I have been looking at my yard and the mess it is in and I have decided that this year will be a year of change! I have 1/3 of an acre and the front and back yards are both fairly large. There is a chain link fence around most of the property except for the driveway which is fenced down two sides with the side into the street open; the back yard has a tall, wood fence. There is no lawn…apparently the former owners used the front yard as a mini bike track for their kids and there is still a raised track in it and the back yard for growing vegetables (there were still ridged furrows in the back yard when I moved in). Along the street side of the yard, crowding the chain link fence is a small jungle of mostly ‘volunteer’ trees and bushes which I have been unable to remove although I have tried several times….I think it is time to hire someone to clear it.

Not only have my sister and I divided the house between the two us, but we also divided the yard….the back yard is hers and the front yard is mine. It’s not a rigid division, but for the most part the front yard is mine to design as I choose. My son-in-law used to try to get a lawn going when he and my daughter lived here. He went over it several times, scattering grass seed and weeder, but….there still isn’t a lawn. The yard turns green in the winter from all the rain, but most of the growth is weeds and I think if I really want lawn I will have to till it and then bring in some grass plugs…..just as soon as it dries out again.

If I am going to mark off an area for grass, it would probably be a good idea to make a blueprint of the yard first and decide what is to go where. I have already planted a peonie and several hollyhocks…I got a little impatient, but they won’t interfere with putting in a plot of grass. I have several rose bushes to plant and will probably need to buy some more. I want to put them in a plot together with stepping stones separating them from the plants along the fence. I think my plan is getting clearer in my mind. Exciting…give me a little sunshine and I am ready and raring to go! Next step….move over to the patio in front of the entryway into the house.!

I know it’s still technically winter, but temperatures here in Northern California have been fairly mild; lots of snow in the mountains with lots of rain in the valley, but the valley temperatures are from the high thirties into the seventies, so I’ve sort of jumped the gun a little. I dug up an area along the front fence line on both sides and have already put in new plants. I am eager to get a head start and I feel confidant that these plants will do just fine.

Zoysia grass plug

Now I have a whole new set of plans bouncing around in my head and with the nice, sunshiny days we have been having in between rain storms I can’t wait to get started. Part of the fence line needs to be changed; most of the pots will be moved and replanted and I want to build a living wall across a part of the driveway that extends along the south side of the house. Ideas and plans are nagging at me! I want to plant a couple of trees along the south side of the house, put in a length of rolled bamboo against the chain link fence to help hide the ugly yard behind the neighbor’s house; plant shrubs along the foundation on the south side; it’s going to take me months to get it the way it looks in my mind, but I am looking forward to it. I have a plan and I am armed and ready!!!

Lady Banks Climbing Rose

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