This weekend was the perfect fall weekend! The weather was cool, sunny, breezy, and the leaves are changing color and beginning to fall to the ground. So, we thought we would take advantage of the great weather and spend our Saturday working outdoors. We wanted to do some general clean up in the yard and also prepare the yard for winter and next year's spring plantings.
We started with some basics - raking leaves, mowing grass, sweeping sidewalks, picking up twigs and branches. Then we decided a trip to Lowe's was in order to pick up a few odds and ends of things we needed to do some planting and organizing. After all, it's not a true weekend in the Yonke villa without at least 1 trip to either Lowe's or Menard's. Then we ended the afternoon with some serious action that included ripping out 3 bushes with an SUV.
Here is a picture of the front stoop of our house. Prior to this picture being taken, I had already removed 2 old icky doormats that were sitting on the stoop, swept down all the cobwebs around the ceiling, and swept and washed off the stoop and stairs. You can also see an old planter sitting there - we removed that too. On the left side, you see an overgrown bush covering an old mailbox. I've disliked this bush since we moved in as it crowds the entryway and makes it feel un-inviting. If you try to just cut the branches back, you'd remove most of the green on the tips and be left with brown twiggy branches. So, we decided it was time to remove it.
I disliked the hardly-seen-mailbox too. The mailman could barely even access the mailbox since it was covered by the bush. So, we decided the mailbox also had to go.
Now, what is the easiest way to remove a large bush? Trying to cut it down and dig out the roots ourselves would be a a lot of work and take a lot of time. So, we decided to take the easy route. That's where the SUV comes in to play. Here you can see our friend Danny's SUV parked on the lawn and walkway, and Joey hooking up tow straps to the front of it.
The other end of the tow straps were wrapped around the base of the bush and secured very tightly.
Then Danny backed the SUV up slowly (making sure not to hit pedestrians on the sidewalk and cars in the road) until the bush came out of the ground.
Only a few roots remained. Joey took a pickaxe and pounded them out of the ground in a few seconds. Whew. That was easy.
Then he removed the toe straps, threw the bush in the wheelbarrow, and dumped it in our rubbish pile in the back of the house.
Next we moved to the side of the house to do the same thing. You can see this side entrance has 2 bushes on either side of it. Once again, I thought the bushes crowded the walkway, weren't very attractive, and had to be removed. So, we used the same strategy on both of these bushes...
The bush on the left came out roots and all in one fell swoop! Even the neighbors who had gathered around to watch by this point were greatly impressed!
The bush on the right was a little tougher. But after a few grunts of the engine, it came loose too.
Only a couple roots were stuck in the ground on this one, but Joey removed them again with the pickaxe.
Doesn't that look neater and more open and inviting? I think so. Next spring, we're going to do all new plantings on this side of the house. So, it will have a completely different look. (Ignore the window on the right side - Joey still has to fill in the space with brick and trim.)
Back to the front of the house where we took out the bush and mailbox, we planted 3 mums in place of the bush...
We added a new mailbox on the side of the house by the stoop. We put it right under the very old mail-slot that has been in place since the house was built in 1928. Mail must have been really small back in those days because there is no way all our mail will fit in it today. But I still love the old charm of having it on the side of the house.
Here is the new look of front of the house minus the bush and old mailbox. I added 2 pumpkins on the steps for some fall/Halloween fun, and you can see the new mailbox on the right wall. I still need to add a new doormat and a few other fall decorations. I'd eventually like to get a new light for the ceiling too. But doesn't it look much more open and inviting now? I also like that you can now see the full column to left of the steps - the bush blocked it previously.
Here is the accumulated pile of waste in the back yard by our porch - 2 bags of leaves, 3 bushes, an old mailbox, broken up concrete blocks, an old hose and some trash.
The hose that is now hanging on the back wall is new along with the wall hanger (one of our Lowe's purchases today)...
So, what do think? A productive Saturday? I'd say so. We still want to remove some more of the plants/flowers around the perimeter of the house before winter. That way everything will be ready in the spring for new flowers to be planted!
To come: a short camera-video of the front bush being removed. Just for fun.