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Small home - is your yard small ?

Posted by toomuchglass (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 28, 07 at 18:33

I LOVE garden Art ..... trash to treasure things.... mosaic art .... fountains.... windchimes .... planters ...

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But I also have a small yard to match my house... no room for anything ( unless I want it to look like a junk yard ) I also have 3 dogs , so I can't take their potty space away from them. I spend alot of time at the Mosaic forum ,trash to treasure,Garden Junk , Crafts & decorations .... people show their artwork in their yards - they have acres !!! I must admit ... I'm kinda jealous. I also have a front & a side yard .... but I've had stuff stolen before & I'm hesitant to decorate it. What about you ? Tell me about your yard !



Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I have a fairly large yard, old with big trees and tons of bushes/vines, etc. One of the necessities with 2 "big" dogs, one that loves to chase balls. Plus I love to garden, even though my age is catching up with me. Definitely pluses with small though, upkeep, water costs, etc.

There are wonderful things possible with a small yard. Putting up a small fence or even a motion light could help the "loss" of items in your front yard. The investment a consideration of added safety too.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

We are going from a full acre to a standard town lot - 0.15 acre. The front yard and side yards are about 6-7 feet wide with a whole slew of mature trees, the back yard is about 20x25; the rear fifth of the lot is a thickly wooded steep slope that goes down to a small river in the middle of the town-owned four-acre tract abutting us. (Pretty much guarantees nothing will be built back there!) It is on the "gentrifying" edge of a slightly rough neighborhood so there is no way I would be putting things out front, or at least nothing that is valuable either monetarily or personally. We're going to fence in the back yard, screw the grill to the deck and put a motion sensor light; I don't expect that we'll have any problems but it's best to stave them off before they happen.

We are both looking forward to the reduced maintenance of a much smaller yard, since neither of us really cares all that much for yardwork and this house has been a lot of work this year what with keeping up more lawn space, tending a flower garden (ugh), raking-raking-raking.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I live in the suburbs and have a whopping .16 of an acre! My neighbors are so close to me that I'm sure they hear me yelling at the kids LOL!

Unfortunately I'm not much of a gardner and although I love the idea of a beautiful garden with many wonderful garden treasures, I just can't pull it off. Perhaps one day, I'll save some $ to hire a landscape architect or some other professional who can help me turn my little plot of land into something heavanly.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland hills. A lot of .16/acre (basically 1/6th) is BIG out here. Lots in SF proper are 25x100', on average.

It's a small 1940 cottage on a large urban lot. As it's hillside we have a double slope, not only front to back but side to side! Makes for great drainage in the garden, even with clay soil, LOL.

Amazingly enough, nobody steals anything here from gardens or even off the front porch. The delivery guys can leave pkgs right out front in full view from the sidewalk, nobody touches anything. This, despite the fact the crime rate in the city overall is horrendous. I was astonished to learn that people who live in supposedly "nicer" suburban areas and other Oakland neighborhoods have a terrible problem with people stealing things out of their front and side yards. We're just lucky to live on a nice little street that's a little out-of-the-way so people are friendly and respectful of other's property. Considering all the changes over the last 16 yrs as the original seniors move out and newer young couples move in, it's pretty amazing.

We have a fair amount of hardscape, so there's about 15 separate garden beds totaling over 2000 sq. ft. of garden for a house with a footprint of 25x38'. I always find it amusing that so many other people want huge lots and acreage - I do all the gardening and cannot imagine having more to take care of!

Because all the beds are cottage-style (I hang out on the Cottage Gardening forum), with absolutely NO lawn, this requires hand-weeding, hand pruning, lots of year-round cleanup (in CA gardens need to be evergreen to look good the entire year), etc. It's serious work you wouldn't do unless you fall in love with gardening as I did (at age 50!).

