A new view

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we've been waiting for the tree guys to remove a few trees from our yard. I wanted to get rid of them sooner rather than later so I didn't have to worry about protecting plants near them and we had some more time to figure out what to do to replace them.

Many of you have commiserated with me about having to remove trees. It's not something we take lightly and it's clear that I'm not the only person who has a connection to their trees.

Taking down the big birch in the back yard was a very difficult decision to make. I remember being in awe of that tree when we first saw the house, but it was clear that it was in failing health and the thought of a very large, sick tree that our house and garage happen to be in the direct path of was making me lose sleep.

It was the first tree they tackled when they got there at 7:30 a.m. (sorry, neighbors) so I watched them remove some of it before I realized some things are better not watched and I went to work. So I looked out the window and saw this:


This tree guy is amazing. He climbs up the tree free hand, ties a few ropes to a couple of branches, rappels  down (using just a knot, no fancy climbing gear other than his harness) and cuts off the branches while the guys below manage them. He doesn't wear a helmet or chainsaw chaps and his eye protection is a pair of sunglasses. It's a little scary but he does amazing work and his crew leaves the yard spotless. And he's always willing to do a couple extra little things if time permits, like cut off a random branch on a tree or grind a small stump.

We had to pay extra to have him grind the massive stump for this birch tree because we hope to plant another three nearby in the future. Yes, you can rent a stump grinder, but having gone that route once because I can tell you it is well worth paying for that service.

Here's a picture from March of the tree:

And here's what that area looked like when I came home:


We have never seen that house from our yard before. Well, at least not that we noticed. We were also surprised about how much shade that tree was providing even without being leafed out. The kitchen is much brighter, which is something I never expected. I think I will probably have to edit a few plants from the new bed off the deck, but I'll wait and see how things do as spring progresses.

The other major change came in our bedroom. One of the reasons we loved that tree so much is that we looked at it from bed, watched birds and squirrels frolic in it and watched it sway (a little too close to the house) in the wind.

This was the view from bed Tuesday morning before the tree cutters arrived.


And here's what it looked like yesterday afternoon:


That's quite a difference, view-wise, and I think it will be even more of difference light wise. I don't think it will still be enough to get me to put window coverings up, but it might help me get out of bed a bit earlier. That's not a bad thing.

The cedar that was badly damaged in the March snowstorm also came down. It was right outside the living room window. We were concerned we would be exposed to the road and our neighbors on the other side when it came down, but I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the view.

Here's what it looked like out the window before:


And here's the after:

One thing we've learned is that projects beget projects, and taking down these trees is no exception. For one thing, there is this little issue to deal with:


That would be the massive pile of wood from the birch tree waiting to be split and stacked. The wood revealed that we weren't premature in taking down that tree. This is what some of the logs looked like inside:



The other project is that the back yard, which is a main view from the deck, is in need of some serious sprucing up. 

Here's what it looks like now. The large viburnums I planted last year haven't leafed out yet, so that will help when they do (and hopefully they will grow quickly to 8 feet tall or so). But there's plenty more to do beyond that.


Here's a little sketch of what I'm thinking needs to happen. First and foremost, we need to relocate the wood pile, or at the very least find something other than bright blue tarp to cover it up. That looks awful and I can't stand it.


In the sketch, the emerald green represents what's already there, including the three virburnums I planted last year and the small island garden bed there. The yellow shows the future, including the full-grown size of the viburnums, the addition of one more to the left of the first three and an expansion of that island bed (that I've never really been happy with). I think we'll had a spruce, maybe a blue one, to fill the gap between the existing cedars and then in the future we may plant a new large tree, but we're going to take our time deciding on the if, what and when of that. Part of the problem is that the enormous spruce to the left, which is maybe the biggest tree in our entire yard and must top out at about 80-100 feet tall and easily 40 feet wide, now looks completely out of place with nothing to balance it. Somehow it actually looks much, much larger without the birch there.

Amazing what a difference a few trees (or the lack thereof) make. Has your yard gone through major changes when you've lost trees?




4 comments :

  1. We have been removing dead oak trees on our property and it is a lot of work. But what a difference it makes when trying to figure out what to plant!!! Just curious about the program you used to sketch in your plants/shrubs. That really helps to see how things will look.

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    1. Hi Darlene,

      Isn't it amazing how different it is when a tree is gone? For some reason that's not something I'm able to envision until the tree is down.

      I just used a quicky paintbrush tool in Photoshop to draw that in.

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  3. You know, I think I like the view without the cedar - gives you more of a perspective even though you have lost some privacy. We're still waiting for the town to come and take down a massive birch which is adjoining our property - it will give us more sun for the vegetable garden even though we will lose some privacy.

    Projects and changes are always so exciting even if they come out of the sadness of taking down an old tree.

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