Removing a Small Hill is a Not-So-Small Project

When we moved into our recently remodeled rambler a little more than two years ago I thought, “No more projects!”

When we moved into our recently remodeled rambler a little more than two years ago I thought, “No more projects!” In our previous home we had replaced flooring, trim, light fixtures and painted every square inch of the place, and I was excited at the thought of fewer weekend projects that ran for weeks on end.

After our two-year honeymoon with the new home we needed something to fill the project-less void, and the dead space with a superfluous hill felt like the exact right project. We grew tired of our two shepherd-mix pups running through (they know they’re not supposed to) and spattering mulch around the yard like unwelcome confetti.

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Thus, a plan was hatched. We were expecting nice, albeit unseasonably warm, May weather so we invited my parents down to the cities to help remove the hill, transplant the beautiful magnolia tree twenty feet to the north, and then my husband and I would build five raised cedar beds for gardening. Too easy, right?

removing a small hill before

What I learned from the experience:

  • Hills are deceptive, especially when they’ve been compacted.
  • Trees are flipping heavy and the holes they need for transplanting are huge.
  • My parents should be canonized. They were troopers for joining us in this endeavor, never complained, and only enjoyed one celebratory beer at the end of the day before making the hour drive home.
  • Never depend on a Minnesota weather forecast. Our dry forecast and plan to slowly build the planter boxes throughout several days turned into a sprint when storms pushed further north and we had to have enough done in 24 hours to cover the dirt piles so as not to lose them.

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We still have to install pavers between the planter boxes, which has been neglected due to the enjoyment of maintaining and harvesting our garden, but overall, we are thrilled with the outcome. The dead space in our yard is now a productive garden that is away from our pets and the pesky neighborhood rabbit infestation. One last lesson learned: keep the vining plants in the ground or they will take over everything.

Kat Gritsenko, Online Learning Manager