Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"...but only God can make a tree."

Yesterday it was HOT. And humid. So naturally that would be the day our wonderful landscape crew appeared to begin work on our hillside. Today it is more of the same and I guess they're used to it but I do not envy them one little bit.

For starters, this hillside? It is steep. Very, very steep. I guess I need to back up a little bit and yes I am going to talk about dirt and rocks. Sometimes life is champagne at sunset on a piazza in Italy and sometimes it is sweaty landscapers mixing concrete in the backyard. I could use more of the former btw.

We have a good sized chunk of property. Our front yard is a long, gently sloping, green lawn where dandelions dare not show their pretty yellow heads. The biggest part of our back property is woods, dense and beautiful no matter the season. We also have some lawn out back and so far so good. The trouble spot lies between the back lawn and the woods. In that space we have a steep hillside. Did I mention it is steep because wow, it's steep.

Besides bears, North Jersey is also known for its ginormous supply of rock. Granite in the form of boulders. Boulders the size they grew in Bedrock. Boulders that go deep into the earth and do not want to be messed with or moved without heavy duty expensive equipment. To give you some perspective, the fence in this picture is roughly 5 feet high and the boulders are the same. We have an entire 'hedge' of boulders running across the edge of back lawn where the grass ends. Viburnum and Burning Bush grow and bloom the entire length of the 'boulder hedge' and for the most part block the hillside when you are sitting on the too small deck whose re-do will be Part 2 of our 50 point plan to improve the back yard.

The hillside is a bit scraggly... it's green but nothing worth noting. The deer love it and can eat to their hearts content there. Sometimes I can look out of my kitchen window and see our four deer (well, they feel like ours) prance across the hillside from one end to the other. Because they have plenty to eat on the hillside they don't seem to feel the need to venture into the yard where the 'real' plants are so its a win win.

One portion of this hillside is bare, just dirt and rocks, and its pretty much the steepest portion of the hill. We have had no less than 837 people of varying occupation, background, and opinion come out and give us their take on what we should do to improve this little patch. We could terrace the entire back hillside and that's probably what Donald Trump or Bill Gates would do but that's not an option for us so we're getting creative. Surprisingly its not a drainage problem, it's more of an aesthetic problem.

Anyway, we finally settled on a 'fix' and they got started yesterday. I would have loved to take a picture of the poor guy who had to scale the hillside and stand at the top while the others worked a 'pass the bucket' system to get the rock up to him but I didn't know if he'd appreciate that or not. This was not a quick process in case you are wondering. And did I mention it was 97,000 degrees yesterday?

The rock is in place to prevent further erosion and they built a small stone wall at the base, bringing in topsoil and a beautiful Birch tree. We'll add some flowers around the tree next weekend and Phase 1 is complete.

"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree."
...Joyce Kilmer


  1. If you can't fix it, hide it! That's our motto with our 48 year old house! :D

  2. Love it. At a glance it's like a stream of rocks. Great job!!

    And your right, it was like a July day yesterday. What a difference a day makes. It's a perfect day in Jersey today (except for the incoming thunder storms:)

  3. Bears and boulders? Oh, deer. ;) That is steep. I love the stone wall. Looks quite lovely. :) {It's hot here too. Oi.}

  4. It looks lovely. What a nice improvement. Anxious to see Phase 2 before and afters.

  5. I can't believe the size of those rocks! Very pretty but BIG! Glad you've been able to come up with some solutions to your slope issues. Everything looks great!

  6. I love what you have done so far. I like Mary's motto, that goes for my 40 year old body too!!

  7. Love it! And I think it would have been Hee-larious of you to be snapping pictures of the worker dude!!