Saturday, October 8

The Sideyard

Over the past couple of years my side yards have been sadly neglected. They've provided some headaches in the fall when piles of leaves as tall as the fence blow into them and they are so shaded that almost nothing will grow.

Say hi to Ollie!
A few months ago my aunt helped me come up with a cohesive plan to make my yard a mini-paradise. I started pulling together the side yard to the west of my house by adding stepping stones.

Eventually these stepping stones will continue through the rest of the side yard around to the deck (see more about that here), but they currently stop at the gate. Just on the other side of the gate a path made of concrete stepping stones impeded my progress with the pretty stones I bought. I've been intending to pull the concrete stones up, but it wasn't high on the priority list.

However, last weekend the weather was nice and I was feeling motivated so I went out and got to work. I made several discoveries. For one the concrete path didn't even go halfway up the side yard. I wasn't sure until I got started because most of the stones were covered in a layer of dirt and leaves, leaving them invisible (and useless when rain turned the side yard into a mud pit).

When I was pulling up stones though I found this:
The concrete pad was coated with about
4 inches of dirt, as you can see there were
even plants growing on top of it!
I quickly scraped the layer of dirt off the pad and used the dirt to fill in the area where I had removed the concrete stepping stones. Most of the stones were broken, but some were still in one piece. Even as I was pulling them up I was trying to think of ways I could put them to use. Other than the fact that they were pretty grimy and not the style of stepping stones I wanted there was nothing wrong with them. So when I found the concrete pad I had a brilliant idea.

As you can see from the picture above that first step out the door is a doozy. That side door leads into the garage by the way. I don't use it often, but that's partially because I have a bunch of junk blocking the door from the garage side. Doesn't mean the side yard entrance shouldn't be useful though!

I took the unbroken stepping stones and created this:

Ok, maybe this isn't the most attractive staircase you've ever seen. It is stable though and it gives those concrete stones a new purpose. Plus it means that when you first step out of the garage there won't be a foot high drop. Ironically I had exactly 12 unbroken stepping stones. Perfect!

I don't think I have a before picture to let you understand how much better my side yard already looks. Maybe I subconsciously avoided taking a camera into that part of the yard. However, I'm excited to start work on making the problem areas of my yard more appealing.

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