Skid Steer 1, Tennis Court 0

Two days before I left for Thailand, we pulled the trigger on one of the biggest backyard projects: the removal of the tennis courts in the backyard. In case you didn't know, let me assure you that while a tennis court may be expensive to maintain, it is exorbitant to remove. (It takes a lot of time, machinery, and disposal fees.) So for this stage, we just tackled one of the tennis courts -- in the area that Bill spent all last year clearing.

We got a quote, and decided to act.

When you are willing to write a check, it's amazing what you can accomplish. The next morning a crew showed up with a skid steer, a jackhammer, and a giant truck for hauling debris. They cut down all of the trees along the property line, cleared away all the brush and trash that had accumulated, and tore up the tennis court. It was a glorious site to behold.

Ta Da!

I didn't get to see the finished product until I got home -- and WOW is it a difference. The entire space is flat as a pancake, and mercifully free of weeds. 

We're currently plotting our next move back there, including:

  • Putting a new, better fence up along the property line. Because this area will eventually be a massive garden, it's imperative that we have a deer-proof fence. And since Bill wants to do an entire wall of espalier trees, we're looking at a lattice structure about 8 feet tall. That will give us protection from deer, a structure to espalier the trees against, and some privacy from the road.
  • Finalizing the garden layout, including the location of raised beds, a new water line, an area for composting, a greenhouse for wintering plants, and a long table with a sink for harvesting veggies and re-potting herbs. Bill has a pretty solid design in mind, but we need to revisit it again and confirm that we're happy before we start buying supplies.
  • Building the raised garden beds. I want them to be brick (like this version, which would mimic our brick house beautifully), while Bill is arguing for some kind of wood (like this version) or possibly wood-metal combination (like this version). There are going to be a LOT of raised beds, so we need to carefully consider cost, time to build, and longevity. 

We also need to figure out what we're going to do with the ground -- should we try to suppress the grass (and inevitable weeds) by laying down a barrier and covering it with stones or mulch? Or should we allow the grass to grow up (less maintenance, but more headache with weeds)? These and other questions are the frequent topics of conversation at The Manor these days. If you have an opinion (especially if you agree with me!), leave a comment.