Archive for the ‘sketchup’ Category


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.

Bar Top

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

The breezeway between our side yard, the house and the garage has this funky little pony wall that was cut down at some point. The original layout of the breezeway is a bit of a mystery, but I believe the entire area used to be enclosed.

See? Someone just hacked it down. I’ve considered various options for making this area useful and have come to one conclusion.

Bar time. Hello.

Yeah, this is looking like a party house now.

My idea is to source a ten foot slab and then secure it to a frame bolted to the brick pony wall with a steel pipe installed in the right corner for support. I am slab crazy. Have a problem? Throw a slab at it.

Easy enough, right? Maybe…

If it all goes horribly awry, I’ll probably just make a top with some long redwood slats in a frame of 1×2’s or get super nuts and weld up a metal top.

Front Fence

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

After we rehabbed the side yard fence I started to consider what could be done about the ugly broken down fences in the front yard. Unfortunately, these are not salvageable and whatever design is chosen it needs to be sympathetic to the slatted redwood screen, provide privacy, be easily DIY’d and be cheap.

While perusing RO/LU’s landscaping projects I stumbled on a fence idea that I enjoyed very much. It appears that they used 6×6″ posts that are held in place by 3/4″ steel rods with a spacer between. The things I love about this?

-No ugly side.
-Steel doesn’t rot.
-Easy to build. (I think).

This idea sort of fits all my criteria and could be adapted for the 16′ run on the side of the house, as well as a division between the cat neighbor and us. Hooray. Problem solved? Right?

Um. NO.

So, 6×6″ redwood is not what I would call standard in any way. I called around and got a quote for $126 for ONE ten footer. YIKES. Seeing as I needed 22, that’s almost 3K in just wood for one section of fence. No thanks.

Here are my three fence design ideas. Floating in spaaaacccceeee.

6×6″ option. I love you. You will not happen, unless someone has a clever idea about where to get 6×6″ redwood for cheap.

4×4″ option. Hmmmm. I am not loving you. I think you are too busy and I like the beefy of the 6×6″. You need 32 4×4″ posts plus 1/2″ spacers. You will cost something like $300.

1×12″ option. You were my very first idea. I liked you, I just did not like that you had an ugly side.

You need five 4×4″ posts to keep you in place and then they are all naked for the world to see. I got some quotes on you and you will be about $300 in materials.

What do you guys think? Remember, from our backyard we will see this:

Plus you will be really close to the fence while lounging in the stock tank pool. Also, we need privacy for swim time.

And the front will be important since it dictates the little side fence and will be the backdrop for our minimal landscaping and we got to show off that sexy sail.

Modern fences. Why must you be so complicated?