Archive for the ‘landscape’ Category

Side Yard

Monday, June 7th, 2010

With my new found welding powers I am psyched to start welding up a fire pit, edging, shade structure and a planter for the side yard. Ambitious yes. Impossible? Maybe. I’m going to start with the fire pit and go from there.

Unfortunately the summer heat that has finally hit Hemet and with it I’ve started to wonder how we can add a small cheap pool to The Brick House. A tiny pool, just big enough to get wet and cool down in but not ambitious enough to need to meet codes and require professional installation. My sister suggested this puffy thing, but while we were in Joshua Tree last week I saw a really amazing DIY galvanized livestock tank pool. A similar version can be seen here at Waldorf Modern.

I was never really happy with what we had going on in the landscaping of the side yard, so I redesigned around the idea of installing a little DIY livestock tank pool.

I visited my local livestock supply and found that they had a 10′ and an 8′ version of the round tank.

The 8′ version is $374 and the 10′ is $560. Ouch, pricey. Delivery is only $10 though! Our house is literally right around the corner from this place and yeah, it can be a little rural around these parts. When I called the other 15 or so livestock supplies in a 50 mile radius I found that this local place was the only one that stocked a 10′ version, and surprisingly, had the best price.

Sorry for the crappy iPhone pics.

I also went to the local pool supply place to check out pumps/filters. I found this small one for about $50, but it seems like a pretty temporary solution and the filters would need to be changed every two weeks. At $10 a pop, that seems like some pricey maintenance. This Hayward unit is $269 and the filter needs to be changed yearly. This more expensive unit seems like a bit of overkill for the size of the pool. I want something in the middle, something to filter 750 gallons easily and that can be installed on a pretty permanent bases. I was also thinking of doing this whole pool with salt water instead of worrying about chemicals and such.

Needless to say the pool store workers though I was a fucking idiot. I felt like one. I’m not sure how to solve the filtration / salt water / pump situation.

If this pool idea somehow works out then we would adjust the rest of the landscape. I want to throw down pea gravel in a big L shape over a base of decomposed granite. I also want to add a Palo Verde tree with a hot rolled steel ring around the base to echo the pool shape and a big cactus in the back. Then we would use railroad ties as a stepping pathway to the pool. I found this great image of a railroad tie driveway that inspired the idea but have totally lost it. Damn you internet!

This is what it would look like when you are floating comfortably in the pool. We could get a couple of loungers to relax and sun bath nude on. No tan lines! Horrified neighbors!

We would still have a sun shade over the pool to keep it all cool and shady and the masonry wall for privacy.

I think a small pool would be really great and usable thing to have out here in the desert. It’s hot like 75% of the year and we’ve been just so desperate to take a cool dip for the last few years. So for $500 – $700 we could probably build this thing. Is it worth it? Or do we go the ugly doughboy route?

Here are some tank pool images I found over the week. I totally didn’t keep track of where I found them at because I’m a terrible blogger. I haven’t been able to track down a whole lot if info around on how to build one of these things…

That green one looks horrifying. But its got a slide!

Stupid idea or brilliant? I can’t tell yet. There is a whole lot of potential for failure.

Shade Sail

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Now that the house is getting painted and the exterior is slowly coming together I’ve started to think (once again) about shade sails. While the above installation is not the most glamorous example of a shade sail, the structure and design is pretty similar to what I’m considering installing in our side yard.

Residential applications are a little less industrial and hazardous looking…

Our side yard takes a beating during the long summer days and could use a bit of relief from the desert sun. If we create a little outdoor dining / ping pong recreation area I’d like to alleviate some of that intense heat with a pair of rectangular gray sun shades that are attached to the eaves of the house and then strung out and fastened to three large metal poles cemented into the ground.

Instant shade.

Here is a mock-up in Sketchup of what I’m sort of thinking :

I’ve been looking around at shade sail manufacturers and found Tenshon whose 9′ x 14′ shade might just work perfectly in grey. At $169.00 each they are not totally unreasonably priced.

Here are some examples of Tenshon shade sails :

I haven’t been as impressed with the quality, pricing and color options (as well as size customization) at other manufacturers, but I’m still looking around.

It’s probably premature to start really planing this project (but I just love to plan and then get depressed waiting to do it for real) so my question for you is:

Has anyone installed a sun shade? Any tips or things to be weary of? Is this look dated or is it awesome?


Landscape Sketchup

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

By the powers of Sketchup! Make It So!

Well, I’m no landscape designer (obviously) but there are a few rules in how we need to approach this whole desert landscaping business – hopefully moving things along with the The Year of the Exterior.

1. Drought Tolerant Plantings (no grass, no horsetail reed, no Papyrus, nothing tropical…i.e. all the things I like.)

2. Simple to maintain (lots o’hardscape)

3. Modern, clean and cost effective (Use one thing and repeat repeat repeat for impact and cohesion. I’m cheap!)

The idea with the front yard is to use a combination of barrel cactus, blue fescue, mexican feathergrass, ocotillo with a palo verde tree thrown in. That big middle rectangular lump is supposed to be a lawn of mounding “blue fescue” but the stupid 2-D bush thing won’t stay put, and it’s not actually fescue at all. I’m having a hard time finding the right plants in the Sketchup 3-D warehouse.

Decomposed granite will function as most of the ground cover with insets of light gray or white pea gravel under the fescue, the palo verde tree as well as in the side yard area. Fun plans for that to come…

For the hardscape I want at least three big boulders and would like to pour rectangular concrete steps from the front door to the sidewalk. We also are planning to build a masonry wall on the right side of the house and along the neighbors property to replace all the nasty fence thing that is happening there now.

Here is plan view of the Brick House compound where you can see the insets of gravel on the DG.

I think kangaroo paw will line the side of the driveway, past the eventual “gate”, to soften up and disguise the orange fence a bit.

The “gate” I’m thinking about building is based on this gate design from Blake Dollahite.

Hog panels! I’m probably going to need to learn how to weld.

We also need to rebuild a more aesthetically pleasing mailbox.

So many big plans, so little money (and skill).

First things first. Paint the house. It’s totally going to happen! And soon.