In fact, one of the reasons we will eventually sell this house is that it is not a property one can handle after a certain point. We bought it from two elderly sisters who let first the garden, then the house, deteriorate as their health slowly declined. When I broke my leg with a compound fracture in 2004, I got an early taste of what it's like to live in a house where you can't go up and down the stairs anymore.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

In our area, 1/6 of an acre is average, but since all the houses are one story, w/ a 2 car garage, there's not much yard left. We searched for (and got) a house on a small pond, so that instead of having a fence 30' from the back door, the neighbor across the pond is 300' away, which makes it feel more spacious. I'm actually trying to eliminate lawn- we have a 15' water garden, with a bridge across it, and an 8' round herb garden in the middle of the lawn. Our next house will be totally different- we have 7 acres of woods in upstate SC, and the house will be smaller than our current one. Although we're going to leave most of it natural woods, I'll have plenty of room for a garden!


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

7 idyllic, vast acres. One small house. Go figure ;o)


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I thought it was more 'efficient' than a Mcmansion on a postage stamp....


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

flgargoyle, I don't know about "efficiency" but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping even a small area of wild forest. I would love to be able to do just that but land is just too stinkin' expensive here. We have been watching the wooded areas here being just decimated so that people can put up their ginormous "trophy houses" - what I can't help but think of as the "I got mine, so to hell with the environment, the wildlife, and everyone and everything else" house. (And yet there are beautiful existing homes sitting on the market for months for lack of buyers... don't get me started.) The wooded lot next to ours used to be home to loads of wildlife, including a breeding pair of red-shouldered hawks, a fisher-cat (a sort of ginormous weasel), woodchucks, foxes - all of them are gone now that the lot's been cleared so aggressively. Clearing, say, half an acre - which is a nice space for a house and garden - of a seven-acre tract leaves six and a half acres of hundreds or even thousands of oxygen-generating, air-cleaning, carbon-dioxide-absorbing trees for wildlife habitat and native ecosystem, which in the hands of someone else might be covered by twenty or thirty houses surrounded by water-sucking monocultured lawns and a few dozen spindly Bradford Pears (as is the norm for subdivisions around here!). Check with your state and municipality, there might even be tax incentives for putting a conservation easement on a portion of the property if you wanted to do that. Since you're a gardener, perhaps you could create a sanctuary for rare native plants in the wild parts of your property - up here in New England people are encouraged to do that because there are so many native plants teetering on the edge of extinction.

When we were looking at houses both this time around and in 2004 there were plenty of lots smaller than what is called the "standard town lot" (0.15 acre) for this area - they're just called "standard" because they're the most common, not because it's a required size. There were a LOT of 0.05s, which is similar to the SF norm of 25x100. There were some houses that were crammed together so tightly that you could stand between them with arms outstretched and touch both houses, you could hear the TV going in the house next door, and you could toss a hot dog from your back porch to someone on the deck of the house behind you. I just ain't that neighborly, thanks. We eliminated anything below 0.1 acres, and we did put a bid in on a house (a nice-outside-and-ugly-inside little ranch, which would have taken major remodeling) on two acres pretty much because it WAS on two acres near downtown. :-) But of course what is a "city" around here is practically a small town for a lot of you more urban types!

jkom's comment about breaking her leg and not being able to manage easily in her house kicked off a wonderful realization about our new house - we have just the place to add an elevator should it be needed! Hurrah!


