Monday, October 1, 2012

Backyard Renovation - Part 1: Tree Removal

When we moved into our new house nine months ago, I knew our first big project would to redo the backyard. It was very wooded, overgrown and, frankly, not a safe place for children to play. Still, there was something "wild" about it that was fun in the snow and even in the early spring when the trees were just opening and the moss covered the floor. But we rarely used it.

Here's how it looked in April:

 View from one side of the patio. 
The property is up on a hill, so the houses behind ours are down a steep slope. 
It's actually very private up here.

 Looking east, across the yard. 
From where this photo was taken, the yard slopes gently downward (east) and steeply off to the right (south).

View from highest elevation looking back to the house and patio. 
Can you see my blue house behind the overgrown shrubs??

 A very neglected yard has become overgrown with weeds, maple saplings and piles of yard waste.

During the summer, the tree canopies were very dense and very little light came through. It provided a nice break from the heat, but the mosquitos were unbearable!

 View of the backyard from the upstairs windows.

In the early spring, we met with a landscape architect, who drew up beautiful plans for our yard. I mainly wanted a large grassy area for the kids to play, but also enough gardens for me to "play."

After months of surveys and getting approvals from the town, we finally got the green light to begin the project! The first step was to clear away the overgrown shrubs and cut down a bunch of the trees.

A worker removes the andromedia, rhododendron and mountain laurel behind the patio wall.

 I was fascinated watching these guys climb the trees to cut the branches!

 Clearing the final trunks away.

 Finally - sunlight streams in! I can't believe the transformation.

The clearing. Wow!

Dappled sun the next morning. A lot was removed, but it still looks wooded and tranquil.

Over the next few weeks, the ground will be leveled, a retaining wall will be constructed and a fence will enclose beautiful new plantings.

See the progression here:
Part 2: Retaining Wall

Part 3: The Fence
Part 4: Boulder Retaining Wall


  1. I did like the way the property looked at first because of the woodland look-and-feel to it but practically speaking, it was much too great a home for mosquitos, which you discovered. Now you have a blank palette! I will watch with great interest to see what was done next!

  2. Thanks for the post Astrid! So happy you are following along. Lots of construction vehicles in my yard at the moment - should have more to report this weekend.

  3. I'm amazed at the space there now, I couldn't imagine how frustrated I would be if I moved into a home with such a gorgeous back yard like that but the main portion is filled with trees. Can't wait to see what you deck it out with!

    -Ken Nicely

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  6. Oh, I love what you've done with your backyard, it's so beautiful! I called a Surrey tree service company my sister said she trusts for mine, but yours is lovely. I love having a balance of trees, light, and open space in a yard, which is exactly what you've done! I can't wait to see more of your lovely garden pictures!

    Roxanne Rook | The Arborist


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