Saturday, March 3, 2018

Top dressing the back yard lawn

The back yard grass was put in at two different times, September 2014 and May 2017, and at least last year, the older grass seemed to not be as healthy.  So we wanted to try to improve the grass with a top-dressing of compost this year.

It took 2 pallets of grass to cover each of the two areas, and so 4 pallets at 450 square feet per pallet means we have 1800 square feet of grass.  In the back.  To cover that we tried to get 3 cubic yards of compost.  Actually we got the same professional mix  that we used as dirt; it's 50% compost.  I figure the extra 50% can help to compensate some for the settling that we have seen.

This took 2 trips to Whittlesey Landscape in Round Rock (plus another 2 trips for mulch).  The two dirt trips cost $82.49 each (1.5 yards plus 6 bags of mulch to hold the tarp down on it), and then another $119.91 for 54 bags of mulch.  A total of $284.89, and one day of driving back and forth, loading and unloading. (Friday).

The next day, Saturday, was distributing the dirt around to the back yard and spreading it.  By 5 PM it was starting to drizzle, so now it's mud, but it is supposed to rain for the next two days, and that will help it settle down in around the grass roots (we hope).

It may be a bit too thick; it's hard to tell since it's so light weight.

As you can see, we didn't have enough to completely cover the lawn (I guess we needed 4 cubic yards, or to put it on thinner.)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Garage Doors (and openers)

One of the two garage door openers has been acting up.  Checking, it was because the limit switch (which determines how far down the doors go before the opener stops) was broken, and not really in a repairable way.  It being 30 years since the garage doors were put in when the house was built, it seems like a good time to get new doors and openers.  For both sides.

Start by checking Angie's List for local companies to replace the garage doors.  Got a list of 3 or 4, and started calling to get prices and types.  The Home Depot web site actually has a good presentation of the various types and options and going thru that helped me understand what was involved.  We got two bids, one for $4288.67 and another for $4391.17.  Then I noticed that Costco also provides garage doors, thru a local company, and called them.  They took the information, and said someone locally would call me.  A short time later, it was Cedar Park Overhead, which was the 3rd company on Angie's List that I had been meaning to call.  Their estimate came in at $3877.52.  Being the lowest cost, and a good recommendation from Angie's List, we went with them.

This was for two 9 foot by 7 foot doors.  I went with a steel door with polystyrene foam insulation (R 9) in it.  The technology has changed from the cables and springs that we had to a torsion spring bar.  Torsion bars are common on larger garage doors, and now on ours too.  Linda wanted a pre-painted to look like a stained wood (Walnut, Faux wood), with windows (clear Stockton) along the top.  Long panels.

We started the process in mid-January, had made our decision and signed a contract by 26 Jan.  The order went in.  A month later, we got a call saying the doors had arrived and they were ready to install them.

The first problem was to clean out the garage, so that they could work.  We removed the rack over the one garage door that used to hold the off-season solar screens, and then moved all the stuff from the sides of the garage back into the garage temporarily so that the walls were clear.

A crew of two guys showed up at about 1:00 pm and started removing the old doors and openers, then installing the new doors and openers.  They were done by 4:00 pm.

The color match with the outside (freshly painted in November) trim is quite good.

Both doors have seals all around them.  The windows have a plastic insert on the outside that makes them look like they are 12 small panes, but it's really one double-paned window.

The openers are both LiftMaster LM8160 chain drive 1/2 HP units.  Both are driven off the one remote keypad, and we have two remotes -- one for Linda's car and one for mine.