I said I would wait, but I couldn't.
Which got me thinking about the prior owner (and wife of the guy who built the house). How did she relate to the out of doors? That's when I realized that she kept most of the landscaping to act as a wall between her and the rest of the world. Example: the top picture shows a dark square, just above the blooming bush. That's the front door. Yup. The front door of the house. Hidden behind a huge Korean Spice viburnum and some huge rhododendrons. After I understood her philosophy, I understood why things were the way they were in the yard, and I felt pretty good about making changes. (Note: I talked to a neighbor and friend of the prior owner and he confirmed my understanding.)
My philosophy is a little more outside-based. Grow food, cook outside, lay in the hammock and sometimes sleep outside. No barriers between inside and out. It's difficult with this house. The living level is one floor up, so every trip outside involves a flight of stairs. Not fun, when balancing a tray with raw steak, beer, a magazine and cooking implements on the way down to the grill. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway. I don't have the money to make the big changes I was planning. But now that I understand the philosophy thing, it's easy to take baby steps that cost nothing to implement. Starting with the front door. Bye to three rhododendrons, aggressively pruned to about a foot above ground.
The left side of the sidewalk has an evergreen and another rhody. If it weren't for the viburnum and the evergreen, both sides of this walkway would be perfectly nice, sunny space that could be used for "useful" stuff, like rhubarb, lovage, and other edibles. I'm going to cut down the viburnum and the evergreen, and transplant all of it to somewhere else. If it doesn't survive, I'll be OK. Then I'm going to bring some of the blue flag iris and peonies from the other house and put them on the right side of this walkway, where the viburnum is. I'll put lovage from the other house on the left side of the walkway and plant rhubarb, chives and some other stuff.
Here's the north side, where I want to terrace. The first picture is in June, when I was letting everything "express itself." The second picture is yesterday after I did a hack job on the stuff next to the house.
(I've been spewing off names of plants like I'm an expert or sumthin'. But really, when I wasn't being destructo-mama, I was in the books or online, researching plant names. It's nice to know what I've got, but sad to realize that so much of my yard is overwhelmed with invasive honeysuckle and multiflora rose. It'd be nice to have the goats now. They like the stuff.)
I'm going to go around the rest of the house and show you what's there and what I'm planning, but this post is pretty long already, so I'll save it for another day.
A Whole Week of Wonderful Wanderings!
20 hours ago