I've said it before and I'll say it again: Our yard is weird.
Our house is built into a cross slope, which means . . . we have a steep, downward slope -- in two directions. Because of the hill, our front yard is completely dominated by this (rather extreme) hill. To manage the sloping front yard, we depend on retaining walls. There are two: A long, high stone wall that moves across much of the front of the yard, and then a two-tiered timber wall up at the front of the house along one side.
In the nearly 30 years since our house was built (we've been here for 14 years), the original retaining walls have gotten a bit . . . tired. These two retaining walls have been evolving into, well, eye-sores for a while now.
(Just as a side note . . . I don't garden much in the front of our house. The gardens I spend most of my time growing and tending are in our backyard. Where the slope is less extreme, and where we spend most of our time.)
Here's a photo of our front wall taken early last spring as Tom was . . . considering and assessing the situation. Which wasn't good.
English ivy (planted by the former owners) had taken over the rock wall. Should we pull it off? Would it look better? (No.)
Weed-trees had rooted themselves between the boulders. Impossible to pull them out, though. The only option was to cut them back. (Ugh.)
Boulders were dislodging and rolling off the wall and into the lawn below. (Landslide waiting to happen.)
Ground bees had nested behind the boulders. (And there were likely snakes comfortably sitting behind that ivy.)
Plus . . . the whole thing was just not attractive anymore.
And up at the house? Things were no better. The timbers were ugly -- and rotting. There were gaps. And weeds. And bees. Plus, the wall was no longer . . . retaining! Soil was washing out, and our front porch was collapsing.
Tom - always willing to tackle a challenge - watched a few You Tube videos about building retaining walls. But with a job of this scope, he knew right away that he was out of his league. So we called in a landscape architect last spring. He gave us options and designed new walls for us.
And then we waited. With the wedding and other summer vacations and plans, we asked to be put on the schedule for fall. Knowing that we were going to be tearing the front yard up come fall, we just let everything go, garden-wise, up front . . . all summer long. (Which was kind of freeing, y'know?)
Here are photos from the morning the work began (and after we had rescued the few plants I wanted to save).
The work itself took about two weeks. Two weeks of mess, noise, and WAY more tearing up of our lawn than I anticipated. (Because I just failed to realize what two bobcats would do, y'know?)
The project is finished now, though. And I must say . . . it turned out better than I ever imagined!
We love it.
(And . . . look at that blank gardening canvas, would you?)
If you're ever in the neighborhood, be sure to come around front, okay?