After two months of taking the DIY approach, Michael and I were happy to hand off the next stage of our project to a team of professionals. The first order of business was to attend to our trees. We had several arborists visit our property to evaluate the trees’ health and give us recommendations about to what to keep, what to prune, and what to remove. We were pleased to hear that our two backyard oaks (both are Southern red oaks, Quercus falcata) were in good health, as were two of the large southern pines (most likely Pinus taeda) and the sweet gum (Liquidambar styracifolium). We did decide to take out two other large pines, a boxelder, and a Bradford pear not only because they were diseased, but also because one of the pines was essentially growing out of our foundation.
This pine was succumbing to a fungal disease and completely covered with mature poison ivy so I was really glad to see it go.
It's hard to overstate how much better the garden looked after removing the trees. We still have lovely shade from the remaining trees, but now there is also abundant sunlight and airflow.
The remaining trees are a network of sorts, with their roots likely intertwined and supporting each other. I'm glad we were able to keep them and hope they'll benefit from the light and air that's reaching them now.
Once the trees were removed, we graded to smooth and level out the property in preparation for the next step, installing a fence.
The Fence, November 2020
Given our proximity to downtown Atlanta, we're fortunate to have a nicely-size lot. While we knew we needed to fence it, we weren't looking to make a statement or have the fence become a focal point. From both a budget and design standpoint, we needed it to be utilitarian—to keep dogs and children inside and give a bit of privacy—so we opted for a classic vertical-slat 6-foot privacy fence.
We have an easement between our property and the sidewalk. It was a bit hard to let this bit of square footage go with the fence installation, but we had no choice.
The finished fence! And a lot of Georgia red clay mud.
Once the fence was installed, I had a clearer vision of my design direction and planting priorities. First we'd need to seed the ground for grass. The next step would be turning my attention to shrubs and other plants for privacy and screening.