Reeder Redecoration Reeder Re-do
Reeder Redecoration
Comments are welcome. We'd really like to know what you think. -Terry Kearns
Pruning for dollars
After 10 hours of pruning we have a bigger, better looking house. The yard doubled in size. The lot is bigger. The view is more breathtaking. Somehow the trees look bigger and better too. I never imagined. The Magnolia Problem produced a whole 'nother idea.

I bought the pole pruner last week and tried it out on some limbs overhanging the house; none in the front though. Gordon wouldn't allow it unless he supervised. So on Tuesday, November 1, I called Gordon to announce I was a pole pruning expert. He arrived at 3 PM. I sprayed with Off and pruned until dark.

Now it's a family myth and joke that I am sometimes an over enthusiastic prunner. I admit it. I've butchered some bushes. JoAnn refused to watch this session. Before I made certain cuts Gordon asked if we should get JoAnn first. Nah.

First the River Birch. Gordon was in the street. I was under the tree. The theory was to reveal the house and roof line while improving the balance of the tree. I trimmed inches at a time. Every branch I cut required a new assessment.

The pruned River Birch. Now we can see the roof line and the round window from the street! We can see even more of the beautiful bark. Compare with the picture below:

Birch before. Where's thee house?

Time for the Yoshino Cherry. We cut even less from the Cherry. Gordon stopped. I was ready to cut more. He was right.

Trimming the cherry revealed the cupola and the green room's front window. Compare with the picture below.

Entrance before.

We were now faced with the longstanding Magnolia Problem. With Birch and Cherry out of the way, Gordon headed for the street for more eyeballing.

So what is the "Magnolia Problem" anyway? In 1977 my green thumbed dad gave me two small Magnolias that he'd grown from seed. I planted one in the back, which died ,and one in the front. When Mom and Dad visited our house for the first time, Dad noticed where I planted the one in front. He thought it was awful.

During our renovation in 1988-89, Gordon said cut it down, the landscape guy said cut it down. The architect (Bill Harrison), well you can guess what he said.

In the past 17 years, the Magnolia grew like a weed but never improved it's position.

So Gordon says, If I were you, I'd cut it down." I know he's right but I have this sentimental attachment. I know my dad grew it from a seed but I also know he'd cut it down. In fact, he would never have planted it there in the first place.

I started stalling by suggesting we cut off some of the lower limbs to give the lawn a little light. Gordon humored me. As the limbs came off, everything started to look better and better. I mean everything.

The Magnolia with it's ears lowered.

It was time to call JoAnn. She thought it looked pretty good. She and Gordon huddled while I removed debris. Within a few minutes, they gave me new orders: "Cut down the hedge." I don't think they cared one whit that I had already cut 4 feet off the hedge between bunny and telephone pole.

I cut down the hedge.

The picture doesn't do it justice.

The hedge is completely gone, the yard doubled in size. The view now extends into the distance and gives a further illusion of bigness. You can't see it in the picture but we carved a hole so we can see the nice 3-story townhouses in the distance. Compare the pictures below:

Hedge before.

Hedge after the first prune.

The Magnolia sequence of events courtesy of Godon's design magic.

  • Trimming the Magnolia revealed a better view of the house and the potential to provide a panoramic view from the yard and a peek at our lower level.
  • We removed the hedge, which gave us the view, a glimpse of our terrace level, and doubled the size of our lawn. I couldn't see it yet, but Gordon did.
  • With hedge out of the way, Gordon told me where to cut every poor looking, scrubby, view blocking tree and shrub. We left some greenery to block the apartment view but reveal the townhouse view.
  • As I did this our three big trees seemed to separate. The lawn seemed to grow while the trees seem to take occupy their own space.
  • I'm talking about the trees but with every cut, the house looked bigger and better. We'd never seen the house like this. Curb appeal increased an order of magnitude.

Now Gordon's plan went into high gear. I thought he was already there. Here's the idea:. Extend our lawn all the way to the drop off (where the hedge way) toward the east. Then extend our lawn toward the south into the right of way all the way to the center of the circle.

He sent me back into cutting mode. I removed every little scrub tree and bush from the bunny to the middle of the circle. Then I mowed the ivy down. Then I blew all the debris away.

We'd doubled the size of our lawn. I'm stunned. I mean, I was ecstatic after punning the birch. It kept getting better and better. Gordon and I were both pumped.

Cultivator (rake and limb grabber), hand lopper, hand saw, pole pruner, and plastic "yard blanket" 

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