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Where I am at, and where I want to be - long and with photos

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:33 pm
by Zofiava
As I mentioned in my intro, I live in a home that was restored by the history and landmarks society here in Pittsburgh. They are working tirelessly to save this historic district from the decay that took over with the gangs of the 80s and 90s.

Most people moved out, leaving their homes abandoned, which only breeds more and more crime and decay. But this new initiative is changing things!

This small area where graffiti and empty houses also boasts it's very own organic farm!

Being a proud new homeowner, but aware of my neighborhoods shortcomings, I am hoping to brighten things up for my 4 and 5 year old daughters. I have a lot of obstacles in my way, but I am determined!

I am going to attach a photo of my house, to try to illustrate what I am up against.

This is my mom on my porch on Halloween:

As you may be able to see, the area next to my house, there is a chain link fence and a car. We parked the car there for safe keeping for a few weeks, but that is actually a part of our "yard" now. I say "yard" because it was an alley, with bricks, that they fenced off to make a yard for us. The bricks are still there, though there is a triangle patch of grass in the back, and a strip of grass along the other side as well.

I also have the little area in front of the house to play with. The foundation planted a redbud tree in front, and skyrocketing junipers along the turret. Some neighborhood kid cut down the last juniper though.

The area needs a lot of work, and is still in it's first phase (my next door neighbors house has also been restored, as you can see) the houses and buildings around me are mostly abandoned. I'll attach a photo of that as well.


Anyway, I am not adverse to pulling the bricks up in my "yard" but was told it may be easier to leave the bricks and layer gravel and sand and plant grass where the bricks are, and save any real gardening for the plots where there are no bricks.

Oh also, I have an American Mastiff puppy who is quite large.. I plan on sectioning a part off for his business.

Anyway, I appreciate it if you made it this far, and would appreciate it even more if you had any advice for me!

My main goal here is to brighten the place for my kids, and also to show my pride in the neighborhood!

Thanks so much!!!

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:50 am
by pd
I don't think I can offer any advice as I live in a different type of neighbourhood here in the UK but I will say that I admire your tenacity and your vision for ongoing improvements. I wish you all the good fortune possible.

Yorkshire UK.


Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:27 pm
by bullthistle
What a difference between the two photos. First I wouldn't bother with grass. It takes up too much room to store a mower when you could cut the grass with sissors. Plant a perennial bed with spreaders that bloom different seasons. will give you some hints. Also you indicated a redbud but I didn't see any. Too bad crapemyrtle isn't hardy in your area because you could use some narrow branching trees to tone down the house lines. Evergreens get too fat. Have fun!

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:31 am
by Zofiava
You are so right, it is next to impossible to see the tree in that photo. My house is the orangish colored one, and the tree (with no leaves) is in the corner of the yard close to the blue house. It's hard to make out, but it's there.

I have never seen it with new leaves, as it was planted in the fall. Do you think it will still come back in the spring?

Thank you for your suggestions and the comments, I will check that link out now, I am really hoping to do this right, and I see I have come to the right place!

Thanks again!

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:40 pm
by bullthistle
Redbud's are deciduous, but before you see the leaves they will bud first along the stems. You might want to move the evergreens to the back to use as a screen, because they ain't doing anything where they are now.

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:21 pm
by Zofiava
It sounds dumb, but I am not sure if I am allowed to move the junipers.. they were done by the Landmarks people... but I guess it wouldn't be part of the facade which there is an easement on. I would rather have lots of flowers, myself.

I only worry about the redbud because I have never seen it with any growth.

Thanks so much for the advice, I will look into moving them, I would like to screen in the fence, I hate that fence!