The Studio Blog

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New Old House Make-Over: Episode Two is Outside!


It’s been a while since I reported on my progress. Rest assured I have been working on the house, however life has a way of interrupting your best-laid plans.

In the last few days I have been gathering some of the necessary gardening tools I needed to start tackling the yard. As with the interior, the exterior of the house seems to have been equally ignored. Other than some plantings in the front of the house, there hasn’t been any landscaping or planting anywhere. (Unless you count the horrendously over-grown bamboo that is mysteriously situated on one side of the yard.)


Let me back up and give you an overview of the yard itself. The houses on my block and the block behind me form a strange configuration that results in no alley and all the yards meeting in a sort of point at the end. My yard is a large rectangle. The end of my yard is the side of the neighbor’s yard and the side of my yard is another neighbor’s end. Confused? This area was definately NOT laid out with geometry in mind!

Along the west side of the yard is the next door neighbor’s fence and beyond that the side of their garage. The tree-height bamboo was planted here, I suppose as some sort of barrier or block. (I should have taken a before picture but I was so gung-ho to begin…) In front of the bamboo daylilies were planted, but they are so old and so overgrown as well that they no longer bloom, so all that’s left are the leaves which I have never liked. They’re long fronds that don’t have any particular beauty of their own.

Despite Nick’s resistance to the cutting down of these bamboo giants, I cut them all back including the greenery from the lilies. It’s ironic how much I love gardening and how much I hate bugs, so you can imagine my joy at cutting and chopping through this ancient tropical wilderness! I’m telling you, gloves and knee high rubber boots are essential to my survival.  


The space is about 5 feet by 19 feet, so I was very happy to finally chop that last bamboo. Between chopping, lopping, raking and pulling the area was clear. Now the digging was to begin but I had a surprise awaiting me. No not a snake, although that did cross my mind as a possibility! I’m beginning to have more serious doubts about the mind of the person who thought loading this area up with a combination of various rocks and bricks and cement pieces and pavers was a good landscaping technique!

Oh my God!

One after another, after another. After about an hour, I called it quits. I had already been out there for three hours just cutting and triming. I was not going to have the strength for unearthing rock. But as I pulled first one than another, my designer sense kicked in and I was hooting! (Really, I think I hooted a couple of times!)

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Part of the yard landscaping project is to make a patio for our grill and a seating/dining area. We won’t be building a deck anytime soon, but a patio is do-able. I had already scouted out the paver’s I liked at Lowe’s and brought a sample one home. Imagine my glee when part of my yardwork hands me pavers and stone for my patio! I love mixing and matching and making something that’s unique. I like the slightly ”off”. The stones are a gift. And karma. I made the right decision to cut down the bamboo and start a garden I wanted.

One of the things I really want to try to do is put native plants in my garden. Native plants of Western New York. Working at the Abany Pine Bush and learning what I have from them and others, I can’t do anything else. This is going to take some investigation and looking, but I think it will be worth it. I don’t want to do more damage to the ecology and environment just because it would be easier to plant what I can find around here. Fortunately I have all the time I want. MY YARD! YAY!

There is one huge elephant in the yard yet that I don’t have a clue how we are going to deal with. A big wooden swing set. It is huge and put together with rivets the size of a jar lid. No kidding. Yeah, that will have to wait.   


So that’s day one in the yard and I feel like I made good progress. The dogs sure loved being outside for the day. As you can see, I’m not a do-one-project-until-it’s-finished kind of girl. That’s boring. And since no one calls the shots but me on this one, I can skip delightedly from project to project whenever the mood strikes me. It’s good to mix things up so that one doesn’t get bored. And taking a step back sometimes helps give you a fresh angle.

See you next time!

One Response to New Old House Make-Over: Episode Two is Outside!

  1. Leslie says:

    Stay tuned for an update about the yard. Drawing up plans for planting and will post that very soon! Thanks!

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