I hope that this picture will speak for itself:
The top row shows the Fella's front garden before I started to work on it. The bottom row shows the clean up in progress and the lawn after the Fella mowed it.
I have filled one Canadian bin (2 UK skips) with garden debris to date. I am a bit worried that I have savaged some of his shrubs rather brutally but Escallonia is tough and it (about 8 of them plus two fire bushes) had overcrowded two flowering crab apples and a magnolia tree in the same patch. Also, I am very sorry about hefting the lopping tool around the Camellia but it was blocking out a lot of light inside the house.
At the very least, I am hoping that we can reseed the grass and keep the shrubs trimmed to a manageable size moving forwards. The Fella is not so sure about keeping the shrubs at all - now that he can see ground, he is really keen on the idea of getting his chainsaw and a shovel out. He would like to level everything forward of the house and remove their roots, then either reseed or re-turf the lawn. Apparently, this would return the front garden to the state that it was in when he first bought his house.
I can see the aesthetic merit but I would be sorry to lose the flowering crab apples as they pollinate the apple tree on the other side of the garden. Also, I would quite like to see how things recover and what the shrubs/trees look like when they are in mini-mode and flower next season before he decides on a more radical course of action.
I have not yet touched one side of the house (it is about 6-8ft high with established brambles) and I am thinking that this might need the assistance of a landscape gardener as I do not think that I am strong enough to dig these out on my own. Also, I have not tackled the back garden which is overshadowed by two huge cedar trees (apparently a family of racoons live in one of them; I have only seen black and grey squirrels so far), more brambles and a large rhododendron.
Hmm, there is more to do. I would also like to see if I can sneak in a few, low maintenance and to scale herbaceous perennials too. Even in a few pots so that they are contained and do not spread out of control - unlike his shrubs! It would be nice to introduce some more colour?
Something about this garden clean up that has made me chuckle - it seems to be a big thing to have an immaculate front garden in this neighbourhood? Actually, some of the lawns and shrubs in this street look if they have been precision cut with nail clippers. As you can see, the Fella's front garden is in sharp contrast to this - I am surprised that he has not had a knock on the door from the Block Lawn Patrol.
For a few days after the clean up, the garden did look as though we had half made an effort to bring it up to neighbourhood standard. However, when I came home yesterday, I noticed that both our neighbours had been out and done their gardening. And in comparison our front garden looks pretty despicable again! It's lucky that I don't care; else I'd be tempted to go ruffle their precise lawn stripes.