Backyard Makeover: Part 1 – Starting is the Hardest Part

For most jobs, starting is the hardest part. Our backyard makeover is no exception. Check out our our to do list for turning our untamed jungle into a usable, relaxing yard.

We want to let you know that this post will be an ongoing segment – check back to find out if complete everything on our list and to see the changes.

A little background:

When we bought this house a year ago, we knew the garden needed some love.  The previous owner was an avid gardener so there are some interesting plants and trees. Unfortunately, once she passed away it wasn’t kept up as well so the yard was already a bit unruly when we took possession. Denise and I were focused on updating the inside of the house and adding the rental suite in the basement last year.  As such, we didn’t do much in the back yard.  Needless to say, the yard has been neglected for some time. It feels overwhelming and like a beast of a job but starting is the hardest part.

Here are some photos of where our back yard is starting:

Starting is the hardest part: Weeds and various plants clutter this area

Starting is the hardest part: The overgrown grass is desperate for a trim












Starting is the hardest part

As you can see, there is a lot of work to do. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and this job won’t be done in one either.

Here’s our epic to do list:

  • Pick up dog poop
  • Replace the fence that’s falling over
  • Fix the gates
  • Tame the weeds (the copious number of weeds!)
  • Prune the trees
  • Remove excess trees
  • Kill moss
  • Pick up dog poop
  • Pressure wash the walkways
  • Add raised beds
  • Declutter the multiple arbours
  • Add a hammock (or 2)
  • Pick up dog poop
  • Privacy screening around basement windows
  • Create more grass area
  • Add a pergola or fire pit

Now that it’s listed, it doesn’t seem so bad (famous last words?).

Let’s get started!

May 21, 2017 (Sean)

The lush wilds of the backyard must be tamed! If we don’t come back, warn others of the peril in this jungle.

Today I got in a solid 30 mins of work.  I have cleared away several overhanging rose branches and trimmed away what I thought was dead vine; I might have killed a plant. What can I say; it’s a harsh reality in the jungle.

May 22 2017 (Sean)

Denise and I worked out there for several hours and her parents joined us at one point. We all ripped out plants by the armful. You know what they say, many arms make light work. We hope none of those were important. We decided that our definition of a weed is a plant in the wrong place. At one point, I fell a couple small trees! We trimmed the grass to a reasonable length.

Starting is the hardest part: a forest of weeds has been whacked down

Starting is the hardest part: nice and clear for a future hammock (soon to come)












What a difference some weeding and weed whacking makes!

Here’s what we completed in the time that we had:
  • Picked up dog poop
  • Pruned roses along driveway
  • Trimmed grass
  • Removed weeds (but more to go)
  • Clipped branches
  • Cut 2 small trees (still need to remove stumps)
  • Got corrected by Compromised with Denise on actual plan for the yard
  • Helped clean dog poop out of Denise’s dad’s shoe (the grass was long, it was easy to miss!)


Starting is the hardest part but we’re glad we got going. We’re looking forward to our next foray into the wild and are pleased with the progress.

What are you planning for your outdoor space this year?  Let us know in the comments…


Sean and Denise



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