June 15

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On April 10 we had a visit from a Landscape Gardener. We had taken advantage of a free offer from a local garden shop and were hoping for some help with what to do with the mess in the back yard.

As we had not heard back from the Landscape Gardener after two months we decided that we had got exactly what we paid for - nothing.

So we decided to do our own thing and just get on with it. I took a day off on 6 June, the Friday before the Queen's birthday long weekend to clear as much of the dead grass, old roots and weeds from the garden as I could.

The back garden looked like this before we started:

The only real plan we had was to have a central lawn, a pergola/gazebo in the far right hand corner, a vegetable garden in the far left hand corner and the washing line moved round to the right hand side of the house.

Fortunately, we have not had the fences repaired and Julie and Tuan have not begun re-building. They kindly let us put a skip on their property next to ours. I had already taken up a lot of the grass from the front garden and dumped it round the back. Lyndsey spent much of Thursday putting the earth and grass into the skip - it was about two tonnes, we were told.

On the Friday we started off by marking out a circle of what should become a lawn, if it ever grows again. I then began digging up the grass around the circle and putting it in a skip we had hired.. By the end of the day I had taken up about one tenth what needed to go.

In this picture you can see the edge of the marked out lawn. The small area that I had spent most of the day clearing is at the bottom.

And then we struck lucky. That evening we heard a bobcat working away in the empty block at the rear of our garden. I went down and had a chat with the workers and arranged for them to come over and have a go at removing some of the grass that we wanted to remove. That evening, in about 15 minutes, they cleared more than I had done all that day. They came back the following morning to load up the dirt into their truck and take it away to the tip.

Having realised just how much work was involved and how easy it would be for the bobcat to do it , we arranged for them to come back on the Monday and do the rest of the garden. We spent the next two days clearing away other thing such as the remnants of the brush fence around the washing line area. At the end of the weekend the garden now looked like this:



We also decided to remove the pine tree that was next to the balcony.

We have ordered the gazebo which should come in the next few weeks.

The next job is to get rid of the Hill's hoist and replace it with a new washing line round the side of the house. Then we will attack the vegetable area, make some vegetable beds, put up a greenhouse and build a lattice fence to separate the whole area from the garden proper.

Bernard and Lyndsey Robertson-Dunn's Canberra bushfire website
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