It’s been almost a year since we bought our first house, the ranch. If this ownership has taught me anything, is the importance of patience. Every project has a long period of gathering the inspiration, followed by weeks of researching, planning, and preparation. Naturally lack of an acceptance for delay, I am slowly learning to
enjoy tolerate the process of creating without getting upset about the unwanted holdup. This is especially important now we got into multi-year gardening and outdoor projects.
Developing A Water-wise Garden
We are in the middle of a big planning phase for the new fence and the second wave of planting, which means there is less to show for on the blog. We are blessed with a big open yard, and intend to keep it that way for the grand appearance and the dogs’ pleasure. However, the summer drought and intense UV light at the mile high are hard to combat. The sunny portions of our lawn require lots of water and still look too thin to be pretty.
Left: shaded turf. Right: turf in sunny spots.
Our solution to a naturally occurring problem is to go with what the nature wants – Xeriscape, aka water-wise gardens. We have imported native and drought-resistant perennials for the most sunny spot in the yard. With time we hope to replace all the unshaded turf with perennial beds and vegetable gardens.
We are entering a year of significant drought here in Colorado. To reduce the need for irrigation, we imported yards of mulch. Four inches of wood chips really cut down the need for water. And thanks to our city, all the wood chips are free through our city’s tree recycle program.
In addition to the mulch we laid down drip lines for all the garden beds. We chose drip emitters for sparse planting such as perennial flower beds and potato patch, and soaking hoses for densely packed vegetable gardens.
The perennial bed I:
The perennial bed II:
And veggie gardens:
Most of the emitters are one gallon per hour type. With the help of mulch, we only need to water about a hour each time and twice a week to keep everything happy and growing.
Adding More Shade with New Trees
New fruit trees are expected to create more shaded area along the eastern fence in upcoming years, and they are surely getting bigger each day! I am searching for climbing roses as the perfect back drop. This is what I had in mind:
In addition, we are cleaning the side fence to make room for future evergreen trees, which will provide much needed year-around privacy and color.
What we have here now are elm trees, which are practically weeds in Colorado. The new evergreen hedge will not only block neighbor’s broken fence and occasional basketballs coming our way, but also provide an elegance backdrop for a future outdoor sitting area.
Over the long weekend, we have already removed the middle tree, which significantly opened up the space.
Before tree removal
Cutting trees are very labor intensive due to how much post processing it involves. It only took half an hour of cutting down one tree, but we spent hours dissecting the branches from the main trunk and cutting the trunk into firewood.
Another cool byproduct from the tree cutting is wood chips. I ran all the small branches and leafy portion through our wood-chipper, which generated enough mulch for covering the bare spot next to the shed. I am a big fan of the “Chop and Drop” and having this wood chipper allows me to speed up the process and completely eliminate yard waste.
The same area after
The Last Indoor Project (for a while)
At this point, all the upcoming garden projects are contingent on the completion of the fence. With graduation coming up and my recent travels, it will be another few weeks before we can tackle the fence together. You bet the anticipation is killing me. At the mean time, I keep my mind occupied with painting the entire main floor living space (living room + office + bedroom) including the ceilings, a step we’ve been waiting to take since wrapping up the office renovation.
Our walls are textured which we do not love. Slav spent all his free time last week and this week to smooth the wall texture and patch all the nail holes, big and small.
The wall on the left is already smoothed and you can see a clear difference from the textured wall on the right. Once Slav finishes smoothing the texture, everything will get a light sanding and a fresh coat of paint. Paint preparation is always the slowest step of renovation, but so essential for the soft and cloud-white effect we are craving for. A Chinese proverb says it all, “sharpening the axes does not hinder chopping the wood.” True for both indoor and garden projects!