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

An interesting trend these days is to build cluster housing on small lots, then create green space in between. Not a bad idea, if you can get folks to leave the green space alone. Here in FL, they are kicking old folks out of mobile home parks, and even removing marinas and golf courses for housing, so I don't think green space is safe here. We always wanted acreage, and are giving up certain things (such as a big house) to afford it. Greenville, SC is unique in that you can still find affordable acreage near town. Our land is 15 miles from downtown; not a bad commute at all. I did a little research, and estimate our bigger oaks to be about 75 years old. We are going to go to a lot of trouble to keep our little patch of woods the way it is for the most part. I won't be around anywhere near another 75 years, so once they're gone, they're gone. I have to laugh (or cry) when I hear people going on and on about building 'green' in their Mcmansions; all else being equal, a smaller house will always have less impact than a bigger one. Our family of 5 grew up in a 1600 sq. ft. house; we had plenty of room. As I've often said, a small house in America would be a mansion almost anywhere else in the world. We are planning about 1200 ft., still decadent compared to what we really need. We need to get our house built on a small budget, so once we move, we will have NO mortgage, very important to us, since we have a pretty modest retirement so far. God willing, I'll build most of it myself, which will save a lot of money, and give us control over everything, including the collateral damage to the land. Although many of us are on this forum because we can't afford a bigger home, this seems to be a cheerful group, satisfied with what they've been handed in this life, rather than wanting more, more, more. OK, I'll get off my soapbox (for now!)


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

We have a farm rather than a acerage, but the land immedietly around the house is divided into three distinct Yards and an Alley. Compared to the total amount of land, the area that's fenced for our personal use is tiny. Compared to most places in town, it's pretty good sized, big enough for multiple buildings in each. (I like to tell people that once they get to the bottom of the hill, we *are* the neighborhood.) Then again, our house is smaller than the garage at most new home construction, so it evens out.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I have the smallest house on the largest lot in my neighborhood- not sure who decided to do it that way but boy am I glad. My "yard" yard- maintained lawn/fenced area- is 22,000 square feet but we have over 300 feet of woods behind us that we intend to keep natural. I love the buffer of woods between me and any neighbors that might be out there, and I love that my wildlife has a place to live.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

>>jkom's comment about breaking her leg and not being able to manage easily in her house kicked off a wonderful realization about our new house - we have just the place to add an elevator should it be needed!<<

The trouble is the cost is enormous. It's about $25K to put in an elevator that will handle a wheelchair. And that's in today's prices - imagine what it will cost 15-20 yrs from now.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Our yard is 75x100 - also in the SF bay area - and is one of the larger lots in our town.

I've been having a hard time working with it - the PO's planted a line of moterey pines along one side, and NOTHING will grow under those - I've never seen anything shed needles like those things. But I hate to cut down trees, so I'm waiting for them to die ^_^

The rest of the yard had only one tree - a big lime tree in the corner of the backyard. We're blasted by sun from dawn till dusk. I have planted some fruit trees and they are starting to get to the size where they are providing a little shade. It is so sunny that even lavenders and sages have a tough time of it. I'm certainly learning a lot about gardening with this yard!


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I live East of San Francisco in a small, but long home (1050 sqft) with a small lot (5000 sq ft). I would love a bit more gardening space with a slightly different configuration so that I could design some deep beds. And, I have trouble finding places to plant now.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

My little craftsman house sits on a sloping 100 x 35 ft lot. That includes the house, the freestanding one car garage, the front porch and the patio. It slopes about 20 ft back to front, so the front yard is just ivy and steps up to the porch.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

We're in a house just under 1,000 sq ft. The lot is 50x150. The front yard is completely perennial garden and the back is starting to be as well. By the time I'm finished there will be NO grass in sight. We consider this a large house for the two of us but we bought it cause it is close to fire dept., hospital, grocery stores, and bus route. Since the kids have gone, we've been customizing the house to suit our lifestyle now. One bedroom is gone creating a larger kitchen, dining area.

We thought of acreage when we bought but as hubby said, "if you had acreage you'd kill yourself trying to garden it all". Have to agree with him. Mona


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Chuckling about lots in SF. The first time DD brought her now DH to visit (he grew up near SF) he came out on the sunporch and said "Oh! You have land!" I told him "No, we have a yard." He said "Sheri's been talking about wanting a house with land. Guess I better find out what that means."

