Chainsawaganza! (I)

Brooke here:

Work progresses accordingly, but not in any way that makes it appear as though we are actually doing anything at all.  I’ve been reluctant to post for fear that it seems we’re just lying about doing our due diligence as DIYers.  For example, we just finished the first round of Chainsawaganza.  The “before” shot shows the pool surrounded by trees:


Pool and deck before Chainsawaganza!


Compared against:


Pool and deck after Chainsawaganza!


This “after” photo suggests that despite several hours’ work of cutting, slashing, and hauling off any tree smaller than five inches in diameter, all we’ve done is build a treehouse.

Chainsawaganza! is labor-intensive but has to be done.  Before we can do any real landscaping, we need to remove the majority of the smaller trees and the English ivy.  Since the ivy has overcrowded every single scrap of earth on the property, we’re taking care of the trees first: there’s a very good chance that if we did the ivy first, all of our topsoil would wash away. We’ve started back in the woods by the pool, as leaves falling into the pool is infuriating and trees growing close to the pool might send roots through the concrete shell.


One of the trees was a young cedar. We'll reclaim the wood by turning our closet into sweet, sweet moth-poison.


Neither of us are too happy about cutting down trees, so we’re planning to turn what we cut into mulch and reclaim as much of it as possible in a (very necessary) drainage project.  Three days of solid rain last week flooded part of the basement.  We’ve postponed some interior projects to work on shoring up the foundation so rainwater doesn’t run directly off of the roof, onto the ground, and back into the house.  I get to order a half-ton of dirt this week and do some funky layer-cake stuff with the dirt, plastic tarp, industrial-strength adhesive, and the raw mulch.

Oh, and around the other side of the house, I’m waging death on a small patch of English ivy.  No worries about soil erosion here, as there used to be a patio and the ivy has grown over it and up the side of the brick masonry, but since I’m smothering it out using layers of old cardboard all it looks as though I’ve done is forgotten to take out the recycling.

6 thoughts on “Chainsawaganza! (I)

  1. Cutting down trees is a difficult, labor intensive, and time consuming task – it looks like you guys took out quite a bit! I think it looks pretty good.

    For the matter of drowning in your basement, you might want to look in to creating a French drain. Two hard working men in not-so-great shape and a much smaller (and sick) female can knock one out in a 3 day weekend. We did borrow one of those Cats with a narrow scooping bucket, but had to dig by hand for half a day until we found the gas pipes (and still managed to knick one. hindsight, it was a heck of a lot easier cutting the pipe and replacing than trying to dig carefully around it). Then we didn’t get enough dug from the Cat and had to do a lot more by hand… And we had to hand dig the run off pipes from the house to the drain.

    I don’t know how level your land is… French drains seem to be more helpful to areas that have a hill that throw water run off at the house.

    1. I hate to say this but there already are French drains. The previous owners installed them, and the basement still floods. So either they weren’t installed properly or the gradient of the land leading to the house is still causing problems… probably both. We’ve had a water management engineer look at the property and he recommended increasing the gradient and channeling water into a sidewalk that also acts as a drain, so we get to slope the land and then lay a new sidewalk.

  2. I understand your tree-pain. My childhood home had 150 oak trees in the yard. Every time one died(and ~one died a year, due to a variety of things we couldn’t control), we’d spend a weekend and 4 chainsaw blades cutting it down, bagging the branches/leaves, and disposing of the logs. I hate trees now.

  3. Pingback: Wisteria «

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