Since our hands are momentarily tied in regards to interior renovations, Hank and I (mostly Hank) are focusing on the property clean up. First up, removing the dead cedars and live cedars that were taking over the back deck.
I must say, I loved the shade the cedars provided. However, the flies and mosquitos also love them and the rabbits hide under them like crazy. We wanted to open up the view from the deck and kitchen window as well, so we made the decision to remove them and Hank and a couple of buddies made quick work of it.
(There was a point in there, however, when it was my job to take the chainsaw back to the hardware store since it wasn’t working properly. I had tons of awe-filled looks and felt like a total badass strutting through the store and back to the service desk, and as I heaved it up onto the desk, I sheepishly said, “You are about to ask some questions that I’m pretty sure I can’t answer, but I have my husband on speed dial.” Apparently, my idiocy was appreciated – the guy grabbed the chainsaw and said, “Follow me!” and had it cleaned out and running right again in about 30 minutes. I took video on my phone of how to service it for Hank, in case the same thing happens again.)
Cedars are TOUGH to remove. Their trunks are insanely hard, but smell so good. I can’t wait for bonfire night.
I’m actually not a huge fan of wooden decks. They seem to require a lot of maintenance; my favorite material is stone – pavers, concrete, flagstone, brick, etc. But, this deck is COZY. I love sitting out there, and the size of it has been perfect for conversations with friends well past dark already.
Here’s what has been hidden behind all of that overgrown mess.
From the backyard, it could easily go unnoticed. And the views FROM the deck were non-existent.
The guys chopped and sawed and dragged the trees out into the field for that future bonfire.
And now we have views.
We decided on three aspen stands to anchor the deck on the east and south sides. They’re fast growing, provide one of our favorite shimmery sounds when the wind comes through, and they’ll provide really pretty dappled shade as they grow. The white bark will be stunning against the dark grey that we’ll paint the house and will be a nice contrast to some ground cover that will wrap around the south side of the house.
On the west side, we planted snowball bushes. As they grow, they can rest back against the support of the deck and its railing and be a welcome view from the drive as you pull in. They’ll bloom from March until May with huge white flower clusters (kind of like a hydrangea, but the bush requires much less water), and after blooming they’ll exhibit red berries to attract birds (which should also help us with flies & mosquitos!). In a couple of years, this area will look amazing.
Here’s a side-by-side photo of before and after cedar removal as viewed from the back corner of the formal yard. The red arrow points to the “hidden” deck.
I was surprised at how much afternoon shade the cottonwood in the west corner provides to the deck. I don’t think we’ll really miss the cedar tree shade, especially since that was mostly morning shade, which doesn’t affect the temperature inside the kitchen very much.
Next up over the next few days is the chicken coop. Ooh this should be fun! :)