Fish Hooks Restoration: The Front Yard

Once Fish Hooks had been moved backward onto its new foundation, we had a fantastic new front yard. The bad news? It was little more than a gaping hole filled with debris, broken concrete and centipedes — as unsafe as it was unattractive.

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A “before” shot of our new front yard

One important project during our last trip to the cay was to convert this pit into a safe and welcoming front yard. Knowing Fish Hooks is one of the first things visitors see when they step off the ferry, we want to be sure our house and garden are as attractive as possible.

As soon as the porch was complete, we got started on leveling out the yard. Since garden soil is virtually impossible to come by on the island, we ordered some fill and sand from Wade Cash. And, as is his style, Wade exceeded our expectations. Instead of the plain rocky fill we anticipated, he turned up with a truckload of dark, rich earth.

He happened to be excavating a project site that week and had some soil to spare.

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Tom celebrates our good fortune

This dirt soon became the subject of much interest. At least a half-dozen of our neighbours stopped by to ask where they could get some.

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Charles Smith, our gardener, and his crew spread the newly delivered earth

With the rainy season due to begin any day, Tom and I realized that until we had a lawn to anchor it, we’d need to keep that precious dirt from washing away. Especially since several friends had jokingly promised to “liberate” any of it that ended up on the public roadway.

After a bit of thought, we knew just what to do.

When Fish Hooks had been moved a few months before, we’d set aside a couple dozen beautiful old stones. Some had been part of the house’s original foundation. Others were pieces of Ma May’s outdoor stone oven. At the time, we had no idea what to do with them — we just agreed they were too historic and beautiful to get rid of.

Now, we realized they’d make the perfect border across the front of the yard.

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The rock border in place

Originally, we’d planned for this stone border to be temporary — just until we installed a proper fence. However, we love it so much, we’re thinking of keeping it and working the fence and garden around the stones.

After the yard had been leveled out and the soil secured with this low retaining wall, it was time for grass. We chose Zoysia (it’s similar to Bermuda grass and is used a lot on golf courses), because of its resistance to salt, sun, drought and weeds, and for its fine, soft, carpet-like texture.

Charles planted small clumps of grass throughout the yard, promising that before long, it would spread and cover the dirt.

Sure enough, within a week or so, the rains started and the Zoysia began to take hold. The photo below was taken a week or so after it was first planted…

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… and the two pictures below were taken last week by our friends, Mandy Roberts and her son, Dillon. Tom and I are so happy with the yard to date — can’t wait to get back to the cay and begin planning out our garden!

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, zoysia, grass

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, fish hooks, grass, garden, zoysia

7 thoughts on “Fish Hooks Restoration: The Front Yard

  1. Nice! I like how you kept the stones to make a wall. Don’t forget a pathway leading to the front porch too.

  2. Make sure you have someone stay on top of trimming the Zoysia. It will run over your stones and your beautifully renovated house in no time flat. It is like kudzu in the south. Also, it needs to be kept low or it bunches up.

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