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November 24, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

Early Summer Outdoor Changes

Now I know you’ve all seen more current photos of the backyard than those that I’m sharing today. Just keep in mind I’m going back in time to fill in some of the blanks, and show you some “progress” photos 🙂

Backyard Demo

When we bought our house, we inherited quite a few extraneous structures. One of these structures we love and is quite useful, and may be one of the reasons we wanted to buy this house in the first place. What, you don’t want a 1000-square foot shop where your husband can make (and fix) all kinds of cool things? Well, you’re just crazy. Anyway, other than the house and the shop, we knew that all of these covered structures would eventually be torn down.

We got rid of the first structure back in early spring so we could make room for our planters and fruit trees.  Now, to open up our backyard a little more, we decided to tackle the two most offensive structures in the yard. Which also happen to be the easiest to knock down, but that is beside the point. The first structure to go extended off the back of what we call the west wing. The second structure shot off the front of the shop. The previous owner liked covered spaces a lot…

Enter crowbars, sledge hammers, manual labor, and some good old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears. My dad came over and helped out with the first tear down, and I wasn’t really kidding about the blood, sweat, and tears! Demo can be dangerous, kids, but also fun… Here are some photos of the men in action.

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Extraneous structure #2 Justin tackled all by his lonesome. I watched and enjoyed my cocktail. And helped a little!




Fence Building

Dan, Brigitte, and Aspen came to visit us early this summer. Dan and Justin spent the better part of the weekend building a fence and gate on the left side of the shop. This shop side yard area was all covered and perfect for storing wood, garden tools, project materials, and other goodies, so we were reluctant to tear it down. My dad had the idea to just bud a fence and a gate in front of it, to make the area look more finished and less of an eye sore.

Dan and Justin did a beautiful job, and everyone was thrilled with the outcome. While the boys worked away, Brigitte and I entertained Aspen and did a few canning/jamming projects of our own!

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Redwood Bark around the Planters

One weekend, I decided to buy four yards of redwood bark and spread it all around our fruit trees and planters. I’ll spare you the details on this one… Let’s just say it was really hot, I bit off a little more than I could chew in an afternoon, and I apologize to that evenings BBQ guests for having to watch the tail end of my shoveling bark out if a truck in my bikini. Good thing no one took pictures of that! Talk about a hot mess. But the bark looks great!




Tree Haircuts (and Removal!)

Apparently my family is plagued with black walnut trees. We inherited a rather large one, and while it has provided lots of shade for us it also provides lots of stuff to pick up. Not to mention, it was in need of a serious haircut. So haircut she got!


As a kid, I was convinced that black walnuts must be the messiest trees in the world. My parents used to coerce my sisters and I into having races to pick up the most walnuts. So you can imagine my shock when we moved into Burrows, had the black walnut to contend with, AND discovered an even messier tree. Enter our neighbor’s silk oak. I don’t understand the name: it’s not silky and it’s not technically an oak… Anyway, after living with the silk oak mess for about six months, we got our neighbors permission to chop the thing down. Even though this tree was in the neighbors yard, at least half of it hung over the fence into our yard, dropping leaves, berries, furry things, and who knows what else. It also blocked a lot of sun. Sadly, Justin and I both had to work while the tree trimmers were there so we didn’t get to see the show. But now, we have no more mess, more sun, and a pretty view of that same neighbors magnolia tree. Here are the before and afters:


We also had two cypress tress removed from the front yard:


And we trimmed up the big tree in the front as well.


Front Yard Irrigation

We spent a day putting in irrigation and drip sprinklers in the planters off the front porch. I spend most of my gardening time out back, and the plants we had up front suffered from my lack of attention! Now with drippers, they get plenty of water even when I forget.



Sorry for the super long, whirlwind post. But we have a lot to catch up on! And I’ll end with a funny picture from one of our many work days:




Leave a Comment
  1. Peggy and Floyd / Apr 25 2014 7:37 pm

    Great to have you back to posting. We love reading them. Know you’re having a good time doing all the work when you realize the results will be with you forever to enjoy. Makes us feel that we’re there with you which we are in spirit. Love Peggy

    • JustinKays Porter / Apr 26 2014 7:21 am

      It’s so good to hear that people read and enjoy the blog, Aunt Peg! That’s the whole reason behind it 🙂 Hope you and Uncle Floyd are doing well. xo


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