My Great Outdoors: Andy's Brooklyn Backyard

Name: Andy McIntyre
Location: Boerum Hill, Brooklyn NYC
Type of space: Backyard
Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: My wife and I took over the lease on our friend's garden floor apartment in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in 2007. The backyard is equivalent to the footprint of the building which is 20'x40' and we are fortunate in that we do not share it with anyone else. It has taken us 3 years of trial and error, planting and re-planting to get to the point where it is today. Because we rent, we set a budget every year as to how much we spend on landscaping and vegetables, but if we owned; I think we would go crazy with design. We really enjoy growing heirloom vegetables and grilling out with our neighbors and friends. We both feel that we are VERY fortunate to have outdoor space in a city where everyone lives on top of one another...

How did you create it? Our friend, the previous tenant had no time to take care of the yard and it was in shambles. The grass was spotty and brown and the "garden" was a huge pit with some lone tomato plants growing in it. My wife completely tore up the lawn and re-seeded from scratch. We had 300lbs. of organic soil delivered from a place on the Lower East Side and filled in the previous garden. We plan our vegetable garden every year and order organic seeds from Tomato Bob in Ohio and start our seeds with a grow lamp in our closet. Almost everything used in the yard is re-purposed, recycled or a gift. The 7ft. table was given to me by a friend whose only stipulation in obtaining it was taking it apart and removing it from his 5th. floor walk-up in SOHO. We un-earthed an I-Beam in the yard which we now use to edge the vegetable garden as well as a planter to grow edible flowers. The lawnmower is circa 1908, and was a wedding gift from our neighbors, the lawn sculpture was found in the garbage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? GRDN in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, Home Depot, trash picking.

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