Sunday, June 06, 2010
One of the things I love about the neighbourhood I live in is the diversity of backyards. There are alleys behind almost every street and I take the neighbour's dog for walks along them. I love to check out all the various backyards. They range from mini-farms to magical eating nooks to utter neglect (and the occassional concrete parking lot; boo).
I share our backyard with our downstairs neighbour. She has a real green thumb, especially for indoor plants and brings hers out to her deck every spring. She is really cool and we get along fine, but she has the more direct access to the backyard so tends to take advantage of it more. The other disadvantage of the backyard is that it has three large trees. They are érables à giguères, a maple species not native to Québec, but fairly prolific in and around Montreal. People consider them kind of junky trees, but I'm quite happy with their funky growth patterns and aggressive seeding. I say disadvantage only because it has basically been impossible to grow anything in the backyard, because of all the shade. On the other hand, when it is baking hot, our backyard remains nicely cool and our trees absorb sound and probably a lot of crap spewed from the cars on St.urbain, so we definitely like them.
But because I'm not gardening, I don't spend as much time as I should in the backyard. So I've been thinking about ways to take advantage of the space. My downstairs neighbour has pointed out several times that the patio laid out there is starting to rot and though I like it, I realize that it kind of blocks the fun stuff that could be done with the backyard. So I decided to rip it out.
It was a good Friday evening project and took only about an hour and a half, though I was chasing the light at the end. Our only concern is that the open dirt may well be viewed by the army of cats that hang out back there as a giant toilet. Thus, our pathetic attempt to cover part of it with a bit of plastic.
My plan is to build some little trails and take advantage of the lush growth, to give it a cozy, private feel. I'm going to keep the hexagonal picnic bench for now, but eventually, I'll maybe go for something smaller. A little bench for reading or complementing against one side might be nice as well.