Thankful for helping hands…

This past Sunday afternoon our small group from church came over to help us with our yard. We were very blessed that they wanted to come help..or if they didn’t want to necessarily, that at least they were willing. 🙂 We all worked for 4 hours straight and they really helped us get a great start.

I know it’s been a while since we talked about our yard so remember our yard is a disaster. The grade is all wrong and since the house sat empty for about 9 months everything has gotten very overgrown. We’ve struggled to regain control of what we not-so-affectionately call “the jungle”. The previous owners obviously liked gardening and having a variety of plants (seriously our yard is like our very own nursery), but didn’t really put them in the most practical places. Apparently they didn’t understand that you want water to flow away from your house, either. We posted about the backyard when we first moved in, but haven’t shared many pictures since then. Here’s then (August 2011):

Back Yard from Left Side

 Back Yard from Right Side

Here’s last week:

We actually have spent a decent amount of time out there  just cleaning up and pulling stuff out, but it’s still chaotic. So when our group came over we had tons for them to work on. We have two big tasks to complete in order to kick off our backyard overhaul. First, we need to get the grade right beneath the deck. Here’s our deck before:

All the dirt/rocks underneath it lead water towards our house instead of away from it and around it. A few days before they came, Andrew got a head start and took off the railing.

Second, we need to tear out the trees between our neighbors chain link fence and our wooden fence (they’re knocking our fence over!) and then attempt to put our current fence back up. Our neighbors have a very unpleasant backyard (above-ground pool, huge obnoxious flood light, lots of junk, 3 or 4 noisy dogs, etc.) and we really don’t want to stare into their yard. Ever. We also don’t want to buy a new fence just yet cause fencing costs a pretty penny and we already have house painting and new gutters and windows on the docket (tentatively) for this year.

Andrew got a head start on this, too. He’d taken a lot of the planks off the fence and cut off the tops of the trees so they wouldn’t be in the way.

We had a few guys working on the trees, a few people working on the deck, and a few doing general cleanup (picking up leaves leftover from the fall, pruning, etc.)

We probably filled 6 trash bags with yard waste…now if only our city would pick them up!

We also transplanted some irises so they won’t be in the way when we move the retaining wall.

Now isn’t really the time to move them, so they’re not very happy, but hopefully they’ll perk up in a few days. Here’s the before of the area we worked on (behind the crepe myrtle bush).

Here’s after we cleaned up all the leaves, weeded, pruned the bushes, and added more river rock.

Andrew said he thought it would have taken him all of a Saturday to get the planks off the deck by himself, so that was a huge help! There were tons of rocks underneath (and trash) and they got a good start on moving a lot of those, too.

They also picked up the larger rocks being used as pavers and stacked them and started a nice pile of river rock on the other side of the house. (We’re saving it to use later, but need it to be cleaned up so we can move dirt.)

Throughout the afternoon we also found a whole host of critters: thousands of nasty earwigs, a black widow spider (apparently common in Arkansas. Great…), a skink, and a garter snake.

Andrew and I are so thankful when we think about how many hours everyone worked and how much was accomplished. It’s almost nauseating to think about how long it would have taken Andrew and I alone to do what was done on Sunday. We really feel like we’ve been given a big jump start for this project, and we want to say thank you to everyone who helped! We appreciate you so much!

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