One of the biggest challenges since moving to our new house (aside from finagling our massive couch down three flights of stairs) was to make a point to take a few pictures before we dove right in to making changes. That's not to say that we didn't start a garden project on our first day, but we at least made sure to document our "before" pictures along the way.
We chose our home in part because it has an immense lot for being within the Des Moines city limits, but it's kind of strangely proportioned. At a full 300 ft long by 60 ft wide, we have a pretty high aspect ratio. That works, because of where the different features sit. Close to the house are several great big shade trees that, aside from a possible future trim, will stay mostly the same. There's no way traditional garden crops would grow in this area, so we'll have to work in some non-garden plans for this part of the yard.
Beyond the older trees is where most of the action will happen, at the back of the yard. We've already mentioned the two fruit trees (we've since learned that one is an apple and the other a pear). These trees have not been well taken care of, and have some serious signs of distress. It seems they may not be salvageable, and our neighbors have noted that they've not borne fruit in nearly ten years. It seems these two will have to be removed, but we plan to replace them with other fruit-bearing trees.
The primary gardening space is currently being occupied by a ragtag wooden playset surrounded by a carpet of wood chips and weeds. I don't think either of us or our two cats plan to play on this, plus there's a city park literally a block away, so it looks as if the playset is also going to go away. The goal is to slowly but surely replace the entire area with raised gardening beds, filled with different varieties of vegetables and fruits. We've had some success with raised beds in our limited gardening experience so far, so it seems like a good idea to stick with it. With just a few exceptions, these boxes will all be the same size so we can actually rotate crops!
Obviously it will take some time and a lot of labor before the visions in our heads and the reality out our back window actually mesh up, but hopefully we'll be able to look back at these pictures one day and hardly recognize the place. I think we'll be amazed by how far we'll have come.