Restoring an Old Abandoned Rural Backyard

Restoring an Old Abandoned Rural Backyard. Several months ago, we had to relocate due to a job. In this economy, you kind of have to do that. The job we relocated for was a blessing but it took us several months to find the right home.

The one we found is incredible. Out at the end of a rural backyard road, it has about twenty fruit trees, a grape arbor, blackberries, tons of foraging, and acres of woods. Except one little problem – it’s been there for about thirty years. OK technically that’s not a problem necessarily, but there is a barrier I’m running in to.

When you have a relatively new property, there’s tons of potential. You can plant things where you want to, clear out what you want to, leave the woods alone where you want to, find the perfect spot for this or that, and so on.  Oftentimes when people decide they want the rural lifestyle, they end up with a place they can do whatever they want with.

However, sometimes it doesn’t happen that way.  When you move to a home that’s already GOT all those things, that can pose an issue – especially if the people who initially developed the property had no interest in vegetable gardening!  Especially, if like us, you are renting – we had no desire to commit to buying a home since the ultimate goal is to be able to live on the property we already have.

All in all, though, this can create opportunities. Make lemonade from lemons, right? The truth is, wherever you live there may be some obstacles that you will have to think creatively to work around.  The nice thing is it will give you a lot of great experience, regardless if you plan on staying there forever or if it is just temporary.

My obstacles are just a few – no good place for a vegetable garden because the tree canopy is too tall and not much direct sun gets into the yard, and that there hasn’t been much maintenance done in the last few years. This means I have an orchard with twenty fruit trees that really need pruning, a grape arbor that is so overgrown it is trying to take over the neighboring trees, and a lost patch of blackberries that was abandoned years ago that needs to be restored.  This also means a significant amount of my vegetable growing will be in containers this year, placed carefully in spots here and there that get enough sun.

But you know what? It’s exciting to me to have the opportunity to do this. There will be lots of very valuable experience in rural living and lifestyle to be gained from this, even though it may take several years.  I hope you’ll follow along with me on this journey, and I will post photos of my progress along the way. In the meantime, here are some “before” pictures to show you what I mean.

Restoring an Old Abandoned Rural Backyard

P.S. – You can click on the pictures to see the full-size versions :)

Here is the beautiful old grape arbor.  There are a few remnants of the tiny, sour grapes it produced
this fall, and I am hoping with some pretty heavyhanded pruning it will produce some good fruit in 2011.


Old Overgrown Grape Arbor

You can see it is trying really hard to take over the trees next to it!

Overgrown Grape Arbor Taking Over Trees

This is two 20-foot rows of domesticated blackberries that are completely lost.  They need to get new posts and wire re-strung.  The good news is, we’ll probably end up with lots of blackberry starts to give to Jim & Marie!

Rural Backyard

Rural Backyard