Our Landscaping Project: Progress Update

Progress

Writing an updated post about our big landscaping project has been on my to-do list for several weeks (months) but hey, life is busy and I rarely make it to the bottom of a list.  I didn’t think I would be posting anything today but when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Progress I realized I was out of excuses.  Here is a look at what we’ve been working on this fall.

I know my last project post said we were postponing painting until the end of September due to weather but our surprise stretch of heavy rain was followed by weeks of unusually heavy fog and as a result we couldn’t finish painting until early December.  I couldn’t believe how much moss grew on our roof in just one week.  The short days and cold temperatures left a very small work window in each day but Hans kept going as long as he could and I’m happy to say most of the body of the house is a clean, fresh gray and our newly trimmed windows are sparkling white.  Our front and back door will soon be a beautiful navy blue and the porch is complete with a new set of stairs connecting to the driveway.

Our drafty old car port is now officially a garage with insulated walls, garage doors on the front and double sets of French doors on the back opening to a patio.  We still need to paint the interior walls, hang shelving and apply frosted panels to the glass for security but it feels great to have a covered place to park again and somewhere to securely store all of the outdoor tools.

Most of the landscaping is finished in the front and you can see John’s favorite little sub-alpine fir-tree at the top of the pictures above.  This tree was harvested by permit in the Cascade Mountains and will slowly grow to a relatively small 20 feet.  It’s planted off the front corner of our new porch to add a foundation point and a little screening from the street.  We spent another very wet Saturday driving from nursery to nursery picking out the last of our plants and one October weekend was the time to get the fir, 12 compact laurels for our new hedge and several flats of heather, bergenia, dwarf mugo pines and viburnum.  We selected winter, spring and summer blooming varieties in hopes of some year-round color and I can’t wait to see the full effect as everything settles in and starts to grow.

The side yard was an unplanned project but when our excavator said he could clear the brush and boulders so we could access the back yard without going through the garage we said “ok”.  We were able to reuse the huge granite boulders in the front yard as focal points but we didn’t have time to figure out a permanent landscaping solution for the newly cleared side of the house.  As a temporary fix I ordered a few yards of crushed rock to spread along the side of the house and under the front porch for the winter.  I though sod was heavy and now I know 8 yards of crushed rock is heavy too, especially after a rainstorm.  We have a little more to shovel but the mini-mountain is almost gone…

We have a good list of details to finish in the spring when the weather warms and a winter worksheet that includes more lighting and new door hardware but I am really happy with our progress so far!

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Four

Our Landscaping Project:  Weeks Five and Six

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Our Landscaping Project: Weeks Five and Six

Weeks 5 & 6

We have been so busy working I missed my update last week so this is a combo post showing our progress through weeks 5 and 6 of the big Landscaping Project 2013.  We have had some long days and a few scheduling setbacks but several big items on our renovation wish list are complete and we feel like some good work has been done.

The early part of last week was spent cleaning very dirty siding and prepping the house for new paint.  Ryan was a great help with the scrub brush and I developed a love-hate relationship with the power washer.  I’m in awe of how much dirt and grime can be hosed away by the washer but when it blows back on my face I am not a happy cleaner.

The new front porch is built, sided and primed and Heidi the Wonder Lab has claimed her lookout position right where the stairs will be.  Heidi is my brother’s dog and when he is here building, she is on the job as site supervisor. 🙂

With the local power company returning to take down one last Cedar Tree on our property line and a record-setting rain storm at the end of our driest summer in over 40 years we had to reschedule our plans to paint until the end of September.  My fingers are crossed for a late stretch of summer weather…

After a full Tuesday at our day jobs John and I had two hours to lay sod for the front lawn before it was too dark to see anything.  We were stiff and sore the next day but the new lawn looks so much better than the rough dirt that we agree, the extra effort was worth it.

This week we will fine tune the watering system, plant our remaining plants in the holding zone, make a shopping list for more plants and finalize the lighting plan.

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Four

Our Landscaping Project: Week Four

Week 4 Effort

We are wrapping up week four of our big project and have reached the inevitable plateau that comes after initial excitement of breaking ground meets the sweaty reality a lot of work still left to do.  The heavy equipment is gone and the days of huge changes are (hopefully) behind us leaving lots of hard work and effort in our future.

My brother Hans is staying here with us during the week building the front porch with a little help from Ryan in his last weeks of summer vacation.  We asked the excavating company to remove and haul away the old porch while they were here four weeks ago leaving a scary 10 foot drop for anyone brave enough to open our door and look down.  Inside the house we have furniture, blue tape and a skull and crossbones sign across the threshold to prevent our guests from taking their last step…

We’ve planted about half of the potted nursery stock waiting in the backyard and even though it is mid August only one looks like it isn’t going to live through the move from pot to ground.  This is a tricky time to plant here in the PNW but I thought with a lot of water and the promise of a few cooler days ahead we should be ok.  So far, so good.

Now comes the part of the job I have been dreading.  I really don’t like spiders and the ugly, dark brown exterior of our house is full of them… The past two days have found me outside clearing cobwebs and getting ready to pressure wash off the remaining dirt, needles and mildew before painting.  It is hot, dusty work and because I’ll do almost anything to avoid spiders jumping in my hair I’m covered head to toe in long sleeves, pants, gloves and big hat.

A new watering system is ready to install and If we keep on schedule the rest of the week should include priming the new porch walls, installing window trim and, cross your fingers, paint.

The best word to describe this past week is Effort and as luck would have it this is also the photography challenge for the latest Daily Prompt:  Secret of Success.  What I really want to be doing tonight is relaxing on the back porch with a cool beverage enjoying the end of summer but there are more spider webs to blow away and a lot of pine needles to brush before the day is done.

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project: Week Three

Project Week 3

Week three was filled with more shopping trips for plants and materials, a lot of dirty/dusty work framing the new front porch, some time posing next to big equipment that doesn’t usually decorate our front yard, and a few new plants successfully placed in the side yard.

The caution tape is down signaling our new driveway is ready for cars and trucks and we can finally pull into the garage (no longer a car port) and close the garage doors.  Hooray!

Next week brings more planting, a finished front porch, selecting materials for the fence, a watering system and prepping the  house for new paint.  Wish us luck!

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two