plotting the property

Having moved into a new home, as you can imagine I am champing at the bit to start gardening! We’ve had a few house projects in the way first, though, including getting a new roof put on the house and garage (more on that coming soon!). That’s been going on for the last few weeks and has not been kind to the existing plantings near the house.

ANYWAY, I did a bunch of measuring with K and made a rough plan of the property.

Firefly Cottage property plan

This is pretty accurate as far as measurements go, though not 100%. Each square represents approximately 2.5 feet and as you can see, we have a lot of yard. We also have a lot of large trees (the large circles represent the approximate size of the canopy for each tree – my freehand circles are AWFUL, so just imagine them as more natural), some of which need to come down due to old age/rot/potential danger. However, that’s an expensive project that will probably have to wait a little while, especially since we’d have the replace the dead trees with live ones for posterity, and as I was looking to purchase the tree from here, along with the costs of removing the dead ones – we’ll have to wait for now. The candidates for removal are the two box elders, the spruce in the back, and the maple in the front corner. Each of them has issues according to the arborists we had out for quotes and much as my instinct is to save and appreciate old trees, when they start to look like they’re suffering awfully and/or present a danger to the house and people in or near it, then it’s time for them to go. When we take those out I would like to plant some replacement trees – ideally productive ones such as fruit or nut trees. I still have a lot of research to do on that. Suggestions for relatively low-maintenance yet productive trees welcome!

Since the yard is so large, I’ve been coming up with a system for planning so that I can approach it in a logical manner and be able to do a bit each year – certainly I will not be able to do everything at once.

So my thought is this: figure out where I want the paths to be and then figure out the plantings around those pathways. I want to go for a cottage garden aesthetic, with wide stone paths (stepping stones set into the earth and surrounded by walk-on-ables that don’t require mowing) and then flower beds with a lot of variety happening surrounding the paths. Also some raised beds somewhere for edibles. We will always have some turf in the fenced-in area of the back yard so Coraline (and hopefully another dog when things are more settled and we can afford it) has a place to run and play, but I’d like to minimize the amount of mowing elsewhere. Eventually we’d like to expand the fenced-in area toward the back (we are limited by ordinance and can’t extend it any further toward the street on the east side of the house) and possibly toward the west, but I don’t want to get too close to the garage, so we might just push that back wall of the fence back toward the property line. We’ve got about 30 feet more we could go back there, which would expand the fenced-in area quite a lot.

So far I know that I want a pathway from either side of the garage to the existing walkway between the garage and the back of the house, like so:

Firefly Cottage property plan

And now that we’ve got the ugly old falling-apart shed down, there is actually the possibility of doing this!

Shed be gone!

I need to move some daylilies out of the way, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve got plenty of other places that they can go. We still need to get rid of the last of the old firewood pile, but hopefully we’ll get that taken care of shortly.

So now I need to figure out what other pathways make sense. Any thoughts? Suggestions welcome!