Hi everybody! It’s been insane here lately so sorry for my absence on my own blog! School started back up abruptly and I’ve been scrambling to switch gears, gather supplies, and make sure everyone is emotionally stable through all the newness. All of that means that summer is officially over for us and our front yard, our ONE summer goal, didn’t quite get done. But we have come a long way and are close! I’d say it’s about 95% cleared of weeds, 75% landscaped, 40% graded/leveled and truck loads of mulch and rock are on the way tomorrow! But it took a lot of boring/ugly/not exciting tasks to get here, the most important one being what we have affectionately named our BORDER WALL!I’ll explain. We live on a corner and a hill, and our front yard is big L-shaped plot that consists of two parts: a flat upper area at house level and a massive slope that goes from upper level to sidewalk level. The slope has a very old/crumbling/needs-to-be-replaced railroad tie retaining wall at its base (that we are ignoring for now). Up around the corner, the slope eventually meets house level and the yard forms a fun curve around our driveway in back (fun fact: we’ve never owned or even lived in a house with a normal garage in front. What is it like?!). Allow these google maps screen shots from when we bought our house to further illustrate:I’ll talk more about plants next time, but we have basically ripped out all existing plants, including the large lawn on the top level. We are going for the same desert modern vibe of our backyard, but maybe not as colorful, so the grass will be replaced with rocks. In order to do that however, it was necessary to build some sort of low-grade retaining wall at the top of the slope to reclaim feet of previously uneven grass area that dangerously dropped off around the edges and to keep the rocks from spilling over. It’s not so much structural as it is a literal border line (previous owner had a rickety piece of wood, as seen above). And that’s how the border wall was born and an endless stream of jokes and joy have followed…the most obvious one being that we are going to get Mexico to pay for it.
My husband used pressure treated 4×4’s for the wall, 4×6’s for the posts, and 6″ specialty screws to hold it all together. After much debate, we cut across the corner of our lot at 45 degrees, angle the wall at one end of our yard, and literally run it into the ground on the driveway side. It has really classed up the joint and given our yard some much needed structure. We now have two defined areas, top and bottom.
We’re beginning to lay down rock up top this weekend on the areas that we have leveled, the same rock we used in our backyard and sideyard, 1/2″ float rock. We have been super happy with it. We’d like to pour a concrete patio outside our front door, where we have the best views. Only a giant circle seems right to me, but we lack experience to give us the guts to try to DIY it, so that may need to happen at a later date. We also hope to build a decorative wood screen to hide our very poorly placed breaker box:As for the slope, I’ve mostly finished landscaping (after taking these photos), so I’ll save the plant talk for next time. It feels so good not be the dump of all dumps in the neighborhood! I’ll leave you with some before/after action of our progress. I think we may still be in the “it looks worse before it looks better” stage, but I can see where we are going and I can’t wait to get there.Thanks for stopping by!