Monday, June 24, 2013

Widening the driveway

Though we regularly parked two cars side-by-side in the driveway, they didn't necessarily fit...  One car would inevitably wind up on a patch of dirt next to the asphalt.

Well, we were so impressed by Antonio's work on the planters (check them out here)  that we hired him to help us with this project.

My boss was getting rid of some cobblestones on his property, so I spent a day digging them out of his yard and loading them into his truck for delivery at the ranch.  Labor-intensive, but free!

Best cobblestones are free cobblestones!
Ready for placement

From there, Antonio and I spaced them from the back entryway to the street and he began to set them in concrete.

Last step - Antonio poured concrete with aggregate to match the original sidewalk.

Independently drying
Finished sidewalk / driveway extension!

Has it really been a year...?

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!  There, I said it.

I can't believe an entire year has gone by - especially when there are so many updates to share with you!  One of the most exciting projects of the past twelve months is the complete overhaul of the front landscape.  This project has consisted of everything imaginable - demolition, construction, research and planning, planting, and maintenance - phew.  Here's a step-by-step look at the landscape makeover:

1.  If you remember, the 51 year old bushes had started to get a bit out of control...  Our pathway, windows, and general facade were being overtaken by yew bushes.

2.  One of the first things we had to do was rip out all of the existing bushes.  This can be a big job, especially with such well-established roots.  I would like to say that I labored for weeks to remove everything, but a tree company actually took care of it one day while I was at work.  One of the best comments from a neighbor: "Hey, did you know you had brick behind those?!"

Bushes removed!

3.  Once the bushes were removed, the foundations could be established for the planters we had designed last summer.
Planter foundations

4.  Once the dimensions were finalized and the foundations poured, our mason Antonio got to work creating the planters.  We wanted the look of 'dry-stacked' stones:

Dry-stack stone planters in progress
Antonio at work on the dry-stack planters

Dry-stack planters finished!

5.  We took a break for winter...

6.  Spring seemed to arrive early this year, and it was time to start re-grading the lawn and establishing the future plant beds - all with the help of our trusted landscape plan!

Establishing garden beds
Landscape plan

7.  Once the beds were established, graded, and weeded, I started defining the borders of the beds with aluminum edging.  This edging was incredibly easy to work with, and helped to truly define planting areas vs. grassy areas:

Aluminum landscape edging

8.  Once the beds were fully defined, I was able to put down weed-stop sheeting.  Again, an easy product to work with.  Whether it lasts the season has yet to be seen...  but I haven't had to weed yet in the past two months!

9.  While working on the edging and weed block, I also started choosing plants at the local nursery.  It was a great way to keep me motivated through all of the grunt labor...

10.  With the help of a friend and a neighbor, the plants started making their way into their new homes...

11.  I am happy to note that after two months, the garden is beginning to thrive...:

12. ...And the annuals have been added!

Stay tuned, as more plants will be added throughout the season!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Imagining hardscaping

We've been trying to figure out what to do with our front entrance.  You can see one option below, which consists of bricks that match the house's facade, and either a bluestone or precast concrete cap.  Planters to have integrated step lighting tied in with the new lampost.  Thoughts?

We like it, but we don't like the associated price tag!  Anybody know how to lay brick...?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Oh, THAT fence? Yeah, the rotten one is ours.

Exciting news - we get our new, beautiful fence this week!  Photos to follow once it is up.

To prepare for the new addition, we had to rip out the existing fence.  With the help of our friend, Charlie, we were able to have it ripped out and cut up in no time.  Note to current and future homeowners - never pay anyone to destroy a fence!  It's too much fun. 

I find it funny how many things I've let slide as a homeowner - things that don't take a lot of time, necessarily, but take a lot of planning and commitment.  For instance, this fence has been rotten and falling over since we moved in.  Yet I didn't realize what an eye sore it had become until taking a photo of it and viewing it 'as someone else'.

Rest assured the new fence will be nicer, taller, and upright. :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Updated Entrance

New lights, house numbers, and mailbox are up! All that's left is to paint the front door once the weather gets nicer.