Sunday, June 5, 2011

A landscape plan

Once I started working on the North Pit, it became more obvious to me that I needed a long term plan of how to work on the yard. While I feel there is value in digging up the yard, removing all the rock, and improving the soil, I'm not sure that it should be returned to just grass once all this is done.

So we contacted a Landscape Designer, Liz Klein, from DesignMyYard. This started in March. Ms. Klein came over and walked the yard with both Linda and me, listening to what we wanted and seeing what we had. There were several sessions where she presented ideas and listened to our comments.

The result was a landscape plan for us to work on. While Ms. Klein normally seems to both come up with a plan and then arrange for it to be done, in our case we were happy with just the plan, and our own intentions to implement it over a longer time period. I'm not sure I care about reaching the goal of the entire landscape plan, but it gives me a direction to go when I need to make decisions about current work.

This plan shows that, for the current work, I will put a walk way from the fence next to the garage, past the North Pit, joining for a moment with a walk way around the raised garden, and then on around to the existing back patio/deck walk.

The area between this walk way and the house will become a bed for plantings. Part of this bed has already been excavated, but I will need to expand that. In addition, I can expand the North Pit slightly to lay the foundation for the walkway.

It's getting very hot now with Summer coming on, so most of the plantings should probably wait until Fall. That gives me several months to get things ready.

Changing the irrigation in the driveway peninsula

One side-effect of the digging in the North Pit is that it exposed part of the irrigation pipe for Zone 1. Zone 1 is mainly the peninsula of dirt that is between our driveway and the neighbor's driveway. I dug it all up and redid the sprinkler system for Zone 1 some time ago. The controller for Zone 1 is near the fence between the front and back yard.

It turns out one of the sprinkler lines started in the front, went under the fence, into what is now the North Pit, then over, parallel to the fence and back under the fence to in front of the fence. When I excavated the North Pit, I removed that line, leaving me with 3 stubs -- one to a head in the monkey grass in the back yard by the house (the garage actually), one that went to a sprinkler head in the front, and the supply line from the controller. The obvious thing to do was to move the supply line back to in front of the fence, and then run a line to re-attach it to the sprinkler head in the front. The head in the monkey grass should be re-routed to Zone 2, with the rest of the heads in the monkey grass.

So to get the stubs of the sprinkler lines out of the North Pit, I took a week to re-do these lines in front of the fence. Looking at this area, however, it seems silly to do a general spray head. The only thing in this area, near the fence between the front and back yards, are 4 crepe myrtle trees. Most of the peninsula is a few trees -- crepe myrtles and Bartlett pears -- and rocks. The dirt is covered with mulch. Nothing much will grow there, because of all the shade from the trees.

So rather than re-routing a line to the spray head, I took the spray head out, and put in bubblers for the 3 crepe myrtle trees that it should be watering. This gets more controlled amounts of water directly to the base of the trees, which should be much more effective.

The first thing to do was to run a water supply line over to the middle of the crepe myrtles.

Then, we ran a line down the middle, between the trees. We branched off this middle line to run a line to each of the trees, and put a bubbler on the end of each of them.

Then we covered the entire area with mulch. It took 10 bags of mulch to cover this area, where we had been digging.

It took 15 more bags to cover the rest of the peninsula.

This little back corner of the front yard, although it is adjacent to the rest of the peninsula has apparently never been excavated. This makes sense, since doing so would damage the root system of the trees. But for this limited digging, I found a lot of construction level rock and debris. I removed everything I could, and added a bunch of leaves and compost in putting the dirt back in.