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Thursday, June 29, 2006


Let There Be Yard

We get mail: What's up with that rock wall you were building?

Thanks for asking. Last I mentioned it, I had finished leveling out the main part of the yard and had just started building a rock retaining wall.

The wall went up slowly, very slowly, mostly because the rocks were so heavy. My energy would be almost completely sapped after shifting just one of those 200-pound monsters into place. Then we had days and days of rain that turned everything to mud again. But finally, after many pulled muscles and smashed appendages, I finished the wall nearly three weeks after starting it.

There's another thirty feet of wall behind me, with the whole thing stretching about 120 feet along the back and sides. It's two layers except on the sides where it nears the house. My daughter was a big helper, giving it frequent "Wobbly Tests" to see if any of the rocks were unstable.

Next came sprinklers and sod, which have totally transformed our once barren, badly sloped, mud pit of a backyard into a cool oasis for relaxation and fun. Or at least that's what I'm hoping. We still have some trees and bushes to plant, and I might put in some sort of gravel path for the kids to follow around the yard, but the big stuff is done.

Yards can be notorious money pits. I wanted to get everything done at one time so that we wouldn't have to constantly be thinking about new landscaping projects. The goal now is to simply enjoy the yard for years to come. It's an extension of our home - a safe and comfortable place for the kids to play and the parents to relax.


Blogger Hannelie said...

I think it looks already lovely and will even more once totally finished, well done on all the hard work!
It makes me itch to do some gardening too.

3:59 AM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

In the first picture, the rocks look kind of small. But when you're in the picture, it is clear just how big they are.

Looks like it's going to turn out very nice.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Brent said...

Getting it all done at once is the BEST approach. You guys will be enjoying this addition to your home for a loooong time. Quick question though, in GA the mosquitoes are really troublesome, is it the same story up there in Idaho? Do you do anything to fight it?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Philip said...

Wow! It's looking amazing. As you may know, I love working with stone, and have 30 tons or so in my yard. You needed a bobcat, dude! I highly recommend renting one next go 'round.

Anyway, the project is looking very sharp, keep posting pictures.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Mosquitoes aren't too bad in my area. Maybe the lakefront homes have a problem, but I'm not a millionaire so...

For some strange reason, I did get bit about seven times when I was first leveling out the yard. I was out there after the sun went down and they attacked my back. Since then, nothing.

I read about a product called Mosquito Barrier over at BusyMom... She says it works great. I'll probably try it out once we get the planting finished.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Philip said...

Never mind, I see from that middle picture that you had a mini bobcat for moving things around. I used a full sized bobcat with the forklift tines (movable depending on boulder size) as a way of placing the stones. Of course 200 is manageable, but your back, your poor back . . .

12:40 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Philip, I initially rented a Toro Dingo to level out the yard for the lawn. The whole thing was sloped toward the house. Anyway, that Dingo was awesome... I had it for two days, but at $150 a day that was about my limit. The company that delivered the sod did have a Bobcat to haul those heavy strips to the back, thank goodness. But the rocks were dropped off in our driveway and I had to haul each one to the back with a furniture dolly.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Oh, how I wish I'd had that Bobcat for the rocks! Next time... Oh wait, there won't be a next time if I can help it.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Can you come and work on my backyard? I can't afford to pay you much, but I will feed you and mac and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches...Looks awesome! Good job!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I did my front yard last summer. Big $ and effort.

The dogs and winter have it looking aweful.

8:43 PM  

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