This weekend, Ryan & I spent probably 8 hours working outside on our yard. The previous owners did a LOT of landscaping all around the house. In the front it was for show, and in the back, about half is for show and the other half was to create a natural privacy barrier from the neighbors.
There are several problems with this. The first is that we don't like it. We want yard space, not flowers & plants all over. In the back, they used landscaping to split the yard in half. Granted, they were an older couple and most likely used the yard differently than we want to. But it's a lot of work to take out and trim back this stuff.
Back of house, before:
And after. Those trellises are holding clematis, which we would like to transplant away from the house.
The second problem is that they used ivy as ground cover. Ivy is a very aggressive, invasive plant. It surrounded three sides of the house and it took us all of those 8 hours to take it out. We filled 12 lawn bags and a garbage can with it. Waste Management is going to love us, come pick-up day. There's still a lot of it to take out too. The root system is extensive and there's a lot buried still.
For the side yard, we threw down grass seed and once that takes hold, it'll kill the roots left so we won't have to worry.
In the front, there are plants and bushes we don't want to get rid of, so we will have to be vigilant about the roots out there. There's also a large root that's growing under the porch, and we're going to have a landscaper come out to look at it.
Along that line, the third problem is the trees in the backyard. The yard is skinny, about 30' across. The previous owners planted 4 evergreens along the driveway. Two are right next to each other, and one is right next to the house. We're probably going to take all 4 of them out, simply because there isn't room. In time, they will become destructive to the driveway and the rest of the yard to find the room they need. So we'll have the landscaper look at the trees as well.
We could have had a landscape company come to take out all the ivy (well, in theory; we certainly can't afford that kind of labor) but we saved the cost of a crew coming, and the gas & emissions they would have used in their transportation and their tools. We also saved all the electricity we would normally have used around the house by being outside for several hours. It's small stuff, but it's better than nothing. Plus it feels so good to see the work that we did ourselves.