A weather forecast of no rain for several days spurred me on to order a load of topsoil for the front yard. I've been itching to get at this sad bit of grass, dandelions and buttercups since we bought the house, but a new roof and all the exterior fixing and painting had to happen first.
Finally, however, the big day has arrived when the basis for a garden can be installed. In preparation, we used concrete bricks to fill in some of the space under the front porch, and cordoned off the parking space on the road.
While we waited for the delivery, I spread thick layers of newspaper to cover, and hopefully choke, the existing vegetation, and Michael finished filling the remaining spaces below the porch with concrete boards, which won't rot if earth gets pushed up against them.
"That's a lot of reading material," commented one passer-by.
When the truck arrived, I was a bit anxious that I'd ordered too much soil. Thankfully it wasn't a full load.
I expected the box of the truck to tip, but it had a miraculous moving floor, that shoveled the earth out the back, rather the way conveyor belts move your luggage along on airport carousels. The driver tidied up the last shreds of soil with a snow shovel in one hand and a broom in the other.
We spent the rest of the afternoon shoveling and raking.
Several hours and two stiff backs later, everything was looking pretty nice.
We've erected a temporary chicken-wire fence to keep animals and small children off the soil while it settles, although nothing deters the neighbourhood raccoons, whose footprints were visible the following morning. Since they may have had plans to move in under the porch as the winter weather approached, it's given us another reason to be pleased with the day's work.