The Dakota Birch was planted today - an entire family activity! We got the tree as part of the Minneapolis Tree Trust's lottery, and we placed it in the southwest quadrant of the yard. This way, it won't interfere with any buried utilities and won't shade our neighbors to the north. We already feel guilty that the 2-story portion of the house shades them much more than the previous house did.
Once the sidewalk is poured next week, we'll rototill the compacted soil, rake it smooth, and anticipate the seeding. As the grass starts to fill in and stabilize the ground, we'll begin the next phases of landscaping. Not all of the yard will be turf, of course. We'll leave some at the perimeter to provide smooth transitions with the neighbors, and we'll plant the rain garden in the back with a variety of plant materials. A lot of transplanted shrubs, flowers and other plant materials - both from the previous house and from our old house - will be integrated with new material over time.