Front Yard Redo

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Sadly, things just don’t last forever.  With our house being nearly thirty years old, many of the existing features are wearing out and needing to be replaced.  Last fall, the carpet in the living room and dining room was replaced with maple hardwood flooring, making a big change to front part of the house.  A big improvement!

The next big project on my list was to replace the retaining wall and landscaping in our front yard. Interlocking retaining wall blocks, when originally designed, were meant to last about 20 years.  Our wall was built in 1989 and was definitely showing its age.  Over the past five years, several of the blocks had deteriorated.  When a block in the center of the wall would break down, I would remove it and transfer a block from the ends of the wall, covering the gap in the exposed ends with landscape rock.  This strategy worked for a while.  But ultimately, I could no longer postpone replacing the wall.  Too many of the blocks were now crumbling.

So, over the winter I designed my new wall, sought estimates from contractors for removing and replacing the old wall, and had everything set to go when spring arrived.  On May 2nd, I started working on prepping the yard for the contractor to come.  This involved relocated as much of the landscaping rock as I could dig out, and moving my perennials to our back yard in an attempt to save them for replanting in the new landscaping.

The contractor started on May 11th, with the removal of four large trees and the existing retaining wall.  The following Monday, he started to dig out for the new wall. Unfortunately, it started to rain mid-afternoon. . . and continued to rain for the next ten days.  Every day, the contractor would come and pump out the water hoping that he could start working on building the wall.  But, ever day the rain continued to fall.

Finally, when he was able to start, it was just before Memorial Day.  So, our wall, which was supposed to be completed by May 20th, wasn’t done until June 2nd.  And, to top off my frustration, the contractor kept making changes to the shape of the wall. Some of the changes I accepted, because to redo them would have set the project back several more days.  So, every change in the wall meant a change in the plant design that I had been planning.

After the contractor was done, I was able to take over.  Shrubs were planted, perennials transplanted from the back yard to the new front  yard, mulch spread, brick edging placed around all of the planting areas, and black dirt spread over the yard areas. A large maple tree was planted by Arbor Hills Tree Farm (glad I was home the day that they came as it was amazing to watch them dig and plant the tree in less than thirty minutes). After having part of our front sidewalk replaced and new sod installed, the project was done.

After adding some decorative elements, my front yard is now complete.  So, here are some before and after pictures as well as a short video of the project.

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Planters

Window on My World – quilting and hand embroidery. I’m done!

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After hours of quilting and hand embroidery, I have finished my lanscape quilt. I am very pleased with the result. Hopefully when I look at it, I won’t find something that I want to change.

Each season has lots to look at – animals, plants, etc.  It really does look like my backyard.

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Winter / Midnight
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Spring / Sunrise

 

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Summer / Midday

 

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Autumn / Sunset

 

Some of the details:

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Our first dog, a German Shorthair Pointer named Striker, and some hand embroidered flowers.
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One of our first cats, Comet, who liked to climb trees, and some more flowers.
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Our yorkie, Duke, barking an our cat, Onyx.  Onyx is always trying to get up and away from him.
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Our oldest cat, Squigglez, who will be thirteen years old this summer, does enjoy wondering in the yard in the summertime.
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Having a heavily wooded yard and lots of plants, we have lots of wildlife that visit.

 

Window on My World – designing a landscape quilt.

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Our home, once filled with the busy-ness of four boys, is considerably quieter with only one son still living at home.  And, this week he is on a field study trip with his school making our house even quieter.

Looking to the future, my husband and I have started thinking about moving in a few years.  When that happens, we will leave behind a house that I have spent considerable time and effort into making a lovely place to live.

My backyard is especially enjoyable to me, with the trees and flowers and many places to sit and relax.  To help remember this space, I decided to make a landscape quilt that shows my yard.  I plan to call this quilt “Window on my World”.  The idea is that the quilt will depict a view of my yard looking out of a window. Since all seasons and all times of the day are enjoyable, I plan to incorporate various times into the quilt.

The window will have four panes in it.  Each pane will depict a different season in my backyard – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.  And, each pane will depict different times of day – Midnight, Sunrise, Midday and Sunset.  So, starting from the farthest left pane and going right the landscape quilt will show the my yard:

  • Midnight in Winter
  • Sunrise in Spring
  • Midday in Summer
  • Sunset in Autumn

The first step in creating this quilt was to draw out my ideas on a few pieces of paper. I’m not very good at drawing, but these do show the idea fairly well.Composite.jpg

I now need to plan out the background.  To make the quilt more visually interesting, I am playing around with different piecing ideas for each pane. That will be the topic of my next posting.