All of these before pictures were done approximately one year ago. It is really amazing just how much changes in one year, even if it is only winter time you can still see some major differences. The main differences being that we now have grass. Grass is good, grass is GREAT! It pretty much stops erosion; especially in the winter; is a very nice color (green), and helps to hold the whole landscape together; both literally and figuratively.
We start with the newly constructed pond. It has been just over one year since I opened this pond up. It is taking me longer than I had expected to get the balance just right for the fish and water clarity, but it is coming along okay. I have added drift roses around the far perimeter, almost finished the brick patio, and some ornamentation. The pond is now looking like it has always been here and not as though it is still newly constructed.
The entire build site suffered severely from the build process. Not only did we have about one to two feet of topsoil bulldozed out of the way for the house, but we had the complete frontyard dug up and trenched to a depth of five feet in order to put the geothermal lines in the ground. The backyard was dug up for the septic system and curtain drain, and the side yard had a well drilled. Needless to say going into 2015 we had a mess on our hands. Think mud, mud, and more mud. Throw in some rocks and you pretty much have the picture.
One year later we can now see some green. This green is deceptive though. I put over 100 pounds of KY-31 fescue seed on the back and frontyards in the fall of 2014. Some of it germinated but most did not or what did perished over the summer last year. With no fescue, weeds like crabgrass and ragweed quickly moved into this area. While those weeds were green during the summer and could be mowed, they quickly disappeared once the weather turned cold in the fall. I then spread another 50 pounds of KY-31 on the frontyard. The lush green you see is a result of that seed germinating. These young seedlings are very tender and not well established so we have to be careful when we walk on the yard. Nonetheless, it is green and not brown anymore. I hope these seedlings grow well come this spring so that I don't have as many weeds as last summer.
Looking west down the frontyard we really see the damage done to the ground due to all the digging and traffic. Little trenches caused by the winter rains are quite obvious. The railroad ties are patiently awaiting the time when Mr. Fix-it and I can place them in the vegetable garden. The newly planted sawtooth oak tree is doing okay.
One year later we now have a bunch of newly grown seedlings of the KY-31 grass. There are still tons of bare spots but I will slowly work on those. Most of the erosion has stopped but I still have a lot of problem areas to work out. The railroad ties are in place in the vegetable garden and the workings of a new patio are in place to the left of the picture. I hope to finish this patio soon. I'll be using leftover bricks from the house build. I did all of the clean up from the house build and through salvaging the culled bricks I managed to recover three pallets of leftover bricks! Even though these bricks have holes in them I will be placing them on their side around a firepit and I think the final outcome should be quite nice. Not to mention I found a productive way to use all the leftover brick-free-might I add.
The five foot deep trenches for the geothermal lines meant the area of the frontyard would settle quite a bit. In some areas I had to backfill more than a foot in order to compensate for settling. All of the leftover topsoil was respread upon the property and I did all of the fine grading. I asked my backhoe guy to just pile up leftover topsoil in this area of the vegetable garden because not only did I want to compensate for settling, but I wanted raised beds in the vegetable garden. I think most of the settling and backfilling is over now and the vegetable garden; while not completely finished; has come a long way.
The same area now with its beds of irises and raised beds of vegetables (though there is not much growing right now). This is the west side of the garden.
The center of the garden contains a raised strawberry bed; which was put in place fairly quickly last year.
I also added a raised herb bed and more vegetable beds. I mulched the paths with crush n run gravel.
The east side of the vegetable garden with its piles of dirt awaiting proper placement.
Now the beds are all made up and everything is in place. Grass is still quite bare or even nonexistent in a good amount of places. I know from experience it takes a few years to get a good lawn going and I have patience (do I have a choice???). Here's hoping....
in the garden....