Since we moved into our house, I have hated the front garden beds. They had juniper bushes along with another type of bush, all starting to encroach on our path and lawn. I hacked them back and then had to look at the big brown spaces on them for the last 2 years because they don’t like being cut back and take forever to grow in. (Insert eye roll and huff). In fact, the brown splotches were bad enough that we recently had a front porchrait (a portrait on our front porch – personal distancing photo opportunity that gives back to the community) and K decided to use a little green spray paint to spruce them up. Hahaha! I promise we are not rednecks. The photo did look much better with it sprayed.
Anyways, as a way to procrastinate about building our walls, I urged K to tear apart the front gardens. We had always put it off because we didn’t want to be landscaping both the front and back of our house, but with all this time at home, we could get the project done quickly and still make progress on the backyard this summer. I wanted to replace the bushes with a rock garden with big planters that overflow with flowers. Much easier to maintain and would add some colour to the front of our house.
He gave in! The part that we thought would be the worst, taking the bushes out, actually ended up being the easiest part. Go figure. We started at about 9:30 am and by 2 pm (including a lunch break), we had emptied the beds. Using a branch clipper, a hand saw, a chain saw and some good old elbow grease those bushes came out quick and easy.
Since our plan is to cover the entire bed with landscaping fabric and rocks, we weren’t concerned about getting the roots out and just chopped them as close to the ground as possible. This is probably why it ended up being so easy…it took 2 truck-loads to a composting site and we were left with a blank canvas to build our ideal front garden.
The next day, we needed to do a little levelling of the beds. We had always known that the garden slopes towards the house (all the more reason to re-do it) and we wanted to make sure that was no longer the case. So K and I started hauling dirt from the very bottom of the yard to the very top (I can’t explain how steep and exhausting this sloped yard is!). We figured about 10 wheelbarrow loads would fill what we needed. Luckily we only needed four! Whew.
We also took advantage of the bare beds and gave the front of our house a good clean. This is how we discovered our unintentional water feature. A few days after washing the front of our house, we noticed that there were wet spots in front of our kitchen and a few drips were coming down. We thought it was odd but thought maybe some water had gotten trapped in the siding and that we would watch it. Well, then it rained a bit for a day and when we looked again, it was dry, so we figure problem solved…but it wasn’t.
On the following Saturday morning, I turned the dishwasher on and we decided to head for a drive. As we headed outside and past our garden bed, the front of our house was dripping again, only much more than before. We immediately went back inside and turned off the dishwasher, pulled it out and found the source of our water. The pump on our 6 month old dishwasher was leaking. We got a restoration company in right away to assess the damage and luckily there was no mould or mildew. After a full assessment, we were able to avoid an insurance claim and pay for the repairs ourselves.
The moral of this story, if we hadn’t gotten rid of those bushes, that leak could have gone on for a long time before we noticed and caused much more damage. Our tile floors in the kitchen stopped the water from coming into the kitchen so the only way we would have noticed is the water coming out of the front of the house, which we wouldn’t have seen if those bushes had stayed.