Our Lemon Tree



You may have spotted a little lemon tree in a square pot pictured in some of our previous posts.  

This poor lemon tree has been standing guard over our back yard ever since we moved into this house. We couldnt stand to leave it behind when we moved a couple of years ago, so we had it trucked over with the rest of our belongings(solid effort by the removalist). I was able to dig up some old photos of our previous yard – same square pot, same tree 



We purchased this lemon tree about 7 years ago. It is a Dwarf Meyer Lemon variety which is designed to stay small and produce a decent yield of full sized fruit. After protecting it from frosts over the first two winters, we did get a few good seasons of produce from it. The lemons were well sized, not too sour and full of juice – very yummy and refreshing.   

Under under ideal conditions it should grow to a maximum of 3metres / 10feet high and about 2 metres wide, but unfortunately it has been stuck in this same pot since day 1. Its never been able to live up to its full potential.

One of our aims is to set this lemon tree free and plant it in the ground where it can spread out and reach its full potential! cant wait for that day!

Part 3 – Lawn Edging

With the Shed paving done, the Lawn edging will be the next job to get done. This will really frame out the backyard and we will finally get to see some of our plans become reality.

I must say, these edging pavers really are fantastic value for money. We were looking at getting square cobble stones or something similar for a fancy look but the cost was way too high. These will do the job and look great for a very long time. The exact charcoal edging paver we used can be found here.

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Part 3 – Paved area for the Shed

Today we will finally start some of the paving work that will give some structure to the whole job. We were in long discussions about what to start with next and this made the most sense – starting right from the back of the house and move to the front.

An order of a full pallet of pavers(about 500) was made so we could get all of the jobs done without having to go back for more. We did buy more than needed but our landscaper said he will buy them back at cost to reuse for other jobs if necessary.

All pavers and steppers for our job will be purchased from binkpavers.com.au (support your local!)

Enough pavers?

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Irrigation system essentials – main lines

The following is a list of all the essential irrigation pieces we used to run and connect the main lines. The main lines we used were were 19mm or 3/4″ Poly Tube and joined together with appropriate sized connectors.

We will write another blog post with the different items we use for the lawn, trees/shrubs and vegetable beds as we proceed.

Poly Tube

Basic irrigation poly tube that you can pick up at any hardware store

Joiners

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Part 3 – Laying out the main irrigation lines

With the lull in activity from the landscapers, we got busy laying out the main lines for the irrigation system that will help keep our garden nice and green. The irrigation system is something we are hoping to do ourselves to help cut down on costs and ensure we get exactly what we want from the system. 

We got an idea from work colleague of having a fully automated system with valves, timers and WiFi. He has this type of setup in his house and loves being able to sit back and use an app on his phone to stop and start all the irrigation zones. Being a gadget guy(and lazy) im all for it!!  

For now, everything will be built in manual and we will work up to installing the automation.

We started by running a couple of lines to the side and front yards and capped them to prevent dirt getting inside.

Another line was run for the new lawn area, the shape of which roughly followed the outline of where we think the lawn will be installed. We also ran a line to where the garden beds will be installed.

The pipe we used was standard 19mm poly tubing and all of the connectors and clamps are what you would get at a local hardware store – nothing too fancy here. 

There is a tap installed around the back of the house and we will be using this as the point where the entire irrigation system will be connected and controlled. 

Now to do some research on automated irrigation systems!

Part 3 – Planning update

In our previous post, we outlined the a plan or design that would be used for the next phase of this project – Part 3 will focus on turning the blank canvas into various zones and usable areas.

The key jobs are as follows:

  • Garden Paths – One path will run from the front of the house and will end at the gate / entrance to the back yard. Another path will connect the entertainment area to the utility area at the back of the home.
  • Lawn edging – Something simple to keep the lawn and surrounding areas separated and distinct from one another.
  • Lawn – A beautiful lush green lawn to enjoy all year around.
  • Irrigation system – The irrigation system will be essential to keep the garden looking great especially during our hot and dry summers. The preference here is to have everything that needs water covered by this irrigation system so that the need for manual watering is reduced.
  • Raised Garden Beds – A couple of raised garden beds will be built primarily for growing food during the warmer months.
  • Extended Entertainment area(Concrete slab). The current entertainment area will be extended to give us more room to move.
  • Paved utility area – A paved area that will form the foundation for the shed and give us some space for a general utility area.
  • Garden Shed – No garden is complete without a Garden Shed.
  • Planting – Not sure exactly what plants we will get but we will likely include a Hedge, a couple of trees and a few shrubs.
  • Mulching – Finishing with mulch for water retention and protection of the plants from weather extremes

Starting any day now!!

