We ended up paying them to trim our trees a bit, and pull up a bunch of the shrubs in the back as well. I was dreading yanking out that Holly myself:
And now I have this, which is a hotter mess:
I left some of the reasonably decent looking trees, 99% of which are Crepe Myrtles. And of course the bazillion year old Oak with giant roots everywhere.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Oak tree, I'm just not sure how to garden in its proximity. I will not, I repeat NOT, do that stupid thing people do where they plant a bunch of tiny plants in a circle around the base of the tree. It looks ridiculous. (It appears the former owners haphazardly - as they did all things - attempted that with some Mondo grass.)
I don't want grass at all. I want to do pea gravel and big flat pavers, with deep beds along the edges of the fence and house. This is my Pinterest page for the back.
Not sure how to put down pea gravel around all those big roots and not have it get washed toward the house in a good rain. And there are weird things going on over by the fence on the north fence side: I see tattered and half-buried landscape cloth to the left, and what appears to be wood edging from an aborted raised bed.
I might need to consult with someone on getting the back garden "foundation" set up properly before I dive into planting. Sigh. That part's not as much fun, but with Summer winding down it's the smarter move. I'd love to get enough settled that I could get a couple of trees in the ground, though. I'm thinking about three Texas sun tolerant Japanese Maples as my anchors. Apparently such things exist....