I’d love transform my backyard into a charming cottage garden. I picture myself in a hammock under the maple tree, enjoying a warm breeze, birdsong, and the heady scent of my flowers. However, my plans have come to a screeching halt before I’ve even begun. As I attempt to come up with a landscape plan, I keep running into problems with the amount of light, the slope of the yard, and the quality of the soil. I have decided that I must address the most basic issue first, the fact that my yard is a lumpy clay pit.
I’ve been “walking” the cat in the backyard, and her slow pace has given me plenty of time to study the yard. First, the ground is incredibly wet and spongy. I sink in a little with every step. Second, the ground is dangerously lumpy and peppered with holes. I wonder how it got that way. Is it the freeze and thaw cycle or the work of the previous owner’s dogs? There also appears to be a shallow “streambed” running from the high point to the low point, a “pond” under the maple. Although the yard has a drain at the low end, the drain is higher than the surrounding soil, making it useless.
Now I have a dilemma. Do I just ignore the backyard or do I have the entire thing dug up to address the drainage, lump issues? If we were going to live in this house forever, it would be an easy choice. I would fix the ground, and work up from there. However, I am counting the days until Mike graduates and we can move westward. I understand that “fixing” the backyard will add to the house’s resale value, but will it add nearly as much value as this project will cost? Will potential buyers even notice what we’ve done?
I am willing to get dirty and perform hard labor, but I don’t have a degree in landscape engineering. At the very least, I will have to pay someone to draw up plans for me to follow. Presently, I’m intimidated and overwhelmed. Any advice from the Internet people?