We're on .5 acre, (100'X200') in Upstate NY. The older we get, the bigger this "land" feels. Sandy


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

No my yard is not small. But that's because this neighborhood was built in the early 70's, and large lots were the norm.. There are 2 newer developments butted up to our neighborhood now that have virtually no yards, or only a front yard or a side yard. Actually one neighborhood has houses in the others "backyards" or what should be backyards. The houses are probably 2x the size of mine, but their whole "yard" would fit in my back yard...then I have a large front yard, and two side yards..

I have plenty of room to add on, or up..we just never have the funds to take on that kind of project..we dream sometimes though..


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

"Oh! You have land!"

I love that; it's so sweet. :^)


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

The house we have owned for the last 30 years is small 1100 sq ft and it sits on 1/3 of an acre. I had a beautiful garden but I have let it go since we started the new house.
the new house 1600 sq ft, has 11 acres of property, and about 10 acres of woodland that I wouldnt let anyone cut down if my life depended on it. Its actually a watershed/wetlands all wooded. It was in bad condition when we purchased it 7 years ago we have been cleaning it up. We have 3 ponds which are very low in water right now from lack of rain.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Hi All,
Toomuchglass, your concern about things disappearing reminded me of a co-workers story. He had one of those huge old iron kettles in his front yard filled with flowers. One night as it was getting dark he glanced out the window and saw a stranger trying to pick up his kettle and steal it. The guy pushed, pulled, tried to lift it and struggled for a good 20 minutes before staggering off clutching his lower back - my friend just stood in his house and laughed - he'd filled the bottom half of that kettle with concrete long ago! Maybe you need to mosaic some big concrete items?

I'm on a 60x60 foot "half-lot" on which sits the 672 sq. ft house, 8X16ft deck and single car garage.

But I'm with johnmari, I'm a habitat gardener so I put an 8x40ft strip of butterfly flowers up along the road, added shrubs with berries for the birds next to the house - have an old cast iron tub sunk in the ground as a pond next to the deck and evergreens and wild flowers for the hummingbirds in the backyard.

It's too small to be real habitat for many animals - so I just consider it a snack bar for those struggling to get through town.

Japanese courtyard gardens are a look that works well with small yards and homes. It's the look I ultimately want in my hummingbird shade garden.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Hi Everyone,

I'll add my 2 cents. I have a 1300 square foot house sitting on a 60' X 120' (.22 acres). I am retired for the second time and love gardening among other hobbies.

My back yard is about 40' X 60" and I manage to squeeze in 2 vegetable gardens and several flower beds. The front yard is very small by some folks standard but I am in the process of getting rid of most of the bermuda grass and putting in stone walkways, lots of flower beds, and a dry stream bed.

The back yard is also undergoing change and will have a water garden, as soon as I can dig it and install all the parts. There goes the bermuda grass in the back yard except for a curving pathway around the planned water garden site.

Did I say I love gardening? Visit my website listed below and see how my yard looked in 2003 and some of the changes I am currently making. The website also contains lots of gardening photos the may give you some ideas you might find useful.

As time permits, I will update the site to show progress in my yard and other photos of small space gardening.

Charlie

Here is a link that might be useful: Norman Area Gardens


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Gardenmaker, that's inspiring! You are truly a garden maker. One thing I had never seen before was that hyacinth bean vine -- I may have to try that one. I'm not sure where I'd put it, but it sure is beautiful.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I'm in a smallish (1700 square feet--just my husband and I--bigger than the house I grew up in with 7 other people!)house with a largish yard (9/10 of an acre). Our lot backs up to a little creek and the people around us also have largish yards, so we have a fair amount of privacy.

We are right in the middle of a small (100,000) city in what used to be the 'burbs but, due to city growth, is now considered the middle of the city.

