Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It all began....

A couple of years ago, I bought a house and one of the criteria in my search was to be able to have a garden. Somewhere I got the notion that if I had raw clay to start with it would be more rewarding to build my garden from scratch and design it the way I wanted it than to inherit someone else's design. So when I stumbled upon this lot it seemed to fit the bill exactly. I knew it was going to be work, but I think everyone, underestimates exactly HOW much work it really is. I was certainly no exception. It took me years (and still have a long way to go) to learn about the different varieties of plants, their common and/or scientific name, what their requirements for sun/shade, water and soil conditions were.

First of all, I started with a huge impediment to my garden - in the middle of the back yard a swimming pool stubbornly dominated the landscape. "Keep it! Keep it!" everyone who did not have to deal with upkeep said. I knew it was going and I did not look back. Below is what the back yard looked like before the pool came out.
Taking an in ground pool out is not for the light-hearted gardener. For one thing you cannot do it yourself (unless you have big caterpillar at your disposal) and each city has lots of rules about what you can and cannot do. The first thing you have do is get a permit and city will require you to hire a civil engineer who will measure the soil compaction and determine if there is any 'unusual situations' in your project. There are a couple of ways to abandon a pool and if you are looking to find more information, the following site is good to get you started. http://www.poolremoval.net/procedure/procedure.html

You can leave a pool partially there as long as there is drainage, but in my case I wanted to remove the entire pool because there was a good chance that I would be doing some rebuilding on the site and if the pool was not completely removed, it could cause some real issues when the building did start. If you sell your house you have to list that a pool is buried in the back if the entire pool is not removed. It seemed like the cleaner way to go.

We threw some rocks in the hole and filled it with dirt. Thus the adventure of a garden on the rocks was about to begin. Because the contractor used so much clay (they get good compaction ratings from the civil engineer when they do so) I spent the entire summer amending the backyard. The following summer I put up the hardscape and continued amending as well as laying down the sprinkler system. It was not until the spring and summer 2 years after the pool had removed that I actually got to start on my garden. I am starting to learn albeit slowly and many mistakes, what areas in my yard have different needs and requirements. Just starting.

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