Archive for the ‘landscape’ Category

SIDE YARD

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Knocked down all the knee-high weeds but everything is still a horrid mess.

Being full on freaky for furniture, I wanted to check out how the table looked in the side yard (and at least free up some storage space). I kind of feel like it might be too nice to leave out here…but maybe that’s all the ghetto looking surroundings working their magical guilt.

The ground is super uneven and it’ll definitely be a long time before that final “look” is achieved. We still have a bunch of stuff to do to get this area looking and functioning like that fancy virtually landscaped yard.

Wait? But what things?!

Things like this:

SIDE YARD TO DO

+ Rototill soil
+ Level/grade dirt
+ Drip irrigation
+ Plumb/filter pool
+ Run electrical
+ Weed barrier
+ Weld metal edging
+ Decomposed granite
+ Concrete paver walkway
+ Stain/seal fence
+ Plants
+ Tree
+ Lighting

Look at that beat up table top. This thing was ridden hard and put away wet. The teak will do well outdoors though.

I’ve got a ghetto tarp covering up the table to protect it from the harsh sun for now, but it still needs a nice weather resistant cover to keep it from getting too abused. At least I know rain won’t be an issue. Thank you wicked dry desert climate!

+++++

In other unrelated thoughts and boring stuff:

I’ve been working on the show with Laure again, as well as tirelessly on the shop and other sneaky ventures. Summer time means that it’s 8,000 degrees in the desert and working on the house is a physically torturous and sweaty nightmare. Admittedly, I’ve been phoning shit in around this old blog as of late, but in all honesty, I just got nothing. No great ideas, no fun content, no big projects I can share. I’m exhausted and totally uninspired and the house is a disaster pit that I just awkwardly walk around while trying to ignore random piles of laundry.

Otherwise, it seems that I’ve been straying away from blogs and spending more time on twitter and instagram and other micro-blogging (I hate myself for even typing that) formats which are easily accessed on my phone. As I’m traveling more and spending less and less time at a computer, these little venues feel like an immediately accessible option and are seemingly where more and faster interaction is taking place.

So, to you – you fine summer loving and attractive folks – here are a few things I’ve been asking around about:

How do you deal with crappy uninspired creative lulls?

Have you noticed a shift in the way peeps are interacting with blogs and the blogging community (please punch me for writing blogging community)?

Anyone feeling slightly burnt out? Please say it’s not just me feeling completely cray-cray crazy lately.

TABLE

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Somehow between new jobs, new endeavors, busy schedules, rain, blazing heat, more rain, hotter blazing heat, low funds and neighbors breaking the lawnmower…we neglected the side yard. Now it is a beautiful field of knee high sun-bleached weeds.

So embarrassing.

With summer here and outdoor activities gearing up, I wanted to whip the side yard into shape for entertaining + swimming. Besides the weeds, a major obstacle of having folks over for outdoor shenanigans is the lack of a decently sized dining table. Guests tend to sort of wander around with their plates and sadly huddle around the beat down Ikea Docksta table. I’ve casually looked around for a big ‘ol rectangular dining table, but hadn’t found anything that was quite right or quite cheap enough. Of course, I then imagined it’d be a fantastic idea to build a DIY outdoor dining table that looked something like THIS ONE used for planning out the design of the side yard.

As with many of my other “imagined” projects, I put it off and suddenly realized it was already ‘effing June. Of all the months, this is the month for outdoor parties. After June it gets waaaayyy too hot to even live here, let alone make company hang out outside.

So. Quick table solution? Craigslist? Yes?

Sorry for the bad images, but these were the CL ad pictures that piqued my interest. I saw this “dining table” listed at an insanely low price and thought it looked uncannily similar to my reference table. Located only four miles from the house, it was kind of a given to go see it.

Well, we went Friday night and tried to see the table (in the dark) while it was sitting on a virtually inaccessible trailer and blocked by a big ugly credenza. Ultimately we couldn’t get a good look, but for $25 it seemed like no big deal to just buy it and throw it in the truck. It was for outside, I mean, why really worry all hard?

The next day (in the daylight) I got my first real look at the thing.

While in rough shape, it was MUCH more awesome than I had initially thought. It had a great simple design and the construction was so very nice…although, there was some kookiness…

For instance, the entire table top was shifted to one side. So, one side had an overhang of six inches while the other was almost flush with the base. Which was so WEIRD. Even the trestle support was centered with the top and not the base. Which was so much WEIRDER. I suppose it might originally have been a desk? Or work area type thing? It definitely wasn’t a dining table.

Unfortunately, the top and legs had a considerable amount of damage. Lots of deep scratches, water damage, weird stains. Pretty much the trifecta of crappy damages you don’t want to see.

But it was teak!

And fantastic!

It seemed a simple fix to take the top off and center it on the base to create a more dining style table. As for the off-center trestle support? I hoped it wouldn’t be a big deal once there were chairs, plus who really notices trestles anyways?

No one who wants to eat dinner. That’s for sure.

I flipped the table over to remove and remount the base and…

BOOM.

Hidden on an interior support was a stamp and a tag. This thing was Danish and made by H.P. Hansen and vintage and uh oh.

CRAPFINGERS.

Suddenly I wasn’t so confident about screwing around with the design and using this as an outside table. This table had survived for decades before I considered finagling around with it. It’s solid teak and has provenance and is an unusual design – but it is also so very awkward as well.

Is it a desk? A table? It’s not a classic or rare or highly desirable piece.

