Monday, May 7, 2012

Designing a backyard for the dogs

When I bought my house in Sarasota I owned two big Rottweilers, Junior and Jessie. I was going through a divorce and was selling my beach house. My house at the beach, like so many other houses at the beach, was on a 50x100 lot which didn't leave a lot of yard room for my dogs.
My house is Sarasota provided that room and I could picture my dogs running around playing in the huge space my new house provided. That vision never happened. The rotts were most happy inside, on their beds under the air conditioning. Well, you know, the best laid plans.
That was eleven years ago. The dogs who have now had the opportunity to play in the backyard are Carmella, Gypsy, Buzz and Betty plus the guests for a year, Kenzie and Hazel.
After 11 years, the yard needed some work done. Betty and the guests have done a number on the flower beds and grassy areas. (now, not so grassy). Time and the squirrels have rendered my back fence almost useless. The maple tree next door has gotten so tall I cannot trim my side any longer so daily deposits of dead limbs and leaves keep my pool dirty and my side yard cluttered.
Today the new era of my yard begins. The back fence, which keeps the dogs away from the little, blind senior dog who lives in back is being torn down and replaced with a brand new 8 foot privacy fence. (The old one was 6 foot.) All of the old plywood, concrete blocks and paver stones which were either propped or stacked against the bottom to prevent the dogs from sticking their heads under it will be moved to other spots. Most of the old flower beds are going away. I have moved pavers and blocks until the backs of my thighs burn with protestation but the natural beauty of my yard will decrease the need for sections.
The bouganvillea and mandevilla now cover the left side and provide even more privacy for the yard. The squirrels and birds hide in it and the squirrels tease the dogs on a daily basis. My butterfly bush is now trimmed to a nice five foot height and covered with blooms. The small, seedling laurel oak I planted ten years ago is now considerably bigger and at some point will provide a little shade on the back side (west) of my house. My compost pile, which I use to fertilize my greenery is full of worms and good stuff to keep the yard healthy and not use chemicals. Even the bats are flying around eating the mosquitoes.
Of course, the dogs are split one to one. Buzz, my older rescue prefers to stay in the house under the air. After seven years of being a neglected,outside dog, he likes his orthopedic bed and air conditioning. He will lay in the slider doorway and just watch what is going on. Betty, my happy hound with the crippled leg is exactly opposite. She bounds out the door with such joy and energy it makes me smile just to watch. She checks out all the trees and bushes. Sniffs the whole parameter of the yard. Chases the squirrels and then sits under the palms as still as can be to wait for them to forget she is there. She stalks lizards through the yard, tries to jump and catch the butterflies and generally seems to simply love life. For now, the backyard is for her enjoyment although I still can't get her in the pool.

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