Sunday, June 21, 2015

Landscaping Part 2 - Grading

It’s been a while. But let’s start with Happy Father’s Day to all including you Moms that have played both roles.

Winter is long over and after a slow spring warm up, we’re finally heading into warmer weather. Today has been spent with torrential rains soaking us but I won’t complain. We need it. I have a lot of catching up to do with the blog so let’s get started.

Landscape Plans with the growing Plant List.
It takes a lot of research including seeing the plants up close to help decide which are the right ones. Having a professional Landscape Planner like Brooke from SunFlower Designs helped us a lot.

While the house building continued, we spent time with Brooke from Sunflower Landscape & Designs, designing our landscape plan. 

Plants, Plants and more Plants

We had also made a couple of trips to Sylvan’s Nursery in Westport , MA to check out the five million, three hundred gazillion plants that they have in order to get an idea of the suggestions that Brooke was making. The planning was now complete and the decisions were all made. It was now time to begin the landscaping.

Patches of... Weeds

A Front Yard of Dirt

Landscaping a new house is not like landscaping an older home that has years of growth that just needs to be moved, removed or re-educated. Starting from the ground up (pun intended) is a daunting task. You can do it slowly over time and fight the weeds that inevitably spring up or you can work to get 75% of it done and poke away at the remaining 25% over time.

The area around the Wall had a Moonscape look

We chose the latter. And by choosing to have it done quickly (I really wanted to spend my weekends cutting grass...), we found that not only does it take time to landscape correctly, it also takes money. Lots of money. We have an analogy here on the coast, “A boat is a hole in the water that you pour money into.” 

Can you even imagine Grass growing here?

 Well, I have a new one; “A new house is a hole in the ground that you pour money into.” 

What to do with a Large Pile of Boulders?

Secretly, I enjoy the work, not the money part, but the work of finding the right plant for the right spot and digging in the soil. I do enough of it that once somebody stopped by and saw me out there in my bright green lightweight shirt, work shorts and a boonie hat and I was asked if Mrs. was home. She thought I was the landscaper.

Bringing in the Top Soil

At any rate, it’s takes lots of top soil to start a new lawn. Particularly given that the fill that had been brought in was sandy and had been heavily tromped on and packed down. Only the best of weeds would grow in it. 

JM Equipment also places Loads on the Side of the House
Talk about great driving.

JM Equipment brought in over 60 yards of topsoil. Once the soil was delivered, Henry and his crew from Pereira Brothers went to quick work.

Grading alongside the Patio

 First they regraded the area around the house in order to get the right slopes and levels. This first step is important because you want the rainwater and snow melt to drain away from the foundation. 

Need Rocks?

This also involved removing the excess rocks and other stumps and what not. We did save a couple of the larger boulders that were to be used later in our landscaping.

Staging the Boulders

Moving Top Soil along the Foundation
This the start of the gardens.

Once the grading was completed, topsoil was piled up against the foundation and shaped into a rough outline to provide a base for the future gardens. 

Flipping the Boulder Around to get the Right Look
I need one of those to dig around in the backyard.

Then under Brooke’s watchful eye, the large boulders were moved into place and flipped around and turned over and over until they had the right appearance.

Top Soil Leveled and Ready for Grass Seed.

Placing a Boulder where a Future Garden will be
I can hear Brooke telling Henry, "No, it needs to be two feet over."
This is where a Landscape Designer makes a big difference. I would have just rolled it into a deep hole.

 It was a lot of work to get to this point but the hours of planning and preparation were beginning to show positive results. Atleast we had a lot of dirt and boulders anyways.

Next Time – Landscaping Part 3 – Adding the Plants

Enjoy your week.