Ruined Run

When you move into a new place there are often things, or at least one thing, that the previous owner did that clearly made sense for them, but now seems a little odd not knowing the thought process behind it. For us, there was a double fence in the back yard, which created a little run from the shed up to the front of the house. There was nothing in this space, and no evidence of what it was used for. Since we moved in, we had left it since it kept the yard secure for the dogs and it looked nicer than the actual perimeter fence….which may have been the purpose of it from the get go?

We had discussed lots of options for the area and had considered keeping it for a chicken run, wood storage, etc. But, when we re-did the perimeter fence last year we leaned some wood against the inner fence and we noticed that it was on it’s last leg, despite looking like it was in good condition. After that weekend of building the new perimeter fence, the inner fence proceeded to slowly lean further and further all summer. With so many other projects, that became a bit of a back-burner project. Plus I hadn’t finished the fence by the front of the house, so we couldn’t take the inner fence down because it was the only thing keeping the dogs in the yard.

Once I finished that last removable panel/gate at the front of the house, we could have taken the inner fence down, but it was fall and we were enjoying other activities. So, it has sat like that all winter. Kurt has had some time off lately, so as the weather has finally warmed to a point that we can start working on projects in the yard, it became a priority for him. Mostly because one of his other projects that he wanted to work on relied on that area between the two fences, so might as well take it down.

The weather has been beautiful this week, including warmer temperatures, so Kurt decided to take our lazy, lounging, dogs and make them spend the day in the yard with him. He took the fence apart panel by panel and stacked it nicely because I plan to re-use that wood for some outdoor projects. The dogs were in their glory because they always wanted to get back there to see, sniff and root around. We are pretty sure during the fall, winter & spring there is some rodent activity back there, so the girls, especially Ellie, were having a hay-day exploring. The nice thing is that by removing this fence, it should reduce that rodent activity.

Our first few years, the run area often got out of hand with weeds and crabby grass, so a few years ago we added some landscaping fabric to the run to help keep all of that to a minimum and kill off anything we could in that area. From our first days of collecting rocks in some cut-block areas, we had created quite the little wildflower garden area in there unintentionally. Unfortunately the wildflower we ended up was big vicious thistles. The landscaping fabric has done its job and kept them from growing back for a few years now. Hopefully they are gone for good, but if not, we have a plan. That’s for another blog post though.

Back to Kurt’s hard work. While we had built our perimeter fence last year, we had stashed off-cuts of wood and other building materials back there. Kurt cleaned that all out, filtering the useable wood into a pile and the junk wood to a dump pile. He then pulled up all the landscaping fabric to get a better idea of what we would be working with. Now that the inner fence was gone, this run area was now going to be part of our upper yard once again and we needed to decide what we were going to do with it. It is pretty nice looking soil, so for now, we are going to seed it and get the grass growing in the hopes of keeping the weeds and crabby grass at bay.

Up the side of the house needed a good tidy as well. There are paving stones that the past owner had lined along the side of the house partially to protect the irrigation lines that are buried along that wall, but also to provide a walking path up the side of the house. The only problem is that the soil beside it, against our foundation, has sunk down a bit, creating the perfect channel for water to get trapped and seep into the basement. A problem that we would like to avoid. So Kurt pulled all of those up so that we can do some work in that area to ensure that the soil and the water will slope away from the house. Kurt covered that area in landscaping fabric for now so that we don’t end up with weeds overtaking the area this spring.

The dogs are still loving all the smells, sticks and adventures they now get to have in that area. We are not loving the muddy, mucky feet, but that would be happening anyways since so much of the yard is still being landscaped and is dirt. Such is life with dogs. Hopefully in the next year or so we will have mostly grassy areas, a paved path and less dirt that the dogs will be playing in.

So what do we plan to do with that extra yard area? Replacing the old tin shed is a priority. Hopefully we will do that this year. We would like a taller shed that we can stand up in. We are looking to find something that we can patch to the shop, likely a package that we can purchase from a home-building supply store and build ourselves. We are then thinking of adding a chicken coop beside it with a run. We have always wanted chickens and that is the perfect area for it. We will see what the final results bring. If you have been following along with us for a while, you know how many times our plans can change as we transform our yard.

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