The small house/big yard combo is perfect for me--I can't stand noise, plus I'm sure we would drive close neighbors crazy with my husband's musical instruments, so I'm happy we're on a fair amount of land.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

8 acres, smack in the middle of Ohio Amish country, with open fields and large farms all around us. We're not technically building a "small" house - I'd call it "medium sized" at about 2500 sq ft. But I feel much more akin to small house thinking than I do to McMansion thinking. We're striving for simple lines, efficient, useful living space, and making the house become one with its environment, rather than overpowering it with wretched excess and waste.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

A secret garden! Have you thought about walling up the front yard so that people could still walk by and see without being able to walk in? I'm picturing either those cement blocks or a wood fence with large "windows" or sections of wrought iron with a locked wrought iron gate, mailbox attached. It may cost a little, but it could be a beautiful feature in and of itself. My front yard is very private with arborvitae all the way across, and I love that, but I live on a busy street with no sidewalk. I live on 1/3 of an acre with 2 dogs, too much mowing and too much poop.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

We have a very small house (1250 sq. ft), but a huge yard. We live on a lot that's just over half and acre. The front yard is significantly smaller than the back, which suits us fine. We have 2 dogs and a convenient doggy door to the back, and it's great for them. It does take forever to mow everything, though.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Our property is an odd shape, think of a piece of pie with the pointy part toward you. The house is situated near the point, with the rest of the slice and the crust in back. Our front yard is quite small but the back is wide open and looks very much like a park, lots of greenery. Our house is only 800 square feet. I remember being thrilled with the back yard when we first viewed this house, prior to buying it. I still love our yard. Plenty of room for a garden.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

My house is 900 sq ft on a .17ac lot. A chain link fence is 30 ft. from the south facing back of the house. The other side of the fence is a school playground, so I'm hoping to research some things (vines? rambling roses?) to eventually provide some privacy without turning the yard into a shade garden. Right now the yard looks kind of like the house dropped from Oz onto a plot of weedy lumpy lawn! No real landscape. One large evergreen tree near one end of the backyard. I'm hoping to gradually add plants for butterfly and bird sanctuary and for color and texture while I reduce lawn as I go. For this first year (I just bought the house) I'll just add some annuals from seeds while I watch the light and drainage patterns over the year. It's going to take a while! Honeybea


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Our house sits on 2 acres of land........square in the middle of town!!! Everyone that comes to visit for the first time, is dumbfounded! It's great when we have get togethers...the front half is a completely fenced yard surrounding the house, and then we have a great parking lot in the back.....or a baseball diamond....or a football field....or volleyball.... The grands love the space, since they have none in their more modern yards!


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Mona, I'm working at "no grass" too. Every spring/summer I dig out more along the edges. The front is now half what was with xerascape to eliminate even more work. Filled with flowers/plants and love gardening. Back yard is 100 X 80, unusual for this area of small homes (mine is 1100), although mixed in with McMansions on acres. This spring is doing the same with back and planning such for 2 dogs to still give them their running about.

Annec, I call those lawn ornaments and...me too, older I get the larger the yard feels.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

My yard is 2 acres, altho we have 50 acres. It is divided into two parts...what I call upper and lower. The lower acre is on a bayou and has 3 very large oak trees...including an old live oak that almost covers the entire area. The upper yard has a grove of trees in the back corner, a mud bottomed pond in the front, and a row of bald cypress trees between the yard and the driveway. There is also a large green ash near the house. Between the two parts of the yard, we put a fence made out of cedar posts and cattle panels, and have old shrub and climbing roses growing.

I have flower beds in the lower part of the yard....tropical plants and flowering shrubs, daylilies, mostly. Lots of bird baths, four old concrete water troughs made into water gardens, and plan to put two patios in under and near the old oak.

Haven't started on the upper part yet. We are still working on the house. Will have a porch that opens onto a deck. I
collect garden "stuff". Have several sets of iron tables and chairs, so will have more on the deck. Lots of plants...leaning towards easy perrennials, like daylilies, and tropicals. Always more old roses and since I raise waterlilies...little water features here and there.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Our house is about 1000 sq.ft. and our back lot is about 200 ft deep. We only use part of it. There is about another 40ft behind the fence here. We just couldn't afford to fence it all in, and the trees caused problems with the roots. We call the area beyond the fence the back 40.
Photobucket


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Mine is also about 1000 sf up with a finished walkout down and we're on 5 acres. Backs up to wildlife. Funny, but when we first moved in all our city friends would survey the yard and sigh, saying, gee it's going to look different when it gets built up! Now I ask you, who is going to be nervy enough to build a home in my yard????

