Last week we started on our first major house renovation (because shitters don’t count) – THE YARD. dun-dun-dun. If you remember, the backyard was basically a swamp thanks to a city easement & natural spring & incorrect drainage that was ignored for the better part of the last 1.5 decades.
Here’s what we started with in the front:
There’s a house somewhere behind that giant bush. & for some reason, someone thought it was a genius idea to plant a Magnolia tree up against the house. Here’s a tip for non-Southeners – magnolia trees are huge. HUGE. They get massive, which means that planting one within 20 yards of a house means that there’s an excellent chance the roots will bust up the foundation.
The boxwoods were trimmed incorrectly, leaving them a scraggly overgrown mess that couldn’t be helped & there were a few cactus-y plants tossed in there. They tried to do a fancy-schmancy rock wall in a few places but it was done incorrectly, which meant there were slates sliding all over the damn place. The front gutters were pointed towards the house & dumped into our already-soaked back yard.
Then there was the backyard, which was even more of a hot mess. We haven’t been able to use our backyard since we moved in & we have to mop off Tuck’s feet whenever she comes into the house…& there’s still mud tracked everywhere. My Green Machine steam cleaner has seen more action in the past two months then a whore at a government convention. A reminder of what the backyard looked like:
This picture really doesn’t do it justice because by last week, the too-small incorrectly-laid French drain had popped up out of the teeny pebbles & then the rocks washed down, essentially creating a damn in our backyard. COOL SWAMP, YO.
We started interviewing folks for the backyard. Engineering firms said it was too little a project, landscaping companies said it was too big. One guy quoted $20,000-$30,000 & we laughed. One guy showed up high as a kite & told us he could do it for $400 & we laughed. Then we found Hicks & they were like, “Yeah, doable” & we were like, “HIRED.”
Massive construction-grade French Drain in the easement
catch-basin at end points of our yard where easement hits our property line
re-route gutters away from house
French drains from all four gutters into massive easement French drain
French drain from our next-door neighbor’s gutter into our massive French drain
Massive construction-grade French Drain #2 to route spring water into easement massive French drain
Remove 3 groves of weed trees in the backyard
rip out all plants in front yard
Put in rich topsoil
Fix rock walls
Re-seed & spread hay all over front & back yard
(how much does that cost? let’s just say Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary to us for the next 10 years!)
Last Thursday, these guys showed up in my front yard:
I don’t think explaining Heaven to Harrison is going to be hard after this. I’ll just be like, “Remember the day you had a mini excavator in your front yard?”
They immediately started ripping stuff apart. This is how I felt:
& this is what I came home to:
More to come later!