Marathon Yard Weekend

Hi everybody!  I hope you had a great weekend and that the weather cooperated if you had outdoor plans.  We’re taking a break from recapping our Paris trip to share a project we tackled this weekend in our yard.

When we bought our house almost exactly 3 years ago, the back yard looked like this.

Back Yard May 2008

We loved the privacy and huge trees and decided we could overlook that 30-year old play fort for the time being.

Play Fort May 2008

One thing we didn’t love was the wire fencing enclosing our back yard.

View to Trail May 2008

In addition to being ugly, the fencing served as a leaf catcher and ladder for vines to grow up into our beautiful trees.

Back Corner May 2008

The previous owners had all kinds of anchors, landscaping timbers, and barbed wire attached to the fence – maybe they kept small animals back here and didn’t want them digging out?  Either way, those additions made the fence look worse than it already did.

View to Field May 2008

The far right side of our yard was the only section with a proper privacy fence, and even that had been neglected over time.

Privacy Fence May 2008

Starting at the front of our long driveway, the metal fencing snaked through the bushes and around the trees all the way to the back corner where it met up with the wood privacy fence.

Driveway Fall 2009

The fence made raking leaves a nightmare, so the leaves would pile up and create a perfect home for ants, vermin, and mosquitos.  I even saw a snake slither its way into this pile once.  Eww!

Fence Before

Fast forward 3 years to this past weekend, and the wire fencing was still going strong.  (Notice something missing?  The play fort was removed a couple of years ago for free by people we found on Craigslist!)  Since my mom was in town and my brother was out of school, we decided it would be a perfect opportunity to get rid of the wire fence and clean up those leaves.

We’re no strangers to marathon yard work weekends – see other examples here, here, and here.

Back Yard Before

In our neighborhood, most owners consider natural landscaping quaint and pretty, but the overgrown border of our yard was way beyond “quaint.”

Back Yard Fence Line Before

As we started removing the fence, we discovered just how bad the fence line had become.  In certain spots, there were probably (no exaggeration) 30 vines per foot growing up through the fence and into the tree canopy above.

Close Up of Fence Before

With the help of my mom and brother, we started working Saturday morning at the front of our driveway.  Stephen had a manual fence cutter that he used to snap the metal fence off the posts.  In some spots, trees and bushes had grown through and even around the fence.

Driveway Fence Being Removed

Here’s a shot of my mom and brother trying to rip the fence out of those bushes with the manual cutter.  You can see where they’d already removed a big section that had been in front of that green trash can.

Removing Driveway Fence

This was the culprit!  I could feel our yard breathing a sigh of relief as this fence was removed.

The Culprit - Metal Fencing

The view from the left side of our yard looked so much better sans fence.

No More Fence by Path

The back corner of the yard was where things got really dicey.  30 years of shrubs, climbing roses, and poison ivy made even finding the fence a chore.  There was even a grapevine as thick as my arm growing through and around the wires (left side of the photo). Stephen and my brother spent probably an hour clearing the area to pull the fence out as mom and I carried away pile after pile of shrubs.

Clearing Fence Back Corner

Earlier in the day, we decided that a $50 pneumatic cutting tool would be well worth the expense to remove that fence as quickly as possible.  It really came in handy in this back corner.

Pneumatic Cutter

We also worked to clear the honeysuckle and vines from the wood privacy fence.  Those trees were in serious need of a pruning and looked so much better when we were done.

Cleared Privacy Fence

This was just a handful of the timbers we removed as we pulled out the fence.  WHY do you think 3 foot rebars were necessary for holding those timbers in place???

Landscaping Timbers

Once we had all the fence removed and folded into neat little piles, we were done for the day.  Stephen posted an ad on Craigslist for “free wire fencing for anybody who wants to pick it up and take it to the scrap yard.”  Less than an hour later, the fencing was gone – loaded up by some young guys who lived nearby.

Fence Removed

Yesterday, we spent about half the day pulling vines from trees and clearing out everything but the established trees that hadn’t been damaged by the fence removal.  The view from our deck went from this…

Starting to Clear the Shrubs

to this in a matter of 4 or 5 hours!

Back Yard Shrubs 1/2 Cleared

We still have the second half of our back border to clear, but we’re so happy with our progress so far!  Now it’s time to see if we can pay somebody 50 bucks or so to come take this off our hands.

Vines Removed

Wish us luck – I’m not sure you could pay ME to move that pile of brush and brambles! Anybody else tackle a yard project this weekend?

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