I started by pulling all of the sprouts, weeds, and other icky things, then moved on to paring down the yard ornamentation. We had a cast-iron chiminea, courtesy of my folks' generosity... they didn't want it and pawned it off on us last Easter. We also had a plastic-resin park bench which sad sadly in the corner of the garden, just waiting for someone to sit on it. Mind you, I'm not much of a garden-sitter, so the bench has gone unused for the nearly three years that we've lived here. Fortunately, it was inherited along with the house, so I had no real emotional or financial ties to it! The chiminea and the bench were happily re-purposed into the backyard of our friends, Erin and Vinnie. They're getting ready to build a deck and the chiminea will make a lovely addition to their outdoor entertaining space, and the bench will be utilized for photo shoots for Erin's growing photography business (shout-out to EPC Photos!!!) We also moved an old concrete bench that was up against the house and put it over in the corner for a bit of visual interest.
Anyway, once the garden area was clear of ornamentation, we removed the old water feature/pond thing from the center of the "island". Here's how the garden looked many moons ago, when we first bought the house:
Over the course of a year or so, the fountain in the center of the little pond thing stopped working, then the goldfish croaked and the water got all murky and nasty. We replaced the pump, then the liner sprung a leak and we had to replace that, then the replacement pump took a nose-dive too. Seems as though we were never destined to have a water feature in the backyard, huh? Not to mention I found no less than 5 dead birds in the water over the course of two summers... it was pretty horrific to have to scoop them out and plunk them into a Kroger sack for disposal. We had different theories about why the birds died... my dad believed that they were trying to get a drink and got their wings all wet, then couldn't flap their way to safety. I thought that they were flying into the patio door (glass) and getting dazed, then they would flutter back over towards the water and fall in. Regardless, it was pretty gruesome to have a bird-murdering waterscape in the yard, so it had to go.
We removed the water, then the liner came out, and I filled it all in with some gravel (for drainage) then some peat and potting soil. I picked up some lovely herb varieties at The Andersons... Sweet Basil, Genovese Basil, Delfino Cilantro, Greek Oregano, Mojito Mint; then I also had a sage and thyme plant that toughed it out through the winter, thus earning themselves a new plot in the herb garden!
Here's some pics of the new and improved garden space!
(please excuse my mulching messiness...)
Hands down, still my favorite feature of the yard - my lilacs.
I'm not sure how old these shrubs are, but they're very near 20 feet tall!
Next up for the garden? Tomatoes, Zucchinis and Peppers (oh my!)
Happy Renovating (and Gardening)!