There's a lot of things I want to do to this blank slate of a backyard. There were a few plants and some garden beds in place but nothing that I was going to keep. The ugly fence is going to be replaced in 2009, so I can't do to much with the backyard, just enough to make it pretty for this year.
The existing hard edged combination of brick and plastic edging are going to be replaced with something more natural and flowing.
The purple Rhodo in bloom.
After each of the tree's finished blooming, and before the new growth really started to grow I removed all the old leaves by carefully snapping them backwards. The old leaves were not in good shape and by removing them, it enabled me to clean up the spent flower blossoms from this and previous years and I could see the "bones" of the trees. I cut out any crossing branches and opened up the tree for good light and air movement. I find you can prune them hard and they are very forgiving.
A different perspective
The back fence isn't strait across, it juts in about 2 feet from the property line half way across. Next year when the fence gets replace, the fence will all be the same depth, running on the property line. This should give me and extra 20 square feet to garden in. Right now nothing can be planted along the fence by the gate, but next year the gate will stil be in the same place, but I will have all that extra room. The granite rocks will have to be re-worked to accommodate the extra bed.