September 16, 2013

more shurb progress

A few weeks ago the husband and brother-in-law dug out a bunch of the shrubs on our list! It was a beautiful weekend, but pretty hot for that kind of work, so I give them major credit for doing all that hard work in the sun and humidity. Pictures may not do it justice, but the area behind the house feels so much bigger now. It was going to serve as a walkway and place to store trash cans, and it now feels like a space we could really use. It's pretty amazing what a small change can do to your perception. What would have been a waste of space, we now realize could be our patio. Putting our patio behind the house solves a lot of issues we would have to deal with if it was on the side of the house, as we initially planned, but it also brings up some questions.

----- problems with installing patio: side of house -----
- two major downspouts empty into the side yard, so we would have to deal with a drainage system underneath or near the patio
- the yard is sloped and bumpy so we'd have to put a lot of work into leveling it for the patio
- we'd lose a lot of space in the side yard

----- problem with installing patio: back of house -----
- overhead power lines run along the fence line, so we'd have to check if we can have a stone patio, patio furniture, and umbrella underneath them.

I have before and afters but no actions shots, I can't believe I didn't take any! Sorry guys, I know how much work you did!

One of the worst is out! It was basically just twigs at this point, so I'm excited to plant something new that is made to go in the shade. I'm thinking something lush and green that doesn't grow too tall.

This little guy is out, which give us the ability to actually do something with this currently useless corner. You can see our neighbor's home in the 'after' picture, so we need to address that, along with the fence that's falling apart.

Amazing how much space these two took up! I think something along the lines of Emerald Arborvitae will be perfect to plant along the house here, they'll hide the air conditioner and trash cans.

This shrub was just out of control, it was hard to get around and wasn't even that pretty to look at. The 'after' picture shows how much space we have now, and look at all the dead branches piled up! When the husband laid everything out for yard waste on the curb, it took up the entire length of our house! 

There's one thing that I didn't talk about yet, which made a huge difference inside and outside our home, the awnings. You can see them clearly in this 'before and after'. I think one can argue that it looked good before, it looked clean, there was cover when you came out the back door, and things like meters were hidden. I understand that, but the amount of light that poured into our home after those things were taken off is unbelievable. And once again, I have to thank my brother-in-law for helping the  husband with this project. I was travelling for work and they surprised me by taking them off all in one day, without a ladder! Seriously amazing! As for things looking kind of dingy right now, well, things need to get worse before they get better, right? On a side note, we didn't have any way of getting these to the recycling facility, so I put them on Craigslist and got a million responses. A pretty shady guy picked them up, but hey, they're officially gone!

So here is the most clear 'before and after'. There is a lot more space to work with! The power lines will be an issue we have to address but that'll take some township code research, which can be found online.

I'll have to draw out some ideas to see if this would actually work, and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of making a patio in the back versus in the side yard. Sketches to come!

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