We are approaching the one year mark of home-ownership. We signed our names in blood and moved in May 1, 2014. We love our little ranch house and our neighborhood but when we saw the backyard it quickly became clear to us why this house was in our price range. The backyard looked like a set for Jurassic Park.
I guess we saw potential. The emoji 😱 describes our reaction to the yard. Dean thought we were out of our minds. I suppose all those years of watching HGTV Yard Crashers helped me see the potential. On the plus side, it is a small backyard. I pictured clearing out the jungle, replacing the retaining wall with stone (which you can’t even see in the pictures), designating a fire pit area (Joneses have to have fire), planting privacy bushes and grass.
Luckily, we had Harpo on our side to get us started. Boy oh boy did he get us started. I shared a picture in this post of Harpo tearing in to our backyard with nothing but guts, glory and a chainsaw on day two of us living there. He revved that chainsaw and said, “Tear in to it buddy. Ask questions later.” Now, when Harpo calls you “buddy”, you best shut up and show up. That man is on a mission and this is not a “no man left behind” type situation. Harpo WILL leave you behind. So Dean and I had our safety glasses on and said “10-4 Harpo. TEN. FOUR.” Harpo rigged a weed-wacker with a machete-type blade and sent Dean in to the trenches to hack away at the overgrowth. I was given instructions to haul away whatever Dean chopped down. I barely remember all this. I’m certain I blacked out from dragging and cutting brush. After ONE DAY of work, we filled my dad’s truck with what looked like enough brush to burn for a solid week.
Little by little, we hacked away at the jungle. I won’t even pretend that we did all this on our own. We had a LOT of help. In addition to my dad, we had two reinforcements known as Uncle John (my dad’s brother) and Aunt Jane. The “Jones gene” runs thick in their blood, which means they love an excuse to run a chainsaw and they do not sit still for a second. Harpo and Uncle John both had a twinkle in their eyes as they said to me, “We borrowed a 16 foot pole saw just for this yard.” He could not wait to test that bad boy out. Harpo and John would turn to Aunt Jane and if she swiped her hand across her throat, that was the signal to take it down. So while Dean and I were at work, Aunt Jane, Uncle John and Harpo were crashing our yard. When I came home from work, my jaw hit the driveway. The dream team piled up 8+ feet of brush… Uncle John will show you in the picture below. Score: Backyard 0 / Jones crew 1.
Now, if you do not have your own Jones crew to voluntarily transform your backyard… here are some words of advice that they gave to us which we found very encouraging.
- It can be overwhelming. Start in one area and go from there. Once you get going and start piling up the debris you will have the momentum to tackle more;
- Get the right tools – Maybe don’t start with the chainsaw until you know what you’re doing. But Loppers, Weed eater, Hedge trimmer, etc will make your job so much easier. Of course I borrow these from neighbors or my dad whenever I can;
- Remember: It already looks terrible, you won’t make it look any worse.