This Japanese Garden project was originally featured on my previous blog, in 2005. I have included it here, because it was a great learning experience.
***I Have an Idea***
I have a decent sized side-yard that isn't particularly usable, so I'm turning it into a Japanese garden.
Our house faces a busy street and while the backyard is quiet, the side yard is somewhat loud. The main purpose of the Japanese garden is to utilize a wasted space and create a beautiful view through the French doors in the master bedroom.
The Japanese garden will hopefully end up with statuary, a "flowerpot pond", grass, soft moss, a walkway, a bamboo trellis and Asian-style trees. It will be as long as the house. Because our property slopes at a 15% grade, I'm having a retaining wall constructed so that the Japanese garden is even with the foundation of our house. It's around 15x45 feet.
First, I will have a retaining wall built. Then the space will have to be leveled out and clean soil will be brought in. I will add grass, 1 or 2 Japanese Maples, potted bamboo, Asian grasses and a "dry creekbed" which is an Asian garden design element. I may have a palm tree planted, but I don't know yet. I have also already purchased some Asian statuary; a Buddha and lantern.
***Researching and Planning***
After getting $6,000 quotes from two different landscapers for a couple versions of my Japanese Garden, I quit obsessing. It's not going to happen. But I'm stubborn. And my yard looks like a wasteland.
I decided to reevaluate my project and rather than rely on landscapers and I called for reinforcements. My dad has every power tool in the universe and he makes retaining walls, gardens, greenhouse foundations and patios. He's retired and always working on something. I figured that because he is so busy, he wouldn't have time to help me with my project, but at least he could offer advice.
I showed him some of my obsessively mapped plans. He made my retaining wall and Japanese garden sound like a weekend project and he and his wife offered to help me build it. Renewed Vigor!!
So, I called around to get the blocks I want and gave my measurements.
If I can have the blocks when I want them (in 2 weeks) it means that this weekend I have to: deconstruct the existing deck on the side-yard, remove the rest of the red brick patio, remove the fence where the new wall will go and create a fencing solution for my dog, since she's losing her back yard for a bit.
I can't get no sleep. I'm such a nerd I just think about my garden all the time.
I already asked my soccer pals if they would help my with this project. I offered pizza and beer. I feel bad asking them, but if they don't want to come, they don't have to. If they do come they will get the pleasure that comes from starting and completing a substantial project in two days. Plus, I will be forever in their debt. And there's the pizza and beer.
I have to remember to ask them to bring tools. Shovels, work gloves... See? I'm obsessed! I could write on this all night. But then, I wouldn't get to dream.
My 24 pieces of Trex wood/plastic composite were delivered today in the center of the driveway; long, heavy and almost $40 per board!
It took me 30 minutes to move them from the driveway to the backyard. The pieces are 12 feet long and weigh quite a bit. I moved them at 10 pm when I realized that the block (for the retaining wall) delivery guys wouldn't be able to access the backyard if the Trex was in the driveway. The blocks come tomorrow.
I don't remember if I mentioned this already and I'm too lazy to check my posts, but when we removed the 2x4's from the surface of our slimy deck, the wood foundation was in great condition. We decided to resurface the deck with something that will last until the end of time.
The news about my Trex is not blog-worthy in itself, but it is definitely a small step that will lead to the completion of my side-yard utopia.
I had my Japanese Garden work party!
I started in the yard at sun-up on Saturday and called it a weekend on Sunday night when all my muscles gave out. My friends came around noon on Saturday and stayed until about 4 pm Saturday. My hubby, dad and I worked alone on Sunday. Somehow, I even played soccer at 8 pm on Saturday.
We had quite a job to do. Was the worst part having to move bricks so heavy that I physically could not move some of them, digging for days, herking large rocks, asking people to help me, baking the Costco pizza, or trying to get the key out of my dad's truck ignition?
Was it worth it?? OF COURSE!! And the "garden" looks awesome. It has no plants yet, so it's mostly resembling a Zen garden.
Most importantly, thanks to my friends for giving up their Saturday and digging, lifting and sweating it out in my yard. THANKS to my dad Jeff, my hubby B, Scott and Eric, Maren and Garrett and Cedric. No thanks to Muppet who kept barking at us. Thanks also to Elaine for helping me stage the garden when all the dirt had been pushed around, and for digging around a bit herself! I never, ever could have done this without you guys!! THANK YOU!!!
Hauling bricks is no easy task. We went through 2 wheelbarrow tires and ended using a solid rubber tired wheelbarrow... and even that was squished when the bucket was full.
We unearthed a copper pipe to and from nowhere. Is that why they say call before you dig? Much to our surprise, a huge rock was completely buried next to the pipe.
It was a work party! (I couldn't stop smiling. My dream was coming true!)
On Tuesday I was finally able to wash the yard down and clean off the new deck. Everything was covered in dirt, sand and cement dust, since we had to cut some of the bricks. I added my funny little statues, a couple potted plants and my welcome mat.
We weren't able to finish the new fence because we had some logistics issues. We have since figured it out, but now the bamboo panels are on back-order. We're waiting for the fencing and the last 5 pieces of Trex deck wood composite.
My next step (after these odds/ends are completed) is to bring some clean, new dirt in and start planting. I will have a dirty summer and I'm looking forward to it.
Quick updates charting my novice and experimental, gardening adventures at home.
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