Ann and Dan. In their element.

This week has been about drywall and paint inside. But outside, landscaping has begun. With a vengeance.

Monday marked the return of Haul'n Otis, and Sonja. Frequent readers will remember previous appearances as they did some of the early demolition of the old walls, then did rough grading. Now they're back to do finish grading.

Dan of DnT is down as well. He and Ann are in their element. Visions have been forming for months in Ann's case and years in Dan's case. With the power of hydraulics, Otis's mastery of the art of BobCat and Sonja's firm hand translating vision into Otis speak; a lot of rock has been moved. 

Mostly it's in the pictures, which as usual don't seem to be really showing what is apparent when looking at things with real eyeballs.

In the early pictures you'll see white paint to define edges or ridges. We have a variety of continental divides as any flowing water gets the crap managed out of it. Where you see a berm looking pile running along somewhere that will be hand worked and a veneer of "A" Mountain rock that you see in piles everywhere will be applied. Where you see depressions or holes, these are retention pools where water will accumulate and be held for awhile. Many plants will be installed in the vicinity of the pools. After a good rain, I suppose those of you lobbying for a pool could go wallow? That kind of feels like a personal decision.

General flow is a flat area behind the dead tree where the rainwater harvesting cistern will live. I have come to learn this is called active rainwater harvesting. Just down from that is the grate we put in the back wall that will be a primary source for what I have also come to learn is called passive rainwater harvesting. There are other sources throughout the landscape to direct water away from the house, but the big flow in back anyway is coming through the wall. That meanders through retention pools and then down to DnTs where the process repeats itself.

At the pergola, an area has been created north of the opening with actual dirt and organic matter for citrus trees. Much discussion has been had on varieties. For the plant weenies, before she departs we will get Sweetie to provide a list of what has been planted. The citrus "grove" is the termination of another passive rainwater harvesting flow coming out of the north side yard.

To the south of the opening is an area for three shade trees to block direct sun. Keeping the pergola an oasis of shade.

Haul'n Otis (henceforth HnO) has pushed "native soil" (aka rocks and dust) to raise the grade against the back wall quite a bit to create some interest and a LOT of planting area.  Also makes the wall disappear. Then the HnO bunch removed quite a bit of the native soil to create a ditch that falls nicely over to DnT's with berms for the series of retention pools. The grade from the pergola falls from another continental divide on the south corner down to the ditch. I'm pretty sure I'll catch hell from The Brain Trust for calling it a ditch, but good enough for now.

Then the grade from this south corner continental divide has been raised so the area from the south corner out from the pergola forms a bowl that directs run-off down into the ditch.

If you look carefully in the pictures, you can kind of see all this. I'm guessing it's a contrast thing, but the grades seem more dramatic with a naked eyeball.

In front. The grade between the courtyard wall and the street has been cut into two terraces. At some point, there will be a "curb cut" to capture run-off from the street and direct it into the lower terrace which is really more of a retention pool. There is a continental divide in the north side yard about where the metal fence will be. To the back of the fence, the run-off goes to the citrus "grove". To the front of the fence, the run-off goes into the upper terrace.

HnO has been working hard to make the driveway less steep. I've resigned myself to a steep driveway... Pulled the Volvo up into it with no issues. Not sure how Ann's Baby Prius would do! In the process, several terraces have been cut into the south side yard which is where we are using all the waste from the original house slab.

Frequent readers may recall the steps and walls we built back in May that got torn-up by the evil gas meter mover people. They're making a comeback. The walls will extend all the way to the street in front.

Inside the courtyards. There will be planting areas along many of the edges. Idea is to keep the planting areas inside the courtyards narrow and do most big plantings outside the walls and have them grow over the wall. Hope is that approach will maximize the room inside for furniture. 

Fountains will go on the north walls of each courtyard. That would be to the left as you look out the front door and to the right as you look out the back door.

Here are the pictures. You will note one picture of Ann moving gravel from where plantings will go inside one of the courtyards. You will further note she is removing said gravel with her favorite new implement, her Barbie Shovel. CtC got it for trench diging for some conduit. He made the mistake of leaving it. Ann will not relinquish her Barbie Shovel.

Also there are some action shots of Dan moving the Quail Manor dirt to the top of his septic tank. Said dirt is also buttressing a berm for his passive rainwater harvesting.

And, I keep forgetting to mention. The house got it's first layer of stucco while I was bleeding out and we were U-Hauling. The final synthetic coat goes on next week, so the color is not final, but the trim and fascia (to my eye) looks WAY WAY WAY mo betta than it did with the stark white Styrofoam.