As we look back at pictures of what the yard and gardens at the Retro Ranch looked like in our first spring at the Ranch, the transformation since then is rather amazing.
A year or so ago, Beth hired a landscape architect to help develop ideas and plans to further enhance the back yard and gardens. The plans include a fence across the back and part of the side yard along with extensive landscape changes. Unfortunately, two things are delaying implementing these designs, the first is funding the projects and the second is the pending development on the vacant lots behind us and down the hillside. There have been plans on the books for several years to put a 4-unit condo diagonally behind the Ranch. The plans include a fence and they could possibly need a grading easement so it doesn’t make much sense for us to build a fence while this is uncertain.
This has not stopped Beth from upgrading the landscaping in other parts of the yard however. Over the last year and a half, as we removed the rocks by the driveway, we refreshed those gardens and added a plethora of delightful new plants. Another thing I need to mention about Beth’s landscaping is she likes to rearrange – continually. Each year multiple plants are dug up and moved to other parts of the yard and more get added. (Beth notes that you have to put plants where they’ll be happy and, she could have worse hobbies!)
Two weekends ago, we tackled the biggest landscaping project in some time at the Ranch. Adding compost mulch to all of the gardens and landscaping a border garden where we had removed arborvitae that were long past their prime. One of our main goals was to correct the grading on the side of the house where the roots from the now extinct arborvitae had created a drainage issue.
On Friday various deliveries were arranged. Two cubic yards of mushroom compost mulch was deposited on the street and driveway and a bit later, a multitude of trees, shrubs and other delights arrived. I knew I had my work cut out for me. The plan was to spread as much of the mulch as possible on Saturday. On Sunday, we were going to rent a tiller, which also meant renting a truck, to prepare the garden for the plants and to prep the land on the side of the house to get the grade right.
On Saturday morning it looked like Mother Nature was going to have a great laugh at our expense as the skies opened up early and the mulch mountain made a perfect dam for the rain water on the street and driveway. Fortunately, after the initial deluge, it turned into a beautiful day and I /we were able to spread the mulch over all of the garden areas except where we planned to till.
Sunday Funday logistics - As you know, truck and equipment rental is based on time. We rented a pick-up truck from U-Haul and headed to The Home Depot for the tiller and ramps. We had to have the tiller back in 4 hours (cleaned and refueled) so there was no time to waste. We had the utility companies mark where the lines were so we didn’t dig up any cables or pipes. We had also consulted with our neighbor so we could till the entire area (in her yard too) to get the grade corrected.
Arriving back at the ranch the tiller was unloaded and off we went. Multiple passes were made and we uncovered more “treasures”; roots, plastic sheeting, rocks (and more rocks) and an inexplicable metal bar and companion.
After nearly 3 hours of tilling work, the tiller was washed, refueled and returned to The Home Depot, with 20 minutes to spare. The pick-up truck was returned but the fun was not done at the Ranch. Now that the ground was tilled it was time to plant. I was beat but there was rain in the forecast for Monday so the show must go on. The trees and plants were positioned and their holes dug. After the planting the rest of the compost mulch was spread (and I collapsed.) We both felt a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.
It seems like the long-legged rats with antlers (deer) also liked what Beth had selected, as Monday morning we awoke to some of the plants having been “trimmed” by hungry deer. Beth got some “Deer-Be-Gone” spray at the garden center that seems to have stopped their noshing since.
So what’s left to do? I am in the process of screening out all of the rocks along the side of the house. We will have that completed in May so we can compete the grading work and be ready for whatever Beth has in mind for there. Phew!