Clearing the Lot

Everyone loves a good before and after shot right?

This project will have probably about a million of those - but the very first one came over the summer. After years of just hanging out, all of the overgrowth on the lot needed to go. I'm a saver / restorer by heart ... but even I knew everything here was a goner.

The benefits of clearing the lot were to: (1) actually be able to see what we were working with and (2) make room for the actual construction process. To get to where we are today (starting week 5), there were about 3 phases in my mind.

Phase 1: tree falls out
Over the course of my history with this house, I had absolutely fallen in love with this big ole tree in the backyard. It was huge. I loved the shade, privacy and coziness it provided the backyard. It felt old and perhaps even protective ... pretty much the opposite of new.

So, it was a real thorn in my side when half of it decided to just FALL OVER one beautiful sunny summer day. All throughout the course of the project, I had been told "this tree needs to go" and in my heart of hearts I probably knew that would be the case ... but I held out hope. Then hope was dashed.

It felt like a huge tree when it was up in the air... but I was amazed by the magnitude of it on the ground in the driveway. By some mystery, the tree hit NOTHING when it fell over. No damage to the house, garage, people, etc.

Phase 2: clear the lot
We hired this guy to clear the lot of ... pretty much everything. It was a pretty crazy day because it really signaled to the neighborhood that change was coming. For so long people had looked at the overgrowth and been used to it... now HELLO HOUSE.

After all the bushes and trees were cleared, you could so clearly see the house and it's architecture. One thing that was really important to me was trying to save some of the trees for future project. While I had loved the big tree in the back, it was just far too rotten. Despite actually having the original dining table, I imagined getting a beautiful dining table made from this 100+ year old tree and it being a fixture of the house. Those hopes were dashed.... but there was a tall spruce in the front of the house that could be saved. So, now I have like a 12+ ft log that I'm hoarding.

I've done a little research into turning this log into something but not sure that I trust any of these random dudes with mills. Seven years ago I met a friend in Maine who does beautiful woodwork and would be PERFECT for this job ... but he lives in Utah now. Until then, this log just hangs out with all my antique bricks in the corner of the lot.

Phase 3: clear the lot for real
As we get ready to lift and move the house, we needed to actually do more lot clearing - which makes sense. The giant stump was still in the backyard and the roots from all the shrubs were still in the way. So, I came home one day and all of a sudden it was just clear beautiful dirt. Who ever thought you would say dirt was beautiful.....
That's really it for clearing the lot. We decided to leave some of the border shrubs in the back for privacy in the meantime. So many things about this picture will change as the house gets renovated but you can see how this landscape is a clear canvas for the future.

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