under those patio lanterns…


No, this is not a post about Kim Mitchell and his ever famous song but it is certainly about a patio and hopefully by the time we are finished our DIY project, I will display lots of pretty patio lanterns or that is my dream. But let’s backtrack about 17 years…

I remember when we first moved in to our house 17 years ago there was a blank space in our backyard. Being our first home and our first backyard that we were responsible for; I have to be honest and say that the only thing I really wanted was place to sit and cook on our new grille. We had no idea about landscaping or decorating outside. I will admit I was lost. I figured whatever we did was going to cost money that we did not have at the time. I also wanted a big pool and that wasn’t going to happen in this little backyard. So I settled for the patio and we immediately had a young carpenter come in and put one in for us. It was well built and we loved it. The perfect size for a young family and a BBQ. As a young family, we would eat on this patio, the kids would play on it when they were younger and a small round table with 4 chairs was feasible.

As the kids got older and bigger, the table did not work anymore. So we decided that eating on the patio was not going to work anymore. So then we decided to place a nice love seat type seating on the patio with soft cushions. This was just so nice for reading a book; but not so nice when you wanted to sit out there while the BBQ was turned on. Because invariably, when the BBQ was on and you were sitting on the love seat, the smoke from the BBQ always blew into your face.

OK, now fast forward 17 years and two teenage boys later and there is not a lot of room on that deck anymore. Plus to the right of the patio we have a large Silver Maple tree in the corner and a long row of trees called Peking Cotoneaster down one side of the fence to cover up a poorly installed, poor looking fence from our neighbours put in years ago. So I was not planning on moving either of these significant landscape items. Plus, we get the mourning sun at the back of the house, so the Maple tree provides us with much needed shade and privacy.

So last year at the end of the summer I knew that it had to change. We did look into getting it professionally done and as soon as I found out the price of what I wanted…Well I then knew it was going to be a DIY project. And there was no way we were going to get it all done in one summer. just too much work and not enough time or money.

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This is what the backyard looked like before we got started. Those bulb cedars were sooooo.. tiny when I planted them 17 years ago. I have pruned them much over the last years and it did make the patio very cosy but over the last year we have felt that they were hindering us from using our backyard to it’s full potential. That was the impetus for this whole backyard remodel. It won’t all get done in one summer; it will staged in over several summers but we have to start somewhere; and those trees were the start. So up they come.

To begin; my husband and I are really new to this DIY process and were clueless about how much work it would take to get those suckers out of the ground. I naively thought we would saw the sucker off at the root and be done of it. Boy was I wrong!  We could not even get into that part of the tree initially. We had to saw branches off separately before we could get to the base of the tree and then the root.

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Little by little, each branch got sawed off, followed by the center branches being cut off and then dealing with the root of the tree. We found that keeping some of those sawed off branches helped us get it out of the ground because my son Jared and I used them as leverage to push and pull the root as Sweet Hubby dug with the shovel. I was surprised once the three of us got going at it, how little time it took to get that old root out of the ground. Lots of muscle and sweat though!

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This is what it looked like with one tree gone. As soon as it was out of the ground Richard and I were delighted. It looked so much more open. The view when you came in the gate was lovely…you could see the whole backyard. It made the backyard look and feel a lot bigger. And it also gave us lots of motivation to get that second tree out of the ground.

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These are some better pictures of the process. Cutting off those branches and then digging away while two people pushed and pulled at the root. The second one took a lot less time because we had learned a great deal from that first tree.

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So disappointed that I did not get a picture of the patio once all the debris was taken away. I think you get an idea of home much more open the backyard feels now that those trees are gone. I must say though that I did fell a little melancholy about the trees being gone.They were the first trees that Richard and I planted in this garden. And then I felt OK about it when I saw the finished results. Once we cut the branches; we inspected the branches a little better and found that many of them were just green at the tips and the inside branches were absolutely terrible. So dead and dry!. The branches that were closest to the patio railing were the worst. This made me feel even better about cutting them down.

So onward to the next stage and that was taking our existing patio apart and making it just a little bigger while trying to preserve as much of the base as possible.

Stay Tuned!

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