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'Landscaping' vs 'Natural habitat'

14 years ago

My husband and I are having a raging battle about our side yard. The side of our house faces the woods, which are gradually expanding into our yard and swallowing up our small shed. I don't find it a problem, we keep the doorway clear, but otherwise, we have not waged a battle with the woods (I think the woods would win anyway!) Over the years, we have also developed a small mixed conglomerate of bushes and trees in the middle of our side yard...sort of like a very mini/micro woods, and this is where hubby and I are having very differing opinions. From what I can tell, in this clump are a chokecherry tree, a wild honeysuckle bush, some twining vines, another unidentified tree and perhaps another bush or two. It's all so mixed together that it's quite hard to distinguish one from the next. Hubby wants to whack it down, he hates it....Yes, I admit it's a mess, and there are dead branches dispersed all throughout, and it's tough to mow around and under...but the birds LOVE IT. At any given time, there are 5 or 6 different varieties of birds hanging out in that area.....using it as cover for their forages over to the feeding station. We are in the process of adding a small deck onto that side of the house, so I can sit outside and watch the birds and enjoy the privacy on that side of the house, but hubby wants to clear the area and have more of a landscaped feel. Am I being unreasonable in insisting that we leave it be? I know the birds will still hang out in the woods...but for some reason, I cannot seem to bring myself to give him the go ahead to chop this mess down.

Here are some pictures of the area I am talking you can see, the side yard is fairly wild and unmanicured. I am planning on adding a garden area where the bird feeders currently are, with a water garden (with a shallow area for the birds), as well as some bushes and other plants that appeal to our local birds, as well as constructing a new feeding station.

Any ideas and opinions would be more than welcome. Would you leave the "clump" or hack it down? If we went the more manicured/lanscaped route...would I lose out on the birds visiting my side yard? As the new deck is being built solely for the pleasure of bird watching, I hate to turn the area into a beautiful garden, but devoid of birds. Am I worrying too much about this clump of "not so desirable" greenery? I'm looking for some sort of balance I guess. What would you do? And, lastly...should I prune out the dead branches and twigs? I want to do what's best for the birds, the view is secondary to that priority.

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Ed Ball Designs
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