Sunday, October 30, 2016

Landscaping, Phase 2 completed.

As posted previously, landscaping-of-the-engineering-kind had been ongoing.  It completed this past week.  There are a couple of minor projects for me to do in the near future -- like getting an answer to the puppies' area where every plant has been destroyed -- but, by in-large, the landscaping/engineering efforts are complete.  Pam and I will decide on how to landscape a couple of areas, but no more contractors so far as the immediate landscaping is concerned.  I will need a contractor to help clear the trail in the woods.  That will take place in a few weeks.  

As far as near the house is concerned, landscaping -- both of the engineering and aesthetic kind -- is about 85% complete.  It is a big relief, especially as it appears we have grass covering all areas, bringing the erosion under control.  The grass is not great and good-looking yet, but it is enough to keep the soil in place, and some areas are showing promise.  I am using Texoka buffalograss in my "manicured turf" areas, blue grama on all slopes, and a mix of blue grama and fescues in other areas.  I have also sown high-quality Texas wildflower seeds in key accent areas -- I will have to wait until spring to see whether or not this was a fruitful effort.

We also completed the construction of flagstone stairs and a terrace in the basin at the rear of the house.  As mentioned in earlier blog entries, the pad on which the house was built is up to six feet (two meters) above the natural ground level.  The slopes are steep, making it dangerous for young and old alike to traverse safely.  The stairs we built are two feet (0.61 meters) wide and a comfortable four inches (0.11 meters) in height, and have a handrail running down the middle at three feet (0.9 meters) high.  It should work for us when we have more than 80 years.

I fell in love with bougainvillea in my travels to Morocco and Spain.  Pam and I decided to plant one in an urn (bougainvillea flowers best when it is root-bound) as an experiment.  The area in which we placed it gets six to eight hours of sunlight per day, so we shall see...

The dry creek bed is intended to the take the water flowing from the right-of-way
area and slow its flow.  The flow from the culvert (upper right) is being directed away
from the dry creek bed via a repaired berm.  Tall grasses will also slow the water
flow, reducing erosional damage.

The French drain system will alleviate the problem of standing water and
erosional issues across the front of the house.  The area under the large oak
around which the driveway bends (upper left) was raised to direct water
around the tree and toward the seven-box drain system.

This photo was taken under the oak tree cited above.  It is an example of the
texoka buffalograss coming through its protective straw.  As can be seen, it
is fine-bladed, and it is drought resistant, also.  Hopefully, it will prove
to be a good turfgrass for us.

The texoka buffalograss is beginning to dominate the bermuda grass in this
picture.  By using cutting heights more favorable to the texoka, the
bermudagrass will eventually weaken and die.  The turf texture is more
aesthetically pleasing now that the texoka buffalograss has emerged.

This is the framing of the outdoor stairs and terrace in the backyard, to which
I refer as "the basin".  The top of the stairs is four feet (1.2 meters) above the
natural ground level.

Cement is poured, or at least in pouring progress.  It will need to cure before
adding the flagstone.  The poles for the rail are natural cedar.

The stairs and terrace are completed, and the handrail finished.  We added
the table around which the terrace dimensions were derived, and dirt and
topsoil have been added.  Both ryegrass and blue grama were sown and
covered with straw so the seeds will not get washed away during irrigation or rain.

The clustered bougainvillea experiment, shown in the afternoon sun with
the shadow of the lanai chimney falling before it.  It has been in-place for
two weeks and continues to show new growth.

This is an updated photo of our house, taken today.  The last 9 1/2 months have been a labor of love.  Hard labor, to be
sure, but would have been much more difficult if we were not shaping our dream home.