Saturday, October 26, 2013

Playhouse Roof Framing

The mosquitoes are finally gone so Colin did not get bitten to pieces as he worked on the roof framing today.  He also put the fascia on, so we are ready for the plywood to go on the roof.

New Steps

Here is Charlotte, modeling our new back step and path. We look forward to planting the bed either side in the spring.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Stairs and Path

We took the off the old porch stairs (that we reattached temporarily) when Colin built the small retaining wall this summer.  Despite our barrier of a plant pot and a toy stove, the kids climbed up and jumped off the back porch.  We needed some new stairs.  Today stonemasons Jesse and Mark installed our new step and a small landing.  Charlotte was very interested in what was going on.  She sat on the porch and watched for a while, and then later watched from inside, standing on a stool so she could watch through the back door window.
A couple of months ago we spotted a reclaimed granite step at Longacres. Not only did the eight foot stone have the aged patina that we were looking for, but it was also half the price of a new stone.  Jesse and Mark picked the stone up and another one they had that was five feet long.  They used the truck to slide it into place.  Here Jesse is sitting on the stone as Mark tips the truck bed to slide it off.

The landing is made up of four large stones.  Mark and Jesse chiseled the edges so that they fit close together. Calvin and Alistair were eager to help with putting down the manufactured sand.

Alistair also wanted to help Mark put the sand in the joints.  The guys were great with the kids.

I will post a photo of the finished layout soon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dry Stream Bed

During the torrential rain we had in June, I noticed that we had a little stream appear in our backyard.  The water flowed out between those two big rocks in the photo above.  Inspiration hit, and I decided to make a dry river bed that followed that stream.  It would make a great focal point in an area of our yard that is currently very unattractive.  The previous owner had built a small berm on our property line, and added to it when he was fixing the drainage at his shed.  It is just a pile of broken concrete blocks, dirt and weeds.  I can't do too much about the weeds since they are not in our yard.  Hopefully an attractive little garden will distract your attention from our neighbor's weeds.

The first step was to pull up the ferns and weeds that were in my way.  Then I started to build the wall.  I dug out whole bunch of concrete blocks (and left some for slope stability).  I used rocks from our old rock wall by the porch and found a couple up in the woods.  I planted shade loving plants on the lower terrace (maidenhair ferns, a hosta, hellebore, pulmonaria, and European wild ginger) and a rhododenron and Komodo Dragon hosta on the upper terrace.  Unfortunately the pictures below don't do the landscaping justice.  The plants have already begun to go dormant and the leaves are covering everything.  I'll have to post another photo in the spring.

Once the most of the plants were in the ground, I added the smooth river stone we picked up from the street after the flood and added gravel in between.  Again, difficult to see in the photo, but you can tell that this area of the garden looks much better than it did before.  Looking forward to seeing water flow in the spring.