Friday, June 24, 2011

Before and After


Well...what do you think?
After three and a half weeks we finally have a new and improved yard. No more lumps and bumps that trip the kids or twist my ankle, and bye-bye to the ugly quack grass and general ugliness that we had to look at every day.
We really like it, and are looking forward to building the deck and having a fire on the new patio.
I'd like to string some patio lights at the back on the bamboo to give the area a get-a-way feel, and we still have to do the dry creek bed which will have to wait until I can sift thru my friends' rock pile.
There is a section of fence that the previous owners never bothered to stain, and matching it so far hasn't been easy. I've checked two places, and am thinking I'll have to do the whole damn thing in a different color. Which I'm not really willing to do, as I'm totally against staining or painting fences to begin with..the beauty of the wood is lost behind stains and colors. We feel the same about decks...just a water barrier is all we like so we can enjoy the wood in it's natural state. We are going with cedar for the deck, and just the smell of wood in the lumber yard is enough to make Mike go nuts! With all that cedar he wanted to offset it with some design elements using Trex decking as borders on the deck floor. I'm sure I'll be surprised..I'm leaving it up to him; I just nod my head and smile. It doesn't matter much to me, as long as I have a deck in the end. Ours is rotting so badly that we have actually gone thru it in a few spots. It will feel great to finally cut the thing off and haul it away.

my very trim hubby has worked very hard on this yard

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rain at long Last!

The rain came down yesterday and today, and thankfully we were as finished as we could be with the yard until the sod comes here next Friday.
Mike and I hired a fellow on the next street over to bucket the 22 yards of gravel dumped out front to the back on Tuesday; we had just finished all the planting the night before.

Mike and I spent all Tuesday from 3:30 until 9:30 spreading the gravel, and then Mike and Martin finished the play area off with rubber mulch.
Since then nothing much else has happened, other than measuring up the yard last night so we could order the sod, and making rough plans for the two-tiered deck. Then the rain started, and by the looks of it will continue on and off until next Tuesday.
The tree Mike bought me...Weeping Birch
We added a few Norway Spruce at the back, and will add stepping stones to the shed door, and a wood shack in front of the fence.

this it what the rubber mulch looks like...ground up recycled tires, super springy to walk on, and will absorb some of the hurt from any falls the kids have. Love it.

I have a few flower pots to plant, and we can putz around with the dry creek bed as I picked up a fountain yesterday for it. I may have to look at plants this weekend for the creek bed, as the nurseries are all having their sales to get ready for the end of the season, which is July 1st. So plant choices are limited, but up to half off as well. I like hens and chicks, creeping thyme, and a neat red plant called Dragon's Blood stonecrop.

creeping thyme

blue fescue
dragon's blood

hens and chicks

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Night Update

Sherry back blades the yard on Thursday night

Friday morning...the north planting bed is burmed up and ready for plants

The south side of the yard is where we will be putting pea gravel under the play area to the right of the tree, and larger rock under the trampoline to the left of the tree. I'm thinking I'll plant another tree there as well...Silver Willow was recommended by Sherry.

Saturday morning the yard was levelled, back bladed and ready for us to finish the project ourselves. We really appreciated the help that Sherry and her landscaping crew gave us. Without them, it would have taken us forever to do this yard ourselves.
 Friday night we had another 30 yards of topsoil delivered to the house. In total, the backyard needed 100 yards of dirt to level it. At the back by the patio, the soil level had to come up 30 inches! As you can see, it is now ready for sod. We're hoping to get that in next weekend, and our rock will be here this week as well.

The shrubs are in, and after the rock arrives we will form a dry creek bed running along the curvy front area of the bed. After that is established I can shop for rock garden plants to place around the creek bed, span it with a little bridge, and add a few pots of plants.

Jacey's surgery went super well, by the way. She is a tough cookie and the anesthetic didn't bother her at all. I expected her to be groggy and grumpy when she got home, but she was great. She was even back to arguing with Brandon after he got home from school!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Backyard Crash Update...

our new huge patio
this is what 4000 patio stones looks like

Well the patio is finally done, and with a few of the members of the crew being sick Wednesday and Thursday the project moved a bit slower than usual. When we got home last night from watching Brandon play soccer in Lloyd it was nice to see the yard was ready for topsoil. So today the plan is to get the topsoil in and level it off, and put edging down where our rock bed and play area will be. Our yard was so unlevel it was unreal. The back needed almost 2 feet of topsoil to be at a 2% grade level...enough of a grade to let snow and rain run off properly. I was so shocked at this news, and the proof in front of our eyes when we saw the level line! It was no wonder that our neighbor behind us had a flooded basement this year...he got all of the winter run-off from our yard!
the mountain of soil my kids are just dying to climb

I'm happy that it will finally be done properly. Whenever we walked from the back of the yard to the deck we were leaned over slightly from the trek uphill. Not anymore! :)
Today should move fairly quickly, and I can go out to help as it's just me and Charlie today. Mike took Jacey to North Battleford for dental surgery and Brandon is in school. I always get so nervous for my kids before they have surgery, probably because I'm 31 have never had it, and Brandon is 9 and has had 5 of them; between tubes and oral surgery. This is Jacey's first, and she has a soft spot on one molar and a small cavity on the other side. We have been watching it for a year now and despite our efforts to slow down the cavity, of course it reared it's ugly head anyways. And now, due to a big seminar Saskatchewan dentists have all gone to, they are getting away from filling and capping molars, and are giving them crowns now. Crowns!! Apparently fillings break down too easily if in the mouth for a few years, and with these cavities being on her molars, they will be in there until she's 11 or 12. So now they are doing crowns instead of fillings, meaning less surgery for the little ones, as it's so hard on their little bodies.
So yes, I'm stressed sitting here this morning, wishing I was holding her hand, and not having these horrible thoughts of her aspirating on the table or some other ungodly thing. Thankfully Mike will be right beside her when she falls asleep, so he will be the last thing she sees and the first thing (besides the nurse) when she wakes. Jacey has no fear, however...she never has been that type of kid. She's very strong and sort of unemotional about things like that. So think of her today, everyone, and send good thoughts her way! ;)

Here are a few pics of the yard I took last night, trying to capture the solar lights but failing miserably:

our itty bitty (i.e cute) pond

aunti pam and uncle james' angel and flowers

the trees waiting to be planted
free advertising..and cuter than a dodgy old billboard too!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Backyard 3

Sherry drives the bobcat, removing all of the sod

To bring you all up to speed with our backyard crash, the last three days have looked like this:

pallets of paving stones

levelling the patio area

Today the patio will hopefully be finished, and topsoil and rock are being delivered this morning. We have been looking at different distributors for recycled rubber tires that have been ground up into mulch for the play area. We found one in Saskatoon and they deliver 2000 pound bales to your house, and we also heard of a lady in Unity that has rubber mulch by the 50 pound bag. We'll be giving her a call later on today.
As you can see things are shaping up nicely, and we very excited to have it finished soon. Sod is priced right now at 31 cents per square foot if you pick it up yourself, and luckily we have a few friends with big trailers. We picked up our trees yesterday at the nursery as well; Brandon Cedars, Dwarf Norway Spruce, potentillas, and Japanese Barberry bushes. I'll intersperse rock garden plants like ornamental grasses, hens and chicks, and creeping thyme around the dry creek bed later on. In a few years it should start looking fuller and more mature.
Can't wait to start planting!