Thursday, May 31, 2012

Landscape Saturday 6

First off, cheers to the LAST of our "old" backyard junk being dragged out to the curb! This is what our street curb has looked like, weekly, for a while:

This most recent set was coming from a bigger pile that was almost as tall as
our house and looked like...
...This.  It required being cut down into neat bunches and dragged to the curb every
Wednesday for city pickup...

What I'm saying is, if I never drag another tree trunk to the curb in my life it won't be too soon!


In other landscape progress, we addressed the really expansive brick wall in front of our house (as you can see from the top pic on this post). The brick is driving me crazy because it doesn't connect to the house at all. You can't paint a brick wall — at least can't paint it well — because it gets so dirty.

And while this would be my dream replacement wall, it just isn't in the budget anytime soon.

We decided the best thing for now is to let small-leafed climbing fig grow to cover the brick wall.
Here's how we started with the fig:
Purchased 9 pots of climbing fig like this...

My dad helped us knock out strategically placed bricks and insert the fig in them.
(Warning: The brick knocking-out part is not as easy as it looks.) 
We then used an auger bit to drill into the soil over the wall and connect the holes.
This is so the water will easily flow down to where the climbing fig is.
We did this in 9 places down the length of our wall.
There is currently not much to see but eventually it will look like this:

If we keep watering :)


And finally, right before Memorial Day weekend we got a big pile of mulch for the newly cleared backyard:

Almost as tall as our garage doors, this really put a damper on parking in our driveway!
Saturday started at about 8:30 am with us cutting landscape fabric and staking it in the ground.
We got around the whole yard and called it quits around 2 pm — mulch untouched and exhausted.

My dad shows up about 2:30 and unannounced, starts wheeling mulch out onto the fabric.
Not ones to deny the help we went back out again. Ended up getting about 2/3 of the yard covered. 
And the rest to come this weekend... 
We're seeing the light at the end of the backyard tunnel for sure.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Love for Outdoor Living

Happy Memorial Day everyone~

Well, Landscape Saturday  (Landscape long weekend) continued at Norton Road. I will post pics of the progress later but I'm honestly a little tapped out on mulch and grass for today so instead I am posting some inspiration pics for what I hope our outdoor living space will become.

Our next 'big' steps in the yard are to screen in our screen porch and add a platform deck off the back of the house.

Here are some deck pics I love:

Nice low deck with seating area, great lighting pods
Love the built in bench seating
Our deck will be a low modern platform deck like this –
about 1-1.5' off the ground 
Fantastic lighting, again a great built-in bench
makes for an instant lounge section
Like all the grasses and succulent plantings around the deck. 
Reminds me of California.
Super minimal and beautiful.
On our deck I'm thinking of keeping it super minimal as well with some built in deck bench seating and then only:

2 lounge chairs (these from cb2)
And the most modern-fab sunshade ever!
From DesignWithinReach
We might re-think that for entertaining, but I love the idea of keeping it minimal.

The adjacent screen porch would do the bulk of the entertaining work because I want to have dining for at least 6 out there. Even though this is open-air, I love the feel of this:

Ambience + atmosphere. Great lighting,  love the bench
seating on one side of the table and the cubes on the other.
I've had in my head the mix of something rustic yet Cali-cool like this
Big Sur type Parsons table, with the bench on one side....
Paired with the super contemporary looking shapes of the Vitra Panton chairs

I can't seem to find the Parsons table made for outside (using wood glue) anywhere except DWR, and theirs is too large for my screen porch space. The super clean lines from tabletop to legs are important to a Parsons style, and that's where the others I've seen are falling short. I've probably spent 15-20 hours searching tables with no luck :(

So, the second choice:

Alternate: this Inox metal table if the Parsons doesn't work out.
Kind of disco fab.

Or this table from CB2 is super well priced and seems to be solid steel
which should fare ok outside I think

This contemporary picnic  is also one of the coolest things I've seen in a while

Thinking farther out past the screen porch and deck, here's the wish list: 

A modern twist on the Adirondack chair in recycled-plastic ...
...right by a great fire pit
Somehow have to incorporate the pavers we love into our yard

...more pavers...

Pavers AND firepit area – love
Nice touch on wood storage for the fire pit
And art:
Would love to work in a water feature-slash-sculpture
Saw these modern colored trellises as well (or you could paint your own) which almost
work as sculpture
Although nothing really beats the real deal, does it?
(Long-term wish list!)

Have a great week...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Landscape Saturday 4 & 5 –– Still "Undo-ing" the Backyard

It's been a while since I posted, and not much has changed, as in we are still at it clearing out the backyard. While I knew we bought a house that needed to be gutted, I sorely underestimated the amount of work it also takes to gut a yard. You just don't even think of that, but when a yard is overgrown to the point of looking like a forest, it does take more than you'd expect to get it all out.

As you saw from my previous post we have had a couple of bobcats and tractors come through and clear parts of backyard already. We originally left the "shrubbery" beside the garage because the garage is quite large, and the paint was peeling very badly behind the shrubbery.

Shrubbery left beside the garage 
A couple of weeks ago we tried to take matters into our own hands and trim this ourselves ...
... It went from looking like this to ...
... like this, but it unfortunately accented everything bad, instead of looking good ...
As we want to renovate the garage completely in another couple of years, we originally didn't want to pay to repaint something we'd just be "undoing" soon after. But we soon changed our tune on this because it just looked so terrible, especially against the rest of the yard so nice and completely cleared out from the previous tractor.

So in came the painter, and back came Jack (the tractor guy we found on Craigslist, who we now have quite an affinity for!)

Jack's arrival
Our painter even was up for the side job of hauling off all these bricks and cinder blocks
(believe it or not, all this stuff was in the backyard too)

He just backed up his friend's pickup and loaded it off to the dump
Jack finishing up on the newly (and fully!) cleared out backyard,
with the newly painted garage 

So great!

Except he left this pile almost as tall as our house!

Which took 2 weekends to saw and cut up.
The process was really tiring but we are GLAD.THIS.IS.DONE.

We're thinking we can make it go away in 3 trips to the curb – they'll pick this sort of stuff from your curbside in Charlotte if you don't "overdo" it, so we tried to cut and stack it very neatly in hopes that it seemed like less than it was :)
Pickup is Wednesday, so we'll see!

More later this week...