Reclaiming the jungle

Landscaping is a multi-phased project here on the farm. I’m not entirely sure what phase we’re in now, but I looked back through the archives and the first time I posted about this area of the property was four years ago. Holy moly.

The back of the house has been a wee bit overgrown. As in we just let it go. Not the prettiest view out the kitchen window.

Overgrown weeds at the back of the house

There were so many rocks and weeds it was unmowable. But I wasn’t prepared to put in the work to make it a flower garden either.

We left it alone. Surprisingly, it didn’t improve.

Then two years ago we covered most of the mess with a tarp. Which wasn’t really much of an improvement either.

Tarp covering the backyard

We left it alone again. For two more years.

But at the start of this July, I finally lifted the tarp.

Hello rocks. Fancy finding you here. But the weeds had mostly died, so that was a bonus.

Picking up rocks

With some raking, digging, leveling, a wee bit of sawing and mowing for some of the more stubborn brush, and finally seeding and watering, we ended the day with something that we thought could someday be a lawn.

Seeding the backyard

The local wildlife came by to check out the transformation. The snakes particularly seemed to enjoy the cleared dirt.

Milk snake

Our usual inspector came by too. Hello Ralph. And hello sprouts!

Ralph inspecting the newly sown grass

Three week later, hello electric green lawn.

New lawn

We still have some blending to do and a few thin spots to fill in (plus I’d love to break up that concrete beside the steps).

And of course that black tarp is still hanging around. Hopefully the weeds closest to the house die over the next few weeks and I can seed that area this fall. Who knows what phase we’ll be at by that point.

Do you have an overgrown area that you’re reclaiming? Have you ever used the tarp technique to deal with weeds? Are you a seed or sod person? Is anyone else’s property overrun with rocks? Who else has snakes slithering by?

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11 thoughts on “Reclaiming the jungle

    • I hadn’t seen milk snakes before moving to the farm (and I grew up just a half hour from here). It’s been a serious season for snakes here. I’m not surprised when I see them anymore because they’re so plentiful this year.

      When I got into the shower, I peaked out the bathroom window to admire my handiwork with the lawn. I spotted a garter snake was crawling over the dirt. When I got out of the shower, this milk snake had taken his place.

  1. That’s a heck of a transformation! Looks great. How big was that snake, anyways??
    I think I am a sod person with a seed budget. I always WANT the kind of lawn you have to pay big buckaroos to get, but can’t quite muster it. We did re-sod the lawn in our last house on the semi-cheap. We rented the roller and went out in the country and brought home this inexpensive sod from someone’s acreage, but the end result showed our halfway-there budget, lol. That tarp method looks like something I should try on our veggie garden to prepare it for rototilling in the fall. The only problem is my daughter’s white kitten, who is living with us for a few months while Claire travels around southeast Asia, LOVES the long grass and always curls up in the sun. I hate to take it away from him!

    • It was a pretty good size snake. Maybe two feet long? (I want to say three, but I’m probably using a man’s measuring perspective in that scenario). 🙂

      I know what you mean about a sunny nest in the grass. Ralphie has a couple of spots by the front door where the grass in the corners gets a bit long. Those are her favourite spots to curl up in the morning.

  2. What a transformation! Your new grass looks electric!

    We had a snake in our yard this spring but have not seen any since, thankfully. I think I have mentioned that Steve and I both are terrified of any snakes. So just keep them all up there if you don’t mind.

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