 

 

Landscape planning and layout

In hindsight, it would have been a better idea to start this project with a plan as opposed to starting with only a few ideas in my head. We had a vision and some basic concepts of what we were after and so far we have seen good results and progress. But now that its getting into a more detailed phase of the project, we need to start working against something tangible so that our landscapers see what we are aiming for.

In our down time, we have been sketching some ideas on paper. 

Here is my attempt to translate those paper sketches into a PC image file that can be printed out and shown to the landscapers.

Yard Plan

There are probably better ways to do this but I dont have the software or skills to draw it up properly.

The main concepts are still there but now with some additional details including:

  1. An outline of the new lawn area
  2. A kids play area
  3. Garden beds to grow our own food
  4. Footpaths 
  5. A hedge(and probably a few trees and shrubs) around the front, and
  6. An area for the garden shed

Now that we have a plan on paper, we will start to mark out the areas to see how will look before finally committing to the work.

Part 2 – Earthworks update

Over the last 4 days, we have seen considerable transformation of our yard. We finally got rid of that old ‘lawn’ and its been replaced with tonnes of new soil which has provided us with a blank canvas to work with.

During the week, the dingo and trucks were working hard all day to get rid of the old, and bring in the new.

After the initial rip up and removal, Luke worked on getting several tonnes of back fill onto the property and then worked it all the way to the back to create the new ground level.

There is still a slight but deliberate fall from house to fence for water run off(about 15cm) but nothing like the previous 50-60cm we had inherited. 

Finally,  a topping of approx 10-15cm of rich top soil was added which will provide us with a great base from which to plant our trees, shrubs and lay a new lawn.

Below are some are some progress shots we took during the work.

Once we get to the end of this stage, we really need to start thinking a bit more about the layout of the yard. We have some plans in mind but there is going to be a bit of a lull in activity while we think, plan and formalise the next phase.

 

Part 2 – Earthworks

Ever since we bought this place, one thing we really disliked was this weed infested lawn in our back yard. It wasn’t usable at all, and all I could do was just keep the weeds down(and the kids away from it) while we were waiting for this job to start.

The day has finally come where we will be ripping it all up and starting again!

Today we had breakfast to the sounds of some machinery getting unloaded and driven into our back yard. These guys are early starters and they were getting on with it at just after 7am.

 

Here is a photo we were able to sneak before heading off to work.

Dingo getting it done - looks like fun

During the day they were busy clearing off all the grass and top soil so that they could gradually start to back-fill and level over the next few days.

At the end of this phase, the aim is to have a uniform ground level that goes all the way around from the front all the way to the back. In addition, with some of the current soil being removed and replaced, we are going to take the opportunity to improve the soil quality by bringing in good soil loaded with rich organic content. 

Below are some photos taken after the initial days work:

Very impressed with how much was done in a short period of time. it will be interesting to see how this progresses over over the next week or so.

PS: besides the noise and general mess, the other down side to all this activity is that we were advised to keep all of our windows shut to prevent everything inside being covered in a fine layer of dust!  

Part 2 – Fence finished, now onto the earthworks

In our previous post, we mentioned that the height of the fence was a bit of an issue as it looked too high and didn’t line up well with the other part of the fence we had already installed.

We decided that it had to be cut down by about 30cm and it now looks a lot neater – another milestone completed and we have a new fence that should last ages. We have also finally gained complete privacy in our back yard without losing any of the views out over the valley, a great result and something we have been looking forward to for a long time.

 

In our previous home we had a cream coloured fence which would reflect the sun and was overly bright during sunny days. This colour blends in to the background, and when we finally plant some greenery it will pop against a the dark background.

Now that this is done, its time to move onto the earthworks. We discussed this next step with out landscapers and they are going to need access into the back yard for their machines(dingo, bobcat and trucks), therefore have delayed installing the small side fence and gate until they are done.

 

Access thru here

In preparation for the first part of the earthworks, Luke has asked us to cut down the lawn to as low as possible so that his machines can get in and work efficiently to remove the current grass and soil before starting with the back-fill. We have done this in preparation for them commencing early next week.

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