Front Yard Re-Landscaping Is Underway

When we moved into our house, we resolved to clean up the landscaping. All our neighbors tell us that we’re the first people in about 15 years to do anything productive with this house’s landscape, so this is a welcome relief for my block.

This is what we started with when we moved in almost two years ago:

Well, this is after I cleaned up the stuff under those windows on the left side. The nandinas directly under the windows had badly overgrown their place and caused the hollies in front to lean forward. Four months after moving in, I hacked back the nandinas and topped the hollies. You also see a silver maple trash tree in front of the front door, and a nice but badly overgrown Carolina cherry laurel tree terrorizing the landscape behind and to the right of the trash tree.

Last summer, I removed the silver maple:

Later that summer we had a company remove 11 more trees from the property. They were 10 trash trees in the back yard and the laurel cherry. Here is the aftermath:

Now you’re starting to see some of the house.

That left us with a cluttered assortment of hollies, an overgrown ligustrum, a few worn out nandinas, and two sparse crepe myrtles:

It all had to go.

Fast forward to yesterday (Saturday). Two determined homeowners + Sawzall + shovels + 101° heat + 4½ hours = barren landscape:

(Man, I wish that blue car was my Nova!) Yup, it’s all gone. The debris is sitting in our side yard until heavy trash pickup time:

This job was made much easier by the Sawzall I got a few weeks ago:

Well, that and an 9” wood cutting blade:

Roots? No problem. Just plunge the blade into the ground and cut in a circle around the plant. After the cut, pluck the plant straight out. It almost looks as nice as if the plant came out of a nursery pot. Then rip the remaining roots out of the ground mostly by hand.

I couldn’t fully handle the ligustrum on Saturday. The roots are mostly shallow and easy to handle, but the stump is a pain. Plus I disturbed a fire ant colony. I will have to come back to that later this week, armed with the Sawzall and a shovel.

I went through three of the 9” blades through the course of the day. Cutting stuff in dirt really dulls those blades really quickly.

We had hoped to save the crepe myrtles and put them somewhere else. Unfortunately, these crepe myrtles sent their roots straight down to the lower tier of the front landscape. They were planted directly below the eave, so they never got direct rainwater. Their roots had to go down and out to find water. Because of that, I was not able to cut in a way that allowed me to just pluck them out with the key roots intact. I had to break them apart and rip them out.

We still have a lot of work to do before we can plant the new landscaping:

We’re looking forward to more work in upcoming weekends! Hopefully this will be finished before winter.

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