Originally, that was the lot we were going to purchase. It’s a long, narrow block that surges back into forestry. How idyllic to clear a space right at the back of the block to build a home – complete privacy, backing onto a State Forest, so no other neighbours, just a peaceful little house yard tucked away amidst thick forestry. Hermit-land Heaven.
But – there is always a ‘but’ – we found out that that block of land was actually subject to Vegetation Laws. Yep. So because that area is considered a Koala Sanctuary, the owner of the land is not allowed to clear any of a list as long as my arm of certain types of trees and plants. There is a little clear section right at the front of the block to build a house. That’s it.
This is why we ended up choosing the block we did – it was the same price, same size, just more square than rectangle, but it wasn’t tucked away. And there were no Vegetation Laws restricting us from building where we wanted and landscaping how we wanted.
These two blocks of land had been for sale for years. Years and years. Because of those Vegetation Laws, we had thought that block would be for sale for a long time more. So of course, we assumed we had plenty of time to clear up the area to get some privacy trees in place.
In the past few months, we have seen numerous cars drive past the empty lot. Some people get out and walk through it. Most never return. These people, our new neighbours, did.
There’s nothing wrong with this at all. The only job we have now is to accelerate our front yard landscaping. They have strung lines out to show where they are building their home, and it is closer to our house than we would have liked (not that they had much choice). The red line shows roughly where our fence line is.
(We doubt they’re actually going to build themselves a Taj Mahal.)
No problem. We just need to get some trees in there to provide a good privacy screen.
So this weekend, while the kids played and fought on their new trampoline, Mr Hammer and I got out the shovels, rakes and chainsaw and began tackling one of the piles of logs. They have been burnt off. But they just sit there, looking messy.
The photo really doesn’t show how high the piles of logs and dirt were. They weren’t piles. They were mountains. We needed a compass and a packed lunch to climb them.
We’re probably halfway through dismantling these log mountains, chopping them for future firewood. The built-up soil that was hiding bits and pieces of sticks and branches and composting leaves were rife with fat Witjuti grubs.
Kookaburras suddenly surrounded us like a scene from Birds, dipping and diving for a delicious snack.
Several blisters later (on my delicate-butterfly hands, not so much on Mr Hammer’s hardened, calloused hands), we decided we needed a Dingo (a mini digger) to level out the area after we’ve plucked all the logs and sticks out.
The Dingo will help us tidy up and level out the whole front yard area in a fraction of the time a hand-held rake would.
But we made pretty good progress for one day! We’ve got a bonfire pile, and are waiting for a good, wind-less day to burn that off, and several decent sized logs that will be chopped up for future firewood (with a bit more to be chainsawed into manageable chunks like those below).
It’s nice to see it. While it’s certainly not perfect – there is a lot more work left in that area, not even thinking about planting – it’s gratifying to watch that loggy mess disappear.
Plus, all that dark dirt is rich with composty goodness! Hopefully that’ll offset my black thumb so the greenery we plant has a chance to thrive!
And here is our ‘artist rendition’ of how the privacy will look once we have some trees established. We’ll be using lillypillies (thick and bushy), but these were the trees available in my photo editing app.
This is another many-part series, so stay tuned to see how this area transforms!