channel for storm water as well as a kid’s play area.
Fourth, we will lay down pea gravel, pavers and plant the yard with grasses, native plants and seasonal blooms to put the finishing touches on the space. I would love a firepit and passion vine to grow along the fence.

The timeline is a little longer than we would ideally like. Our landscaper can’t get here to excavate until next month. So we have the rest of this month to clear all this junk off the deck and rip it up. Come April, the Big Dig commences and I hope by the beginning of May, our backyard will be a wonderful outdoor space to spend the warm months enjoying.

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