Posts tagged landscape
I have created a happy little side-yard oasis for myself, but I had to test one thing tonight: WiFi access. Luckily I have a repeater in the kitchen, so when I went to sit out in the new chair, full strength signal!! As you can see, I had my trusty side-kick come to join me (I just finished and installed the little slate patio seating area today with just enough room for me and the cat!).
Of course The Tot (AKA Bat Girl today after attending a super-hero birthday party) had to get in on the action, thus driving away the cat, and driving down productivity. Ok, so there wasn’t a whole lot of productivity going on anyway.
I smiled for the camera. The Tot put on her best glare. Pickles apparently thought it was a dental exam.
Anyway, I plan on spending a lot of time working from this location when it’s not too hot, too cold, or too buggy. The fountain is soothing. The setting is peaceful. There’s free WiFi. And a large cat. I’m accepting reservations.
Sadly I can’t find any ‘before’ pictures of what this side yard looked like when I started on it. Suffice to say it was mostly mud and moss and was, in a word, ugly. Seriously ugly. No one wanted to go here. Then about a year and a half ago, we had this brilliant idea. Big stone steps. But they would have to straddle the property line, so we had to get our (amazingly wonderful, totally awesome) neighbors to buy into the deal. Turns out that was the easy part.
We bought the stone steps — two 6 feet across and four 3 feet across — and had them delivered. They then sat in my driveway for a year or so. Staring at me. Mocking me. So I finally dragged then around to the side hill where they would eventually live. No easy feat, as the big ones weigh in at 1,000 pounds each, and the small ones at 500 pounds. They lay there in the dirt for 6 months. Still mocking me.
But while we were out at the stone yard buying more rocks for yet another one of my water features, I noticed this wonderful small brown pea-gravel in their “Bargain Pile.” So I bought 1.5 tons of it. It was all coming together. Time to start seriously working.
A week with me, my pick-axe, a shovel or 3, a couple of come-alongs, an iron pry-bar, and … Voila!
I almost forgot … the fountain/water-feature. Four years ago, while remodeling a bathroom, I took the old tub and sank it in the side of this hill so that I could make a water feature out of it. So while they were delivering the 1.5 tons of gravel, they also delivered another 2.5 tons of rock, and I finished that little project too!
Looking up the hill. There will be lots of planting to do, now that we have some actual soil over there, rather than the clay and gravel that is what passes for soil around here. My ribs and sides are still hurting from all the pick-axe swinging I did to dig drainage trenches, level out the areas for the steps, etc.
I love my new fountain. Mostly I built it so that my neighbors can sleep with their window open and snooze to the sounds of gently falling water. At least when the frogs aren’t screaming at full volume.
There is still some debris up under the deck to be removed, and a little more clean-up along the side of the house. I also have some lights to install on each step (once they arrive), etc. but it’s basically DONE. 6 1/2 tons of stone and gravel moved, installed, etc. That’s a lot of rock.
I’m thrilled. Exhausted, but thrilled. Now, all that’s left is the back yard. And the other side yard (which is larger, muddier, and going to need even more work). I want to build a pond at the top, a larger pond at the bottom, and a long stream running the entire length with a path — and bridges over the stream — down the whole thing.
That project will have to wait a few years until I replenish the savings account. Rock isn’t cheap. For now I think I’ll go buy a nice comfy Adirondack chair to put up there near the top of that fountain so I can sit there and read a book.
A few years ago I built a water feature in my front yard. It was magical. The sound of falling water was so peaceful and soothing and it really came out quite beautifully.
And then the unthinkable happened. It had a leak. It being my first foray into building water features, it’s really not that surprising, but it was clear. I had to take the entire thing apart and start all over again. This was going to be painful.
Those three big rocks in there? Over a ton all together. The middle one alone weighs close to 1,100 pounds. But it all had to come out. Every rock. Then pull up the liners and start over. From Scratch.
Did I say this was going to be painful?
It took me 9 months just to figure out how I was going to move the rocks. I couldn’t bring in anything like a Bobcat, etc. to do the lifting, since all the other landscaping was now finished. I thought about installing a giant gantry crane over it, but the ground was too uneven.
Then a neighbor had a brilliant suggestion. Here’s what it looked like in action:
That’s over 1/2 ton of rock swinging in the air. I moved those 3 rocks, out of the hole, and then back into the hole, and placed them just right, all by myself. It was no small feat, let me tell you. I also had to re-do all the plumbing, etc.
Well, this past weekend I finally finished placing all but the last few smaller stones. The waterfall is running again, and all is right with the world. It’s not exactly the same as it was before — impossible to move that much rock around and get it back in exactly the same way — but I love the flow and the sound. So here’s the new and improved version.
And now I can finally finish the other water feature on the side of my house. All smaller stones there. Until I have to put the steps in. Those are heavy. 4 500-pound steps, and 2 1,000-pound steps.
I really need to play with smaller things.