Thursday, June 13, 2013


Last spring when we moved in to our Cape Cod style Marin County home we affectionately referred to our overgrown backyard as 'the secret garden'. We could tell that at one point it had been a well cared for English garden, with pathways winding around planter beds containing perfectly manicured shrubs and flowers. 

You know, something like this:

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But after year's of neglect, our secret garden actually looked like this:

We made the decision to live with it for a year. There was plenty of work to be done inside the house and it was hard to know exactly how we would want to use the yard long term when we first moved in. 

Over the spring and summer bulbs continued to pop up, seemingly out of nowhere, and unfortunately, so did the weeds. We enjoyed the bursts of color, but by late summer the yard had become so out of control that Ryan had to take a weed whacker to the hip high grasses and dandelions.

In August we brought home a new addition to the family, Miss McKinney, and we knew that this born retriever was going to need a lawn for many, many future games of fetch. Even in her incredible cuteness it's hard to look past the mess of weeds she's laying in.

As the fall progressed our plans began to take shape. Then, in mid-December, I went out of town for a girls weekend with my mom and sister, and this happened.

We knew after Ryan spent the entire weekend wading through the lakes that our front and back yards had become that we would need to add some serious drainage. 

And come spring we got down on our hands and knees, weeding like crazy and trying to get the yard back to square one. It was hard for me seeing the lush greens of spring being pulled out to reveal brown earth below, but I tried to remember it was all in the name of progress.

There were many weekends of work that brought us to this particular point. We took down 17 trees in the backyard, transplanted anything we were planning to keep in the yard, pulled out LOTS OF ROCK, trenched, and rain drainage and irrigation among other things. I'll try to post about most of these projects, because they are worthwhile and we learned a lot as we went. But for now, we're at ground zero and looking to turn our bare earth into a lush green lawn and slate stone patio.

In the words of the great Ira Glass: Stay with us.

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