What was existing?
When we purchased our home, the back yard was nice enough. Had some hedges across the backyard wall, a few raised planting beds, a small shed, and was full of rocks. It wasn’t exactly a blank canvas, but there was definitely work that needed to be done if it was going to be our “Garden Oasis”.
Let the games begin!
This spring (2019), we decided that we might as well get started. At this point, it hadn’t happened on its own and it wasn’t likely that it was going to. Time to get some of the heavy lifting done before summer arrived, which in central Arizona can be anytime after mid-March. First step in the process was for the shrubs to come out. It took the better part of one Saturday to get the bulk of the shrubs cut back to stumps. The next day, we loaded them into the back of the truck and headed to the local landfill, which happened to be closed, but one of the maintenance workers allowed us to dump what we had, and directed us where we would need to take the next load. And yes, there was a second load. Two full truck loads and looking so much better. A few weeks later, we started working on removing the stumps. It took the better part of the morning, but we got it done!
Now that there is a clean-ish slate and summer has arrived, planning from the comfort of the air conditioned house seems like a wise decision. During this process, it was determined that we would come up with a plan for the majority of the backyard, not just the garden beds. We will remove the central planter and fountain, create a grassy area near the patio, create an area in the center section of the yard for the fountain, the fire pit, and a spot for the dog pool, and the garden will happen in the area closest to the back wall. Below is one of the drawings (aka paper dolls), that helped to determine how much space should be dedicated to each section. Also, we need to make sure there is room for a friendly game of horseshoes, corn-hole, or washers. Other pictures were borrowed from Pinterest as part of our ultimate vision. We will tackle each section in phases. The garden portion or the yard is the first priority. Having fresh, organic (or at least heirloom) vegetables at hand is key! Phase II will be the section closest to the house that includes the grassy area. and the center section will be the final phase, which will either require electrical to be run to the fountain area, or we will need to look into a solar pump which would be my preference.
One small scale project that seemed to be easy enough to manage during these warm summer days was our “worm condo”. We have been talking for some time about composting. We would like to eventually have a compost tumbler, but it is not currently in the budget. I need to start somewhere. I found YouTube videos and Pinterest pins about worm composting. This seemed like it would fit into the budget and be a fairly quick project. Done out of necessity to stop throwing good money in the trash, by way of unused, past-prime vegetables. The project took only a few hours from start to finish. See the entire project covered in a blog post.