The top picture is the view from the back deck. We do live on a giant pond - although a few in the neighborhood call it the smaller lake - it is still a pond. It has turtles and fish, and I'm sure things that slither, but in 7 years of living here I've only heard about 1 snake, I didn't actually see it. We live in the middle of an older subdivision, and we have a shopping center nearby, with all of the amenities.
As, in Mt. Vernon- just a much smaller scale -our backyard is divided into areas. The upper part of the yard right under the deck is a small grassy yard that kids play ball in, or dogs run around on, the right hand side of the yard will hopefully one day just be a beautiful garden of flowers and green, the left middle section is the girls playground, and right behind that is the butterfly garden and the vegetable garden. At the bottom is the soft area of grass by the pond where children can play, just not ball games as the pond is apparently magnetic when it comes to balls. Every ball they play with down there dips in for a swim AT LEAST once, which is why the canoe is housed there too. We do canoe on the pond, but two years ago we noticed that when the little girls got out of the pond they had a rash on them - so I think the chemicals the neighborhood association uses on the pond are definitely NOT natural, which is why we choose not to use that as a source of water to sprinkle on our yard.
Plans - Move the butterfly garden over to the right side of the yard. Yes its pretty, but it is also low and won't obstruct our view. This would leave me with an area for at LEAST four more rasied beds for veggies, etc. With the veggie beds I'm still trying to get rid of those ants - boiling water doesn't seem to work on indestructable fire ants in SC, so now I'm trying white vinegar suggested by another person whose blog I read. The biggest plans are to take down about 12 pine trees - I will rake pine straw or leaves, but I'm tired of doing both, and since the pines are more likely to fall into my house then they must go - along with the Hickory Nut trees that keep Blondie from being totally safe in the backyard.
I'm still debating about joining the growing challenge, but I may just start a garden blog to keep up with what I'm doing in that area.... hmmmm .... that's what I need... another blog.... another committment... I'll have to think on that a little more.