Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Berm

When we first started working on this house, over ten years ago, my father kept telling us we had to build a berm (which I have forever mistaken as a "burn").  I was never thrilled with the idea, but went along with it.  I thought that  a big mountain of dirt right outside out front door was  a bit silly. 

Well my dad built the berm with some huge logs we had from a couple of trees we cut down, and covered it with dirt from the woods on our property.  Now I have to eat my words because it is the greatest thing he could have done for our yard. 

You see, we live quite close to a pretty major road.  Cars speed past the house at an average of seventy miles per hour, and sometimes even faster.  In the winter we get a steady stream of cars going to the ski slopes in the morning and evening.  When I first moved in I was afraid that a car (or, god forbid, a big truck) would hit our house but now I know that is not too easy because we have the berm protecting us.  The berm is also great at keeping the noise of the road away from us.  I hope my dad is looking down on me and understands that the I now fully appreciate his effort to build the berm. 

The only problem with our berm is that in the ten years it has been there no one has taken care of it, many sumac trees took over.  I think my house has been known in the town as "the house with the big logs" because it is such an eye sore, or maybe they were jealous of our great idea, I'm not sure.  Either way, several people in our town have made mention of our mound of dirt. 

In an effort to appease my neighbors, and improve the curbe appeal of the house, Jeff and I have been trying to clean up "the berm." 
This is what it looks like from the road.  I think that big bush is a forsythia, I'm waiting to see if it sprouts yellow flowers, otherwise... bye bye. 

Here is the berm two weeks ago on the house side.  Jeff is just starting the work. 

We decided to start on the inside and work our way over the hill.  My dad planted some things that are lost in all the weeds, but we have been working to bring them back.  For example I spent the first day clearing around the lilacs my dad planted that have been dwarfed by the sumac. 

Now the next picture does not look like much, but it is the result of many hours of work by Jeff and I. 

Last week we cleared a bunch of it out. Jeff pulled out about fifteen large-ish trees to get this while I planted some flowers.

What I want to do is plant the inside of the berm with ground cover.  Eventually I will have other plants and flowers as well.  This side of the berm is quite steep so I thought that a nice low flower would be good.  
On the very top of the berm I want to plant an evergreen type plant, maybe spruce or maybe a boxwood of some type (I know it is not an evergreen, but it might work), we will have to see.  My father already planted a bunch of tall grasses on the second level by the road so that is taken care of. 

We might have to wait on the trees for top until next year, but we can at least get the weeds out.  

Just yesterday the in-laws stayed over to help.  We got a lot more done.  I will try to post those pictures soon. 

If you live near a road I would highly suggest this berm idea.  It is really great, our house is protected from the trafic, the noise and any weather from that direction.  Eventually those neighbors who wondered what was up with "the logs" will understand (or at least appreciate that we made it look a little better).  

What is your take on the whole berm idea?  Ever heard of it, do you have one of your own?  I would love to hear more.  

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