Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Broken Ground

I am pleased to say that the front yard redo has begun.  The guys came at 7:00 a.m. yesterday morning and brought their sod cutter with them.  I am tempted to ask them to stop here.  Look at all that bare dirt!  I could just go crazy with plants and never bring the lawn mower out front again.  

But I will resist.  For one, I don't think my wife would go for it.  Secondly, the benefit of lawn in this case is that it's actually lower maintenance for me than other options since I can just mow the often-mentioned and much-hated palm seedlings that constantly grow in my yard.  And, finally, if and when we come to a point where we decide to sell our house, I think the "average" buyer would prefer the expected American front yard which means green grass. 

Speaking of grass, in the picture above there is a strip of rock that borders what was the lawn and the walkway.  The landscapers will remove this rock and use it elsewhere.  They will replace it with even more grass.  This is fine with me as I had grown weary of weeding this strip.  I may eventually remove the grass that will be installed where the rock is now and replace it with a curvaceous planting bed or perhaps grow a boxwood hedge, but for now I'm going to let the plan of sodding this area proceed without intervention. 

In the bottom left corner of the picture above you can see a black drip irrigation line.  This line currently runs directly from a hose bib a foot or two away.  This setup has worked for me just fine, but the crew is going to tap into the in-ground system and run the line beneath the stones and re-install the drip irrigation.  This will make the area look cleaner and it will be one less thing for me to worry about.  I find that drip irrigation timers can be unreliable after a while and those pesky batteries die without my permission. 

Unfortunately, what was originally estimated to be a 2 or 2 1/2-day project looks like it's going to end up taking 9 days from start to finish.  The crew has been splitting time between my yard and my neighbor's yard which they are also re-sodding.  They expect to complete the grading of my yard today but they won't have enough time to put in the pipes and lay the sod before the day is done.  And now the rains of Northern California's wet season are scheduled to begin in earnest tomorrow morning and continue for five straight days.  They are warning of potential flooding.  Which means lots and lots of mud in my yard and not a very good time to be trenching sprinkler lines and laying sod.  [Insert grumpy face emoticon here!]

No work will be done in my backyard as part of this project but that doesn't mean things aren't changing there too.  The crepe myrtle leaves are changing and starting to fall finally.  I plan to use the time after the leaves have fallen to study the branching and do some artful shaping - paying special attention to the lower limbs so that eventually I can push the lawn mower beneath it without having to duck.  Those seeds just jump off the tree and attach themselves to my hair.  It's annoying.     

One of my Japanese maples, a 'Glowing Embers' has really gotten orange in the last week. 

The 'Red Dragon' pictured above is still red but it's not the deep maroon that it was this summer.  I love sitting in the iron chair next to this tree.  I love the way they look together.  The colors are so different.  The texture, also, so different.  This is a slow growing Japanese maple.  This is a quality I have grown to appreciate.  This tree looks just as perfectly sited as the day I planted it.  I can't say the same for every tree or shrub I have planted. 

And finally, a seldom-used but fairly old Japanese cultivar called 'Otto's Dissectum' has gone from light green to orange and red.  I've been growing this in a wine barrel for a couple seasons now.  It's such a nice tree.  Some day I hope to create a spot of its own for it - a place where it can sink its roots and grow without impediment and live up to its potential . . . a hope I'm sure we all desire for ourselves and our loved ones. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree that grass can be very low maintenance, if you are like me and all you do is mow it. I think the use of chemicals to weed and feed it is what gives lawns such a bad reputation. I think you will be so very pleased with your new sod. And since your neighbor is doing theirs at the same time, it will look like a whole new neighborhood! I hope gentle rains come just at the right time to nourish your new grass.