Well, the back yard was sure a change from the front! The front was delivered "topsoil", the backyard was existing soil from the ridge. What a difference in quality, and not the way you would think!!! The ridge in the backyard was better soil...
When I finished the first 2" tilling of the front packed soil, I was worried about the backyard because they drove the equipment around there a lot more than in the front. But when I finished the 2" tilling of the new front soil, I did one experimental row through the back.
The back soil is WONDERFUL! In spite of all the equipment driven over it, it is (relatively) soft, loose, and fertile-looking. The surface seemed also hard, but the rototiller just went through it like a spoon through flour... That part is going to be so easy that I feel better about having to spend time on the front.
Hurray for an easy part to the project!
Planting in the backyard is going to be easy.
The important part is deciding what to plant. The front yard is easy - lawn (keeps the neighbors happy). The backyard is more important to me and the cats. We live THERE when outside. And we like bugs and butterflies and birds and bees.
So, I want a small meadow of native flowers that will support locals bugs and etc. I think there will be an edging of 3' shrubs (some to each flower in Spring, Summer, and Fall) and 2 pieces of 225 square feet (21 square meters) meadow (separated by a mowable path). I have some suitable plants I can divide and plant in clumps (coneflowers, black-eye-susans, goldenrod, and I will buy a large packet of native meadowflower seeds to scatter among them in 1 patch .
The other patch will be the Lysimachia Firecracker that has been bedeviling me in the regular flowerbed. In a patch I can finally mow around, it won't spread easily. I love the purple leaves and the yellow flowers, it just isn't a friendly neighbor to other plants. So it gets it's own spot where it can be controlled.
For the Spring Summer, and Fall blooming shrubs, I am choosing Azaleas for Spring, a Rhododendron for Fall, and I'm not sure about a small Summer-blooming shrub, but considering Knock-out Rose and or a dwarf butterfly bush. Suggestions for USA Zone 7 are welcome.
When I measure the new area for a scaled layout, I'll post it.
I do have to add a minor accident. I was guiding the rototiller along the edge of the drainage easement in the front yard yesterday and I hit a rock. The rototiller tilted, and of course it tilted in the direction of the drainage easement. You know how somethings tilt and, just for one brief movement all is seemingly balanced? And then it falls...
In the wrong direction, of course.
Before I go further, I should mention that it seems to me that everyone has some particular problem that happens to them more often than to others. One of mine is that gas equipment doesn't like to stop when set to the "stop" position. They just sputter and cough along refusing to actually stop. My regular lawn mower does that and I have to use a screwdriver to short-circuit the spark plug to the chassis to stop it. My gas chain saw does that (when I can get it to start at all). The rototiller has the same problem.
So there it was, balanced on the digging parts trying to fall into the drainage easement. It succeeded! My first thought was DAMN! My second was "I hope nobody saw that"! But I set the lever to the stop position and it wouldn't stop. Of course...
At least the lever that disengages the digging blades (tines) worked. So there I was with the rototiller on its side in the drainage easement, sputtering. And besides, in trying to hold the thing up out of the drainage easement, I fell into it myself.
Need I mention that there are brambles along the edge of the drainage easement at that ONE spot? Probably not, what else would be there with my luck? So I picked myself up out of the muddy bottom, pulled the rototiller upright, and got it into reverse and backed it up the side of the drainage easement side.
It's OK to laugh. I wouldn't be telling you about this if I was easily embarrassed by the occasional failures in daily life. After I had the rototiller back out of the drainage easement (and turned off), I sat down and laughed too.
If you can't laugh at yourself, you have a problem... LOL!