Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cardinal House :: Yard Work

How would you like to wake up to this view?

It's the vista with the tree's that sold us on the property.

This is the view from our master bedroom and lanai. After a year and a half of construction we finally have grass, a patio and the garden beds are settling in for the winter.

When we first got the house the property was really over-grown. Many of the tree's were suffering because the plantings were growing into each other. So while we waited for approvals to build we cleared the property of a multitude of different pavers, pathways, a poorly built water feature and plants.
Knowing that the construction process would mean that many of the healthy plants would be destroyed, I decided to clear the garden beds myself - plant by plant. There were several hundred annual plants - no exaggeration. I felt like I dug halfway across the country. After I moved the plants I wanted to keep into newly cleared garden beds, friends and family stopped by with containers and took the surplus of plants for their gardens. Many of the plants went to a garden club for an annual fund raising sale.
The garden was repetitious, so I retained some of the main features and planned for new garden beds with more variety. The implementation of the new garden beds is stage one, spring 2015 is when the real fun begins.


Now the vista of the tree's is clear to see. We've raised the canopy on the tree's so they can breath and get water when it rains. The property was graded and the new grass just received it's first cut this week - it looks fabulous.

This is pretty much the same vantage point as the before picture.

 If you live anywhere in the Southern Ontario region take note of the Sheridan Nurseries Farm Sale {Georgetown location}. It is held each year the weekend before Thanksgiving. When I received an email notification we had just finished the garden beds and were hoping to get some of the plantings in before winter. We went to the sale with the thought that we might find something - boy did we underestimate this one.
Richard and I arrived at the sale just as the skies opened up, it poured rain but I didn't care. I was like a kid in a candy store. We bought ALL of our yew hedges {42 of them}, four large cedar tree's, four small cedar tree's, multiple deciduous bushes, 30 mini boxwood, and one large pine tree. HUGE discount. And in the spring I know that Sheridan will have the flowering plants we are looking to add to the garden.

I planted all but two of the tree's myself, leaving the heavier tree's to the landscape crew. It makes me so happy to plant in the garden....... to garden in general. I'm a happy camper. And while it pains me to put the garden to bed for the winter, I am glad that I could get so much of the existing plantings moved around and the new plants in before the snow flies.

All lined up and waiting for me .............

It was important to have plantings that offered winter interest. The yews, cedars and pine are going to enhance the landscape of the garden all year round.

The new grass hadn't been cut yet in this photo. 18 yew plants hug the garden edge along the lanai.

Many of the plants in the side/back garden beds have lost their leaves, but they will help fill the garden in springtime.

The grey cobble style brick patio will feature the outdoor table, chairs and possibly a patio umbrella with an extended arm in the summer. The table is from Restoration Hardware - metal base with an old wood top; for the winter it will be kept up on the covered lanai. The chairs are vintage wooden folding chairs that we bought at a local antique market {Aberfoyle}. We will likely need to get some other chairs to work with the table as well, I'm imagining that some of the elders in our family will not appreciate sitting for too long on the folding chairs at a barbeque.

our outdoor table and chairs

the look we are going for - obviously we need to spill a bit of wine on our table

We purchased about a dozen of the faux wood resin Adirondack chairs in charcoal. Inexpensive, lightweight, easy to stack, can stay out in the rain or winter and pretty comfortable to sit in. The chairs have already been dragged from spot to spot in the yard and lanai, so they are working for our needs.

The main patio sits about 10 feet off of the lanai edge in the middle of the grass area. This will allow us to enjoy barbeque dinners with the beauty of the garden all around us. The OAK pavers in Collonade, Greyfield were used for the main patio, the barbeque cooking patio, the walkways and the edging on the driveway. They have a light grey permeable sand between and the bricks feature a scratched finish with a tumbled edge.
The benefit to using the pavers for our main walkway is that we could have the grading gently slope to the driveway level without putting in steps or using concrete. This was very important for us in the planning as we have several elders in our family who use walkers - it makes it much more accessible without steps.


It was difficult to walk anywhere on the property without being assaulted by a tree sticking out or overgrown vines. The picture above is the side of the house before - gotta love the heater for a hot tub that hadn't worked in years.

And now........

the new walkway just installed

looking into the yard

The window wells feature the same brick, the black hoses sticking up are for the irrigation system heads. The garden beds against the house will have clematis planted in the spring which will camouflage the high brick wall at the garage area.

something like this at the side of the house to hold the clematis in place

There was a yard shed at the back of the property that we had planned to take down and re-construct. The shed had lived it's life and with a wooden floor we were aware that there were other things living underneath the shed. A poured concrete base with a new structure a'la bunkie style was on the plans. I was designing the 'byrd house' {think Cardinal House} that would serve as a retreat, place to play and the side porch with overhang would offer a covered area for barbecuing.
Of course I had the colours picked out and the decor in my head........ grey on the outside and everything white inside. A daybed with big cushions to lie about on, chippy paint salvage pieces - a great spot for Richard to lie down with his book {a'la snooze} or for me to try my hand at painting.

something like this was in the plans.

So down she came. According to the crew the shed had about 200 nails and four layers on the roof - the bobcat was put into action to break it apart. And yes, there were things underneath - no longer living. I have a gruesome picture of a dead skunk - truly creepy. And pepe le pew was joined by a big raccoon. If the ugly shed wasn't enough of a reason to rip it all down, the critter cemetery was. I stayed back from the mess and let the crew handle it all. Ugh!

Once the shed was down we saw the opportunity and view with the open space. The area is now filled with grass, tree's and a garden bed, all so much more inviting. So the large tree from the Sheridan sale has been settled in the corner with an abundance of space around her for growth. And of course, I have plans for some prettiness in the garden beds.

The view is changing every day with the season and the development of the yard. I've noticed that both Richard and I stop and drink in the pretty vista when we pass by the windows.  I know we can both imagine all of the fun we will have here with our family and friends, and the quiet times - just the two of us alone.

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