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Bayberry Backyard Project


Flora grows prolifically in Green Hill, Rhode Island. This is typically a good thing, except in the case of my Bayberry backyard. Invasive plants like grasses and vines pose challenges because they self seed prolifically and choke out native plants.

A 10,000 square foot portion of my yard had been an eyesore for years because of aggressive overgrowth. The area was comprised of fallen trees, invasive species and rocks, all covered in a thick prickly bramble that was unattractive and made the space unusable. Each season this jungle of scrubland was growing closer to the house. By last year, the side yard had been devoured; the shed was enveloped in climbers, and a cherished mature Japanese Maple was being suffocated.

Our earnest week-end warrior attempts to remove the back breaking thicket to stop encroachment was no match for the job. It was time to take action and bring in the experts. Transforming this outdoor space required big equipment and an experienced crew.

Step by Step Guide for a Bayberry Backyard Project

Phase One – Spring 2021


1. Preparation and Planning

To get started, I walked the property with professionals who advised on the true scope of the project. Getting several quotes is a good idea. I recommend working with trusted local professionals with glowing endorsements.

With large landscape projects, confirm your property borders and be courteous by notifying neighbors in advance of upcoming activity. No one likes surprises. When endeavors like this are handled with a sensitivity to neighbors, your big investment will be well received because it benefits abutters’ property values as well.


2. Clearing and Removal of Brush and Undergrowth

Your landscape contractor will use equipment like bulldozers and bobcats. They also will deploy big trucks to haul the debris from your property for disposal. You will pay for the equipment, dumpster fees, disposal fees, and the time of the crew to complete the work.

Those familiar with Green Hill topography understand that most plans need to account for big rocks. Our decision was to keep all securely embedded rocks in place. Those that were loose were rolled to the perimeter.

On the last day of lot cleaning, a crew member painstakingly hand pulled the roots of invasive ground vines that could be removed no other way.


3. Loam Installation

Multiple truck loads of loam were delivered and large earth moving equipment was used to spread giant pyramids of soil across the cleared land. Chances are you’ll need more soil than you planned for, as in our project.


4. Hydroseeding

More efficient than traditional seeding and more affordable than laying sod, we opted for hydroseeding as the best option for establishing a lawn quickly. Simply put, hydroseeding is a technique that spreads a specialized grass “slurry” evenly over bare ground to grow grass and prevent soil erosion. This slurry is made up of grass seeds, mulch, water, fertilizer, biostimulants, and green-tinted dye.

After hydroseeding, get ready for water works. This is the job of the home owner. With no irrigation system, the task of quenching the thirst of this large expanse was a full time job for weeks. But as promised, the new lawn emerged on schedule and grew healthy as the summer unfolded.


Phase Two – Summer 2021


Plan your Plantings

We needed a financial breather after all that activity, and so over the summer we watched the grass grow and spent time thinking about what to plant. Our objective is to contribute to the landscape by introducing indigenous trees and shrubs that thrive in South County, Rhode Island.

Our first priority was selecting some plants and trees for the area abutting our neighbor in order to establish a pleasing privacy border that could be enjoyed from all directions. We had fun visiting local nurseries, and studying horticulture books.


Phase Three – Fall 2021

Fall is an ideal time to plant, but because of the impact of the pandemic, landscape crews  were busy and there was a low supply of plant and tree materials in 2021. This left us challenged in finding an experienced crew to handle the installation, as well as a source for plant material.

Undeterred, we finally struck gold when hiring Marc and Justin at Total Landscape and Construction. They took action in early November to source these items from Clark Farms and handle their installation:

  • A triptych of River Birch Trees ranging in heigh from 12 – 16 feet.
  • 4 Extra Large Shasta Vibirnums.
  • 1 2.5 inch wide diameter ornamental Caliper Redbud Tree.
  • A 14 foot Cryptomeria Evergreen Tree.


Phase Four – Spring 2022

Emerging from the winter things are looking look good. Sadly the deer found the Cryptomeria and devoured the lower branches, despite a good faith effort to protect it with a burlap wrap last Fall. A word of advise, rely only on metal mesh wrapping for your your non deciduous trees and shrubs.


A Landscape is Ever Changing and Not a Permanent Thing

We’re excited about the space we’ve created to plant more over time. Each of us is a steward of the land we occupy. Any endeavor to change things should be made with an eye to the future and respect for the local horticulture. Most gardeners understand that they will not live to see the full outcome of their time and toil , especailly in the case of slow growing conifers. I’m grateful to the former homeowner who planted the Japanese Maple that I enjoy today. It is my hope that what I plant in years to come will bring just as much pleasure to those that come after me.


Local Landscape Companies used for this Bayberry Backyard Project

  1. Babcock Landscaping. Contact Chris Babcock at 401-595-6045 for lot clearing.
  2. Carpenter Farms. Reach them at 401.783.8958 for landscaping material like soil.
  3. Clark Farms Matunuck. Call Debra at 401.864.0919 for landscape design services.
  4. Total Lawn Care and Construction. Call Justin & Marc at 401.205-6446 for installations.

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