Monday, May 25, 2015

House Stuff - The Wall

When we bought the house it was gorgeous on the inside but the outside was a little lacking. Like a lot of houses here it was just plopped down on desert which looks like a lunar landscape. Many houses have courtyards with high view blocking walls and many have low walls you can sit and still see over. It gives a little bit of privacy and integrates the house into the landscape a little more. We wanted a low wall we could see over so we could see rabbits and coyotes and the horses. I want to do some gardening which is a challenge here with mice, kangaroo rats, rabbits, jackrabbits, horses, coyotes etc etc. Walls won't keep everything out but at least are a deterrent. Everything is hungry here and looking for shelter. Here are some before photos of the house when we bought it in December.

You can see it was flat flat flat with nothing on it. Boring. Even the side courtyard had dirt flat up to the stucco. I set about contouring the whole thing to get some variation, create rain collecting swales and create planting areas. I am pretty good at getting a "big idea" in my head and then setting about doing it changing things as I go along. I may start something and realize the natural land requires something a little different. Once I kind of figured out where stuff should be and where the views were I started thinking about a wall. I did NOT want a boring half-circle like everybody else has or a boxy squarish space. I wanted organic and flowing.

Here is what I ended up doing...the first shot shows the side courtyard...I bermed up the dirt and made a planting bed, made a rock swale and path.
This was before the color coat was put on the wall. I shows the new view from the front with the flagstone patio almost done.

A bird enjoying the bird/rabbit room of the courtyard...

I have to take some better photos but this gives you an idea. I added a flagstone patio. I contoured the land so I could make an upper and lower area. The wall has a lot of nice curves in it so I could create the bench "sunset viewing" room, the rabbit room (holes in the bottom that rabbits and scaled quail and everyone uses...) doubles as a bird room and out the front the wall has a gap where a sculpture will go so we can still see the ground which is where the action is! The built in bench is nice, the flagstone  turned out well (difficult and I will never do it again) and around the corner is where the straw bales for veggie gardening are but it will be a chicken area next spring! The wall is higher on that side since the neighbor's house is closest on that side and the wind comes from that direction a lot. We also had a shade structure built but that is another post. Now I get to dig some more to make the dry river a little deeper..make an overflow pipe for it, buy and move more rock (river rock), have the sculpture built, plant plants, figure out how to irrigate, and I started working. At least the job only goes until August and gardening can go through November! So that's a quick update on house stuff! Not so lunar anymore and once I get some plants in it'll be much better! Here is a rugosa rose I planted today.
Horses can reach over and get a drink or eat the quail block (or I can feed them Dobbins treats from on the bench)
Stuff in progress...