Who is Charlotte and how did she motivate me to clean up the side yard? Charlotte was the garter snake who gained squatter rights in our side yard this spring. My son nicknamed her Charlotte thinking a cute name would help my phobia. Well, Charlotte motivated me to clean the side yard.
Somewhere over the past few seasons, our side yard resembled an end-of-the-day garage sale. It had become a collection of chipped pots, almost empty bags of soil, gardening tools and yard debris.
And, a messy side yard was an invitation for Charlotte.
I avoided the flagstone path from April thru September because I was terrified of garter snakes. The kind of fear that includes screaming, running and/or pushing my kids out of the way.
I know garden snakes mean no harm and I wish them no harm. I just want them to relocate to another zip code. Or, head over to my neighbor’s yard. She is from Louisiana and has no fear of snakes.
Neither does Elliott.
The side yard path sits between a rock wall and the side of the house. That stone wall was like a high rise apartment for critters. I shared this popular project for the narrow border. But I have to admit I did not reposition the stepping stones, until October.
This spring I Googled something like “how to get rid of garden snakes.” And, the suggestions were common:
- Keep the home’s exterior free from clutter
- And something about hawks or birds make great deterrents
Armed with these two suggestions I opted to focus on Suggestion #1.
How to Clean the Side Yard
On an unseasonably cool day, I got to work on the side yard by removing the empty flower pots, garden tools and half empty bags of potting soil and mulch.
And, I armed myself with a garden hose and push broom.
The less that sits on the ground…the fewer places for Charlotte to hide. And, the goal was to get her to relocate.
Once the side yard was cleared, I added a recently purchased garden from this daily deal site. That site should come with a warning. On any given day, I might be the proud owner of dozen white bath towels from Macy’s or an entire patio set (true story).
In hindsight, I wish I had purchased a garden bench like this one.
The garden bench was a bit tricky to stabilize because the side yard was sloped. I got creative and used pieces of flagstone to prop the garden bench. It was a short term fix unti I could find a more permanent fix.
I added a $1.99 hook from Home Depot to have a place to hang my garden tools.
I added a horizontal concrete looking garden container for fresh herbs.
Sometimes we need a little motivation and fear to clean up our spaces. I had so much fun cleaning up the side yard.
And, so far no Charlotte sightings.