Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Well, the day has finally arrived! We broke ground this weekend, so I suppose you could say we are really actually officially doing this project!
Thankfully we didn’t have a whole lot back there to tear out - just grass and a border planting area about 2’ wide around the fence that was made with reclaimed wood. So a good few hours were spent pulling that out, then pulling the nails out of the wood, and finally tearing the old vines down from the trellis along the walls. We hope to reuse the existing trellis for fruiting vines along the walls in the final design.
My husband rented a little yellow excavator for the weekend, so we could trench. A little tip - if you’re looking to do demo yourself to save a little money, rent equipment on a Saturday and often you’ll get Sunday for free because they don’t charge for Sundays! That works perfectly for us weekend garden warriors. He spent some long hours digging to get the raised bed wall foundation and irrigation pipes laid - unfortunately the caliche clay layer we have naturally on top here in Phoenix was pretty thick, and difficult even for the excavator to punch through, so it was pretty slow going. And then there’s the learning curve we amateurs all face...he dug about 70’ length for the wall, then realized it wasn’t quite in the right place, so had to go back and dig it out again! Same for the irrigation - we dug one route with this excavator, and then he (of course) refined the design, which ended up placing pipes in an entirely different part of the yard, which then had to be re-dug the next time! But we want it done right, so the extra time and work is just part of the whole process, right?
The best part of the weekend was that my cousin’s kids (including Scott, for whom the chicken Scoot is named) came up from Tucson to help me watch our two boys and to play with the baby chicks. So they got some fun time together, and we also had some extra help with the demo - a win-win!
By the end, it really didn’t look like we’d done much, but there were two good 12 hour days of solid work put into clearing and digging back there. And now the stage is set to actually start putting in the raised bed wall and irrigation and (we’ve already ordered them, so we’d better get moving) - our trees!