I love having outside space. I missed it so much in all those years of apartment living. A major redo of the yard is in the future, when we build a deck and become all fancy. In the mean time the space is as utilitarian as the fire escape ladder we use to get to it.
Every year I like to plant a tomato plant. Or two. Or five. Trouble is, most of Brooklyn has soil contamination issues stemming from the borough’s industrial past. After having our soil tested and finding out that there were some substances in it we’d rather not eat, the solution was to create a raised bed, and fill it with fresh non-contaminated soil.
Because everything about our back yard is temporary, it really didn’t make sense to spend a lot of money, so we used stuff we already had – a surplus of paving bricks. With a level, a trowel and a whole bunch of pavers, I made a box of sorts. I then lined the bottom with landscaping fabric and filled with the clean soil – all 15 cubic yards of it, carried through our parlor floor and down the fire escape.
It started like this:
Landscaping fabric helps keep the new soil separated from the old.
And became this:
We also rebuilt the rear fence and added a retaining wall, to compensate for the height difference from the lot behind us. Because nothing is ever easy when trying to get things to the back yard of a row house, all of our construction supplies had to go through the house and down the fire escape:
The fence and retaining wall were then built into place:
Came out pretty well, if I do say so myself… Now we wait for the Dahlias to bloom.