So, to fill the time until then, I give you my yard. I've talked about it before, but haven't really shown pictures or discussed my plans for it.
Front YardAt some point, new white siding and grey shingles will be installed - along with green shutters. The ramp will be removed, and the front porch fixed up. I want to replace the gravel in the driveway (paved, concrete, cobble stone - I'm not sure yet, but something better than gravel), and a walkway through the front yard to the porch, and replace all the front yard grass with flower beds. The challenge there is that there are no sidewalks, so all the snow and salt from the road in winter gets pushed right into the yard, which really limits what I can plant. Even so, I should be able to change this area into a nice little "cottage" perennial garden - it faces west, and gets great sun (and the brunt of the Lake Erie winds as well).
What other dog gets his very own fire hydrant?? It's actually right on the property line, meaning I have a great "side" yard. This area, assuming that I won't have the money to build a garage for a few years yet, will be the vegetable garden and dog agility area. This is on the north side of the house, meaning it gets quite a bit of shade in the winter, but the summer sun is high enough in the sky to make this area the sunniest in the yard, other than the front yard.
There are 4 large ash trees in the back yard, and all of them are in this picture (the trunk of the third is just visible to the right of the second, and the forth is hidden behind the third). At least two of these, the two closest to the house, are most likely coming down. It's unfortunate, but they are rotting at the base, and after every wind storm (have I mentioned we get a lot of wind, living near the lake and all?), the yard is littered with rather large branches. I'd prefer not to have them come down on the house or it's inhabitants, so I'm being proactive.
Pile of branches after one storm
The plan is to remove those two trees, then make the area between them and the house a small patio. I'm thinking of leaving the stumps a couple of feet high, and incorporating them into a flower garden that will border the patio. I also want a walkway along side the house, connecting the driveway to the patio, and step-stones of some sort out to the shed, since that's where the garbage and recycling bins are kept. I want all of these "hard" elements to work together, and so will probably be doing all of them together in a year or two.
I'm going to build a compost bin before winter sets in, and will be putting in raised-bed vegetable gardens next spring. I kept the old storm windows from the ones we put in the shed, and plan on building cold frames with those. And of course, I need to get a fence. It's going to be a lot of work, but I think the rewards are worth it - both in terms of healthy, home-grown food, a nice yard that increases the property value, and just the pleasure I get out of working outside.
However, I will really need help in all this planning - anyone up to doing a garden plan for me?? Anyone?
* Dad is doing most of the renos (with my help, of course), and as he works for