Ultimately, this thing was just so very fucked up.

The damage was such that I knew I couldn’t fix it completely; I could make things better, but the rough spots would never truly disappear. Choice-wise, I could either sell this surprise but damaged discovery (since I couldn’t use it for anything besides an outdoor table) or I could keep it, fix it up as much as possible and then own a really nice outdoor teak table that gets it’s own special weather resistant cover.

Frankly, in the end, I didn’t feel comfortable selling something that was in such bad shape. It didn’t seem worth the shipping and time and possibility of a buyer getting really upset over condition issues.

So. Nice outdoor teak table? Yes?

Once decided, I removed the top and centered the base. The trestle support is still off-center, but it didn’t seem worth removing to only have weird patched holes and will mostly be blocked by chairs AND SHALL BE IGNORED.

After adjusting the base and tightening up all the bolts, the table got my full restorative treatment. There are still scratches, deep gouges, major color inconsistencies and stains from what I imagine were markers – like a kid used to sit and draw here and the ink leaked through.

BEFORE

AFTER

Not so bad. Not bad at all.

For $25, some hours of labor and a slight flesh wound, it looks like a much nicer table than I should have sitting outside.

I have always planned on pairing the exterior table with my set of Bertoia chairs. Now these roughed up wire suckers are looking super janky next to the shiny restored table.

The set of Bertoias need full on restoration (the white coating around the wire has chipped and come off in big hunks). Powder coating is the more expensive and better option, but maybe a good exterior spray paint will get them through awhile longer and protect the metal until we can afford to fully restore.

Now to just get the side yard to be a little more inhabitable. That’s going to be some filthy, hot, backbreaking work. Better get the pool plumbing installed for sweet watery relief…but that will also be filthy, hot, backbreaking work. Clearly this is why the side yard was so casually ignored and fell into ruin.

Must not be a lazy jerkhole. Must get side yard fixed up.

Landscape

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The house is mostly a blank slate when it comes to fixing up the landscaping, well, except for the spring time weed “lawn” that shall be pulverized. Though the plan is to do everything in stages as budget and weather and will power permit, I have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the scale of the project. This will be a massive undertaking requiring oodles of hardcore filthy labor and serious cash. My brain refuses to acknowledge how long this project will drag out (years, likely) or how many new skills are needing learning or that the future holds face to face dealings with nests of earwigs, feral cat crap and other horrifying surprises lurking in the dirt.

Thankfully, I’ve been working with the talented and soothing (and award winning) Ryan Prange of Falling Waters Landscape fame to help quell my anxiety and give the low down on drought tolerant low maintenance landscaping. We’ve whittled out my landscape needs (cheap, low maintenance, desert modern, neighborhood appropriate, water friendly) and he’s been pulling together some design recommendations for plantings.

In response to the layouts and ideas Ryan’s been sending over, I’ve been screwing around with SketchUp to flesh out the landscape.

Admittedly, the free version of SketchUp’s plant selection sucks. The program also goes wacky with the 2-D face me plants which wander out of place as the viewing angle shifts – not just a little out of place, but jumping 10 plus feet out of their plant “zone”.

These renderings are supposed to include a bunch more feather grass or rush or grassy bush type things to help fill out the blanker areas. Putting the right amount of plants in the model causes it to start resembling very sloppy and confusing photoshopping. The pared down renderings do illustrate basic layout of the major plantings and hardscape elements which are still getting fiddled around with and finalized.

In terms of making this stuff physically happen (without hiring contractors and workers) I need to learn some new skills like pouring and finishing concrete. Initially, concrete seems messy and hard and fits neatly in my frustrating projects that I suck at category. I also want to figure out how to install drip irrigation and exterior lighting. Sexy and thrilling projects like those will need some in-depth research, which is is fantastic, since there is nothing more exhilarating than researching piping or timers or whatever.

The neglected side yard needs some attention and extreme weed annihilation. The more obvious question though – who the hell installs a spigot like that? Extend that sucker over one foot to the right and out one foot please. Perfect. Logical. Extra functional.

We picked up the ridiculous blue spa cover at the local thrift store for a couple of dollars.  The cover is a few feet wider than required, so it’s rocking a stylish droop and devil may care attitude whilst keeping leaves out of the empty tank. Trust that I know it’s looking kind of ghetto.

Still working out the plan of attack in the side yard, but the idea is to keep it simple and add an eating area. We need to rip out the brick planter and install hot rolled steel edging, pour some concrete pavers, plumb the pool, build a deck, stain the fence, grade the yard, throw decomposed granite everywhere, plant many plants, build a table, install lighting and then done? Maybe? This is going to take years.

Above are a few of the design options Ryan has been sending my way. I’ve been picking and choosing ideas and incorporating a little of each into the finalized plan, which shocker, might ultimately change as we dive into the nitty gritty of finances and skill levels and what stuff actually looks in real life.

Landscaping. You soul crushing monster.

The big sale will hopefully raise funds to help get us going on some projects. I can’t wait for the exterior to shape up a bit and be usable.

Also, if you have a landscaping project in need of some help, design, project management or otherwise, give Ryan & Falling Waters Landscape a shout. He’s good people, with a great eye and super easy to work with personality. I might know, because admittedly, I’m a demanding she-beast with a highly specific design sensibility who worries that it’s not as easy to switch out trees as it is sofas. Then again, I don’t have to sit on trees and constantly look at and criticize them.

Should be fine, right? Right?! RIGHT. We are nowhere near ready to plant trees.