April 25, 2013

I wanted to post some pictures to show the growth of the backyard in the months since I planted everything. Everything is growing like crazy!



July 22, 2012

For the past two weeks, I have been working on the back yard!¬†¬†¬† Trying to transform a¬†tiny¬† 3′ by 20′ strip of dirt into¬†an¬†oasis of peace and tranquility.¬† ¬†This¬†turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated!

The¬†¬†dirt I brought in when I first started these renovations¬†had a lot of clay in it,¬†and over the last couple months had hardened into one¬†solid rock!¬† This all had to be broken¬†up and mixed with¬†lots of organic materials!¬† Translation,¬† lots more manual labor and hauling manure!¬†¬† I ended up¬†doubling the depth of the dirt,¬† and as a result,¬† needed to add¬†¬†two more rows of¬† bricks to¬†separate the house walls from the dirt, which I got from Awesome Al’s construction site!¬† This time, Al was there with all of his sons, and they loaded¬†¬†the bricks¬†into my car for me!¬† What a nice family!

After I¬† got the bricks and¬†dirt taken care of, my next task was¬†to install a fence.¬† I wanted¬† more privacy, but didn’t¬†want to completely obliterate the sun by making a huge shadow;¬† so I decided to go with¬†couple rolls of reed fencing.¬† They are inexpensive and easy to install!

I didn’t¬†want to drill into the cinderblock wall to secure my fence, ¬†so I let the¬† helpful¬† folks at Home depot direct me to a concrete adhesive, which¬†I applied in small spots with¬†a caulking gun, all along the top and bottom of the wall.¬† Then I cut small ¬†lengths of rebar¬†wire and inserted then into the adhesive¬†so that when it dried,¬†I would have a whole bunch of tie wires to attach my fence to.¬† ( It was kinda like making cookies!)

It worked perfectly!   I was able to easily unroll the fence and secure it to the wall.  I then  also used the same  tie wires to secure trellises to the fence!   I put up 3 fan-shaped trellises and one large ladder  trellis right in front  of the  back door.  I shortened the ladder trellis and used the  cut pieces to extend the middle section.

After that, I  was able to finally start planting all the plants that had been patiently waiting to go in  the ground!    I also bought a few flowers and climbing vines  for my trellises.    I planted all the succulents that my wonderful friend Uzi had given me as a house-warming present.  ( they have grown a LOT over the past few months!)

Next,  I used  the remaining bricks to make a  walking path down the middle.  As a last touch, I repurposed a discarded wooden end table into a tiny bench by sawing it in half,  making a few alterations and painting it!

While it’s not¬†completely¬†finished yet,¬† it’s starting to look¬†really really ¬†cute!


May 25, 2012

After spending¬†a good part of the¬†past month ridding the rose garden of the latticed¬† ganglia¬†of thick¬†weeds, entrenched deep into the soil, I was finally ready to start adding some plants!¬†¬† I¬†transplanted 4¬†rose bushes from Remarkable Rita into the¬† rose garden!¬† ¬†Home depot had a¬†special sale, ¬†3 for 10$ on shrubs, so you’ll be shocked to hear, I splurged and actually bought something, instead of getting¬† it¬† for¬† free on Craig’s List!¬† I bought 6¬†plants¬†for only 20$

I decided to use 3 of the shrubs¬†in¬†alley in front of my¬† cottage.¬† There¬†was a mass of tall weeds and trash¬† behind one of the buildings– that was just begging for a make-over!¬† ¬†I ripped¬†up all the weeds, raked out the trash, and watered and worked¬†up the soil so that it would be ready¬†for planting.¬†¬† Hoping¬†that¬†the dirt that was there, would¬†sufficient to¬†support plant life other than just weeds!¬† I planted some of the flowers that I’d¬†gotten from¬† Zeke, as well as¬† 3 of the bushes I bought.¬† Because of the location,¬† I selected smaller plants¬†that wouldn’t¬† disturb the building foundation as they grew.

After they were all planted, I realized I needed some bricks to¬†edge¬†the garden and hold the soil in place;¬† so I went back to Awesome Al’s construction¬†site to get some more¬† free used¬† bricks.¬† Al was there, along with his son, and they both helped to¬†load a pile of bricks into my car!¬†¬† I got home and arranged the bricks, and once again- magically had exactly the right amount of bricks for the job!¬† Not even one left over!¬† I don’t know how that happened again,¬† but¬† we now¬†have flowers in the alley!


Here’s some pictures of the alley garden!

May 4, 2012

Feeling somewhat recovered from¬†my¬†overexertion,¬† I was ready to get back to work on the back yard!¬†¬†¬†¬†First, I¬†finished laying the bricks at the¬†end, by the fence; ¬†and¬†in a weird little accidental miracle or perfect planning,¬† used every single brick!¬†¬† I¬†didn’t have any left over and didn’t need any!!¬† ¬†I have no idea how that worked out so perfectly!¬† ¬†¬† However, I did need more dirt!

So¬†it¬†was¬†back to Awesome Al’s construction¬†site for another ¬†load of dirt.¬†(Hopefully my¬†last– because ¬†I’m really, really ¬†tired of hauling dirt!!)¬† Proving that chivalry¬†is not dead,¬† Awesome Al shoveled and loaded¬†¬† 4¬† full wheel barrel’s of dirt into my truck;¬† all while wearing his dress shoes!¬†¬†¬† What a nice man!

I got back home and used some of the dirt to re-pot 2 of the plants from the weekend into bigger pots, ( they thanked me), and then emptied the rest into the backyard.¬†¬† And then, finally….. I planted something!!¬† I planted the Bougainvillea Bush from Marvelous Melissa at the end of the yard by the fence.¬† I think it will look pretty there when it grows in.¬†¬† YAY!¬†¬† Its starting to look really nice!

Now I have to decide what to plant along the  brick wall?  Something tall and thin, for privacy.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the dirt pile in my truck and the end result!

May 2, 2012

After getting sidetracked all week-end with carloads of shelves and plants , it was time to turn my attention back to the dirt pile waiting patiently in the back yard!   After seeing my post, several of you  advised that I should have a barrier of bricks between the house and the dirt.

That seemed like a¬† pretty good suggestion, so it was back to the Craig’s list free section,¬†searching for bricks.¬† Not wanting to disappoint me, or have my house rot; ¬†the universe led me to Awesome¬†Al in Marina Del Ray.¬† Al¬†is building his dream home for his three¬†children and is¬† eco-concious; ¬†so he’s listed his left over building materials, so that they dont go to waste!

Al was¬†super¬†¬†nice and helped me load up a huge load of bricks into the back of my truck.¬† He also suggested I check out Habitat for Humanity¬† for some home renovation treasures( tomorrow’s adventure),¬† and sent me off with several packets of hot chocolate!¬† ( Which I’m drinking as I write this!)

I got home, ¬†unloaded the bricks into the back yard, and started digging a small channel along the wall.¬† I sprayed down the¬† whole area with Ortho Home Defense Max,¬†before laying¬†down 3 rows of bricks on top of each other along the¬†length of the¬†wall, so that the bricks were level with the dirt.¬†¬†¬†I was a little daunted at first, but I just went brick by brick, and¬†¬†it didn’t take as long as I had expected and ¬†turned out pretty good!¬† Not bad for a days work!¬† ( And another life lesson)

Now I can actually start planting things in there!

THANK YOU¬†for the bricks and hot chocolate AL!¬† ūüôā

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