Adventures in Landscaping: Demo is for Demolition

Even though Jessie was busy not hanging out with me this past weekend, I managed to get a head start on our landscaping project.

Before we rebuild my stone patio and plant verdant new flowers all over the place, we need to get rid of what’s currently there. This includes some leftover features from the previous owners, as well as some things the wife and I have decided to get rid of and start anew.

This will start up front, the only part of our yard that our neighbors can really see. The previous owners designed this area as a… garden… box? Except they had chain link fences leaning against those metal poles. Not attached. Just leaning lazily for no apparent reason.

There was also an 18″-high garden box on the side of the house, which had been contributing to flooding in our basement. That’s long gone. As you can see, the 8″ layer of topsoil sitting above our driveway was hemmed in by shoddy wooden boards and metal pipes.

This all had to go.


My father-in-law was in town, and he helped me yank out the metal poles with his truck.

As you can see, these pole were sunk super deep into our yard, and cemented. I have no idea why. One of the poles, we managed to wiggle loose and pull out intact. The other two, we broke off and left the “roots” for someone else to find in 100 years.

There’s a fourth pole 4 inches from the side of my house that also needs to go. I just don’t want to damage my house getting it out. I think I’ll need to dig it out by hand.

The three smaller pipes were easier to get out, but no less mind-boggling. Why use 3′ pipes to hold in a 6″ board for a garden? The world my never know.

The boards and the metal have been removed and taken to the dump, so now we just have a patch of topsoil and weeds sitting 6″ higher than our driveway.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Rebuild the fence, which means getting rid of the old shitty part (painted dark brown above), and adding onto the newer part to extend all the way across the driveway.
  2. Then, we need to get rid of the dirt to level out this ground with the driveway. The hardest part will be finding somewhere to put what will likely be 10+ wheelbarrows-full of dirt.
  3. We’ll fill in the 4′ strip along the side of the house with gravel to help with drainage, and to have a decent place to store our trash cans that’s easily accessible. We might hem them in with a 3′ fence, too.
  4. Fill in the dirt patch with a rock garden: large rocks and a few nice shrubs.

We won’t really use this front area for anything, since we have a large yard behind the fence. So the goal for this area is curb appeal. We’ll make it look nice and easy to maintain, and that’s about it.

Demolition will continue tonight and tomorrow evening. We’ll be taking down trees, ripping up an old stone patio (to rebuild it anew), and moving a whole lot of dirt.

May the heavy manual labor ensue!

Steve D

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