I’ve been taking our DesignTies readers (you!) on my front-yard landscaping journey… from the creation of our plan to the removal of our mega-tree… and now here I am, achy and stiff, about to share what we’ve accomplished so far, particularly this weekend!! It’s not a full 100% transformation, but it IS a metamorphosis in the making! I think it’s a perfect addition to Susan from Between Naps on the Porch’s weekly Metamorphosis Monday blog party!
So… the last time I shared our landscaping story we’d just brought down our tree:
All that was left was a major stump!
Well… and a view of our littlehouse :-)
Since then Brett the bobcat operator has been here and, with a great deal of effort, he’s pulled that huge stump right out of the ground!
And then he proceeded to tear apart the whole front yard in preparation for the building of the first of 3 retaining walls!
What a mess!
Even though I pride myself in being able to envision the possibilities of a space – and I’ve had success taking spaces from ugly to lovely - it’s been difficult to say the least to imagine our yard EVER looking good!
Of course, only hard work is going to make our yard beautiful… this weekend we finally got started putting the yard back together again! :-)
Here’s a photo of the blocks for one of our retaining walls being delivered…
Now let me tell you ~ Brian and I have NEVER built a block retaining wall before. Everything was new to us!! We’d researched as much as we could, and we’d planned and planned… but we still met with challenges! The first challenge: getting the main course of block down perfectly level and plumb, on a well-compacted surface.
Looks good so far, hey? It was… then we had to take it all apart when we realized that the drainage system we’d planned for behind the blocks wasn’t going to work the way we wanted. No worries, though. With a little brainstorming, we got it all figured out!
Here’s a photo of Brian and my son Matt getting ready to bury one of the drainage pipes.
By this point in our work day the sun was mid-way in the sky and it was HOT!
But we kept plugging away. I’ll tell you… that main course is the hardest!! You have to get it absolutely perfect, then the next levels lay so much more easily! Below = tools of the trade!
A little side story…
One of our cats – Scotty – was our supervisor! He would perch himself in a bush and keep an eye on our efforts. Every time we stopped working he’d meow, jump down and walk over to throw himself at our feet for some pets & scratches. Once he’d been fully rubbed in all his favourite spots he’d make is way back to his perch-spot! Funny guy!!!
Wouldn’t you know it, another challenge “struck”… literally; we were hit by a major thunder & lightning storm!! Let me tell you weather like this is very unusual for our part of the world, and the magnitude of this storm was over-the-top! According to the newspaper, over 1,100 lightning strikes in the greater Vancouver area with the storm lasting several hours!!
At first we didn’t mind in the least because the storm (which was still off in the distance) brought a little rain… and that little bit of rain felt so good after the heat of the sun on our backs!
The next thing we knew, the storm was directly overhead and hitting the power-line!! We heard the crack, the sizzle of the electricity running down the line and then an explosion as a nearby transformer blew! Well… we got the hint! Even though the cooling rain felt wonderful, we packed up our gear for the day and made our way in for the evening. And wouldn’t you know it… no power in the house! So we each had a shower by candlelight and then a quite evening spent bemoaning our sore bodies!
This is what we accomplished on Saturday:
So we set to work again this morning (Sunday), only to find a new challenge (or roadblock, I suppose)… we didn’t have enough crushed gravel for our backfill. That meant that we couldn’t complete the full 5 levels today. Darn! I called the landscaping company and they’re dropping off more gravel tomorrow morning, so we’ll finish the wall in the afternoon.
BUT… we did get a few more courses/rows complete!! Take a look!!
As I mentioned above, we have 2 more rows to lay… then the top of the wall will have capstones in the same charcoal grey colour as the stair caps. The stairs themselves will have 5 steps up and the caps will extend into those curved corners (still have to cut and place those).
Now you can see why I’m sore! Lifting blocks, shovelling gravel… I ache all over!
Next week sometime Brett the bobcat operator will be back to dig back and haul away the hillside of dirt in behind the wall. After that, Brian and I will start building our second wall (with 3 stairs in it) about 6 feet back from this wall.
Regardless of the work ahead of us (and even while I’m bemoaning my stiff old body!) I’m so happy with how this wall is looking!! I think it’s so much easier to imagine how great the yard is going to look. Don’t you find that it’s more possible to see beyond the ugly!
Don’t worry. I’ll post updates!!
Now ~ head back to Susan’s blog Between Naps on the Porch so that you can visit other Met Monday party participants’ transformation posts!!
I almost forgot!!
Be sure to enter our latest giveaway – a dynamically beautiful original abstract painting by Matt LeBlanc! All you have to do is name the painting (one word, please!). For details, and a look at the fabulous painting, go HERE.