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When we first moved in, our front courtyard consisted of a few dying Yew bushes, a brick patio, a cement patio, and a few flower beds around two sides. These beds were layered from the bottom up: gravel, plastic sheeting, cement pavers, white stone. The first warm weekend in March 2003, we tackled the outside of the house. We dug up the half of the courtyard with the brick patio. The red bricks we saved, the cement blocks we loaded into our Honda Accord and drove through 12 inches of mud to dispose of at the dump. There was still snow and ice on some parts of the patio. We had to melt this with hot water and pry up the frozen bricks. We also had to dispose of the junk in the existing flower beds.

We built a wall out of the reserved red bricks. At the beginning of April (after our last snowfall melted), we ordered 2 cubic yards of top soil. This was dumped in our parking spots. We hauled it into the yard to fill in the raised bed using a 5 gallon bucket and a broken-down wheelbarrow. The pile seemed to grow larger though out the day. Our final task was to visit all of the lawn and garden centers in the area as well as the Botanical Garden's annual plant sale to fill in the new garden. Every year we say we are finished, but we always find something else we like to add to the garden.