We have a large maple in our yard. The spring after we moved in, we trimmed enough branches off the lower part of the trunk that it was possible to stand upright under the tree. We put up a swing for Monkey#1, and enjoyed it very much.
The next spring, I was in a fixer-upper mood, and the patchy grass and weeds under the tree were really bothering me. We rented a sod-stripper. I thought, as long as we're cutting out the sod, lets make it a nice curvy shape that's big enough for the children to play in. The idea was, we would get a small picnic table and a sandbox, and they would be able to play in the shade. We edged the bed with bricks, put down landscaping fabric, and mulched. Problem #1 was, we couldn't afford a sandbox. I did find a picnic table at a yardsale, but (problem #2) the children didn't like playing (or walking) on the mulch. It's not great on bare feet, I learned.
The next summer we were gone, and the weeds completely took over the bed. Landscaping fabric, in my opinion, is worthless. The dandelion roots punched right through it, and everything else just grew in the mulch on top. What a mess! It was one mass of weeds; the mulch wasn't even visible.
Today, I did something about it. Now, I was not about to pull all those weeds out by hand. No, sir. I pulled up the bricks and stacked them in Monkey#1's wagon, carted them to the garage, and stacked them there. That was two wagon loads (bricks are heavy). Then I rolled up the landscaping fabric, with all the weeds inside. Plants, dirt, and mulch, are really heavy too. I used the wagon to drag each roll out the trash. It's really no wonder city people don't think about their level of trash production as much as some might wish. I mean, you put it out on the curb, it disappears, and you never have to think about it again. I'm getting spoiled. By tomorrow afternoon, these will be gone:
Monkey#2 was a huge help. She steered the wagon for the last four loads. Frankly, I'm not sure I could have finished if it hadn't been for that. I pushed and made sure the roll didn't fall out, but having to steer on top of all that was a bit too much at that point. Of course, she thought she was pulling, too. I was informed that she is a "very strong engine!" Now all I have to do is buy some grass seed, and spray the poison ivy by the trunk:
And we'll be pretty much back where we started, just older and wiser.