Tuesday, June 5, 2012

landscaping disaster post mid-century modern remodel

I knew this moment would come. The remodel is done and all the money is spent. But the back of the house looks like it was flattened by a herd of wild elephants. Not to mention the city required us to dig down next to the foundation, creating a high yard side near the fence and a low yard side near the house, perfect for the next El Nino.

landscape after construction
Remember the weep screed?

landscape after construction
See the grey color on the top soil in the lower part of the picture?
Spilled cement.
Construction projects are notoriously tough on landscape. Even tidy workers leave behind bits of trash, nails and unidentified small metal parts. Paint, concrete and mortar spill out onto the soil. Essentially all landscaping and yard that was within twenty feet of the construction suffers total devastation and is in substantially worse shape then before the project.

And we don't exactly have a "back yard" because the house sits at an angle on the lot. The former backyard is now as small as a typical side yard (10' strip of land off the 65' back fence). I have shown this picture from space several times. The remodel is outlined in red creating a parallel finger of land to the back. Prior to the remodel, Albert had a container garden with gravel ground cover. You can kind of see the dirt boxes in this Google fly over picture.

mid-century modern bathroom addition
Google maps view. It trips me out when they update these.
How do they do it?

Plus, we just added a huge picture window from the guest bathroom out, into this mud and rock strewn wasteland. 

bathroom picture window
View of the water stained fence. Fabulous.

Something MUST be done. A couple of weeks ago, we tackled a massive cleanup effort just to get back to square minus one before Alex's BIG graduation party last Saturday. I really don't remember the last time I spent four hours in the yard weeding, trimming and hauling. What-a-back-breaker. 

Here are some ideas:

#1 Decomposed granite/desert.

As shown on TheBrickHouse.com. The designs this artist uses for his yard are amazing.

From TheBrickHouse.com

Traditional dg path. We had this once in the front yard but it got destroyed during an El Nino event.

From a blog named RockRose, I like that. Drought tolerant plants. Good.

#2 Put the planters back.

Albert wants to put the planters back. He is thinking more of an organic garden type look. Do you think he means like this?

From Houzz
Then I am all in. But I bet Albert means more like the below. Which means watering, pests, weeding, picking, forgetting to water, forgetting to weed, blah-blah-blah, the endless cycle of doom.

Great post on how to build these boxes! This could actually BE our back fence.

#3 Gravel and stepping stones.

Gravel and concrete stepping stones is a common mid-century landscape design that I really like. Usually it is combined with a touch of drought resistant plants. And rocks.
mid-century modern landscape
From an article on landscaping Eichler homes.
mid-century modern landscape
Article on modern landscaping ideas.
mid-century modern landscape
From Houzz, these people have a cool yard.

#4 More Systems Pavers.

Okay, a few years ago, the front yard looked like crap. Long story but it involved a lot of rain and the removal of a 15 foot high child's play set (who puts play sets in the front yard anyway?). So I called System Pavers and they fixed it in two days. Sure it cost some change, but all the anger and hostility in the house vaporized over night. You can see a glimpse of this luscious front patio in a cute family photo with our graduate here:

Alex, me and Albert. They love it when I do this.

So, what do you vote for? Oh yeah, and the budget is honestly, next to nothing.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Karen! I like #1 and #3 a lot too. Albert will push for #2 though.

  2. I really like #2. Have you guys thought about a real garden with herbs, tomatoes, corn, etc? You could wear overalls and a straw hat. It would be fun. :) Nicole

    1. Hi Nicole!!! I know Albert wants #2 even though he says he "likes" #3. We had a real garden before, and that is probably what will happen again.

  3. This gives me some really good ideas. I like elements from #3.

  4. This is reinforced cast of Concrete Mortar which repairs crack to the concrete also it reduces demage from moisture..


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