We've been here 15 years (next month) and plant either trees or bushes every spring. This spring there will be several lilac bushes going in, in honor of my mother-in-law who passed away. She loved lilacs.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I looked long and hard for a lot which would satisfy our requirements. We wanted small house, but on a corner lot such that we could park our motorhome in the backyard, via both a front driveway as well as a side gate. Consequently, we have a relatively big yard. We haven't totally finished with our owner/builder project, and as you can see I still need to cement-plaster the foundation (a common procedure around here).
We're going to plant a large Southern Magnolia tree and a large Texas Red Oak tree in the front yard. I just recently finished the front flower planter which hides the lamp post concrete base. Right now, we're starting a rose garden in the side yard (as we speak), and I put in a starter veggie garden in the backyard (there's room for growth). I also need to get rid of 2 dirt piles. The fun part has begun LOL, except I'm dreading putting in the sprinkler system and the St Augustine sod (in the front yard). The grass you see is wild grass/weeds, which I'll take out.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I have no idea how big our lot is (in Southern California), but it's pretty small. Our back yard is taken up by the pool, and we have a 6'x6' grass patch by the side of it -- whoopee! We do have a couple planter boxes in the backyard that we plant our vegetable garden in, though -- they're big enough to get a couple tomato plants, peppers, and a few other things in.

This is our back yard from a picture that we took before we bought the house (we ripped those bushes out of the planters. That's our "garden" now.) Next time I get a house, though, it'll be one without a pool. I'd rather have a back yard, I think.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

This is my backyard. It's huge! For my area, at least.

backyard

That was taken last year when we first bought the house. But it doesn't look any different right now. Outside of the picture on the bottom right we've got a 12 x 15 shed. We're going to be putting in a salt water lagoon like pool on the right and a second garage for DH to work in on the left. Don't know exactly when, but I get my pool before the garage.

My "garden" is gunna be in my front yard. It's decent size.

2nd coat and sandblasted

I've got plenty of room to work with, since I'm a beginner. I've never had my own garden. I can't wait until the inside of the house is finished so I can bring my attention to the outside. There are some rose bushes that have been there since the late 60s that were transplanted from the family ranch that had been around since the turn of the century. I really don't like roses, but I just can't get rid of them because of the history. And the fact that our neighbor hates them. He's a giant butt, so they stay.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

agnesackneback, I saw in the other thread that you're in Orange County -- so am I! Your yard IS huge for the area.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

Where abouts in the OC are you? We were lucky my grandma wanted to downsize. Cuz if she didn't we wouldn't be able to get such a great yard if we bought any other house. Everything that's going up is all squooshed together with only patios. I couldn't imagine having a big doggy with such little space.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I'm right on the border between Santa Ana and Tustin. It's a nice little pocket neighborhood surrounded by some businesses and apartments -- most people hear "Santa Ana" and make a face, but we're close enough to Tustin that it's still pretty clean and safe (start driving another half mile or mile west, though, and things start to get rather crummy-looking pretty fast). A good portion of our neighbors are older folks who have been living in their houses for yeeeaaars, so we're the young'uns on the block.

We're honestly just happy to have a house, considering how much it costs to buy one out here.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

I know not all of Santa Ana is bad, South Coast is Santa Ana. A friend was looking at places in SA and found some beautiful houses, all upgraded, but in the worst neighborhoods. Her husband said they could move there as long as she didn't mind dodging bullets to get to the house. Haha.


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RE: Small home - is your yard small ?

House is fairly small on 1/4 acre lot. Can't wait to sell my pool, deck and hot tub to get it ready for a new bigger garden. In a couple years I want to put in a nice, brick patio.


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