Tuesday, August 13, 2013


As soon as my wife thought of this title she got so excited that we could make a Firefly reference that I'm pretty sure she danced. I'm one lucky guy.

Anyways, on to the bushwhacking in question! Can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?

Anyone? Here, I'll use my incredible MS Paint skills to help point it out for you...

What the heck are those? I mean, aside from terrible foundation hedges that is. they don't even match the other side! It gets worse too. It's hard to tell from the picture but those two bushes aren't even. One of them is at least a foot back from the other. Not only that but there are two stubby off-shoots behind those as well.

We'd really like to improve the curb appeal of our house and figured that one way to do it would be to get rid of these wonky mismatched bushes. As much as we actually like the bush on the other side it wouldn't match whatever we replace these two with (at least size-wise). We also thought it might be nice to scale back to something smaller so we're not fighting an endless battle to keep it in check.

So, after careful consideration we decided to take them out and replace them with something more appealing.

Except, that's not really how it happened. Really what happened is that we decided we wanted to get rid of them and one day my wife texted me this picture:

Followed by this one:

Yes. While I was at work she was murdering our hedges.

That evening we finished "trimming" the other side and discovered a secondary bush in side the large bush. You can see it's trunks at the side of the bush nearest the shovel in this picture. It was pretty ridiculous.

So, now that we were officially "doing this" I got out the spade and went to town.

I'll be honest, I didn't really know what I was doing, and it wasn't easy, but they're gone now. We didn't really take many "in progress" shots because frankly it was just a lot of me digging rather unprofessionally around each bush, grumbling about all the roots, and prying and hacking things up.

For a slightly more "in-depth" break down of what I did:
  • I started by digging up the dirt around the bush
  • Each time I found a root I pulled up as much of it as I could and if I couldn't pull it all up I cut it off with my hatchet.
  • As I removed more dirt and pulled more roots free I pushed the bush back and forth in different directions to loosen it up.
  • Once it was loose enough I just pushed it all the way over until the remaining roots broke and it popped free.

So... Bright... Need... Tan...

You can't really see it but there's a root going all the way from the bush to the glove at the bottom of the picture.

From start to finish the only tools we used were a pair of manual hedge clippers, a flat edged shovel, and a hatchet. I tried to get as much of the root system up as I could just in case it decided to be persnickety and come back, but the hatchet came in handy when it went too deep to bother digging up. It might also be good to note that my "method" is probably only good if you don't care about replanting whatever you're digging up.

I did find some interesting things while digging up the area. For instance, after raking out all of the pine needles we discovered about a thousand tiny pieces of shattered glass, a silver dime from when this house was only two years old, and what appears to be a mostly deteriorated welcome mat that someone decided they didn't want anymore and they should just kick off the side of the porch into a bush and leave there forever.

You can't really tell from this side, but that was once a welcome mat.

And here's the final result!

Does it look great? Well, no not exactly yet...

Should I at least finish cleaning up the rubbish around there? You betcha! But I'll get to that later...

Does it look way better than the scraggly bushes that we had before? YES!

From here the plan is to go get some boxwoods. Our original thought was to use pea gravel as ground cover under the hedges, but I'm not sure the ol' wallet is quite ready for that stage so we might just add that later. Unless anyone has piles of pea gravel they're just looking to get rid of... Anyone?


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