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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Week-End Projects...

Thanks to everyone for their prayers, cards, and beautiful flowers. They were greatly appreciated and your encouragement was a blessing to all of us.

At our new house there is a lot of white gravel in spaces that could be used for flower beds. Under these layers of rocks is a heavy duty fabric, also known as weed guard, which helps prevent any botanical being from emerging from the earth. It's a form of "waterless landscaping" that is used quite frequently in these dry parts of Texas. But... as you all know, I prefer plants and flowers to rocks and I find this form of landscaping to be very, very... uhmm ... well... just plain ugly.

In my backyard, next to the deck and the brick walk, was such a strip of rock landscaping. The only green stuff there was monkey grass. I had planned on transforming that space into a cute little flowerbed (probably less the monkey grass), but after I had removed all the rocks and then pulled up the weed guard there was a gruesome discovery. I found that the bottom board of the decking was beginning to show signs of decay due to being constantly wet. I then realized that I wouldn't be able to have a flower bed there because watering my plants would destroy my deck. In fact, I was faced with removing as much dirt as possible so that it would not be touching the wood.

What was I going to do now? I couldn't replace all those rocks because it was obvious that they were causing a problem against the wood as well.

I was very upset and terribly disappointed in the situation. The thought of having ~plain dirt~ next to my deck was inconceivable.

All of my free time, that I use for day dreaming and stuff, was then consumed by trying to figure out how to solve 'the problem'.

What could I do with

~less dirt

~a significant slope to the ground

~low decking

and without using that horrible white gravel?

I finally came up with a fantastic idea! It was possibly an idea that was bigger than me and the kids put together, but once I had hatched the notion I was determined to make it work.

I spent hours on the internet searching for information. I visited lots of how-to sites. It seemed like a formidable task.

However, my idea had now become a dream. And I was determined to make it happen.

So... here is my little "Backyard Dream" that the kids and I did in one week-end. Of course this dream has led to another proposition that is much larger and quite a bit more expensive. (Think several thousand dollars here.)

I'm now dreaming of a rather large waterfall with a Koi pond.

*toothy grin*

But it will have to wait quite a while before it comes to fruition. (Like years!)

I have other week-end projects that I have to tackle.

This Saturday?

I have to figure out how to fix Carrie's naturally curly hair for tonight's prom!

We went to a water landscaping company and was able to purchase some heavy duty rubber pond material that would become the bed of our stream. We attached the long edge of the lining that was next to the deck with a strip of 1x2" cedar with galvanized nails.

The water landscaping store had lots of beautiful fountains. There were so many different styles and types.

ALL of them were EXPENSIVE. Some were in the thousands of dollars!

We went to the 'close-out' section and this little fountain was there. It had originally been 5' tall. Due to an accident, it had fallen and broke in half. The base also has a couple of chips on the side. I was able to negotiate a very good price for this 100+ pound section of the fountain. It had originally retailed for $800. I paid a lot less than that. (Think ~very good deal~ here.)

At the end of the stream is a pond. Water is pumped from the pond, up the stream, and to the base of the fountain. There is a diverter in front of the fountain. Part of the water goes up the inside of the fountain. The main volume of the water comes out in front of the fountain. The water in the front of the fountain provides the volume needed for our running stream. Our pump moves 250 gallons per hour (gph).

Parker really seemed to enjoy constructing the stream. He didn't like the digging part at all though.

The only rocks that we bought were the smooth round 'river rock'. We used those rocks to cover the very bottom of the stream and to hide the flexible pipe that moves the water from the pond to the head of the stream and the fountain. There a few rocks that had been collected over the years, such as the lava rock. The rest of the rocks are native stones that we had in the yard and surrounding areas. Some of the limestone rocks are from Mom and Dad's pasture.

I hope that Mom doesn't miss them.


This is looking up the stream at ground level at the very top edge of the pond.

I left the existing monkey grass. I think that it helps to add a "water's edge" feel to the stream.

I really like this fountain. The birds like it too. The goldfinches enjoy drinking from little bubble of water that it makes on the top. Some of the goldfinches cling to the side of the fountain to drink.

However, the other day I saw an amazing sight. A tiny hummingbird took a bath on the top of my fountain. I had never seen a hummingbird take a bath before! It was wonderful!

I'm going to try to grow some Scotch moss here. We'll see what happens. Hopefully it will fill the entire area in with moss.

In the mean time... I have to have an Impatiens there too!

This is looking downstream. There is an old stump that was being used as part of the landscape here at the very end. You can see one of our cats there. The cats don't like to drink water out of their bowl any more. They prefer drinking the water out of the stream now.

I have two bog plants. One is at the bottom of the stream and the other is a papyrus which is in the pond. I also have water lilies in the pond and nine goldfish. The goldfish consist of three calico, three fantailed calico, and three black moors. These guys will eat up any mosquito larvae that may get hatched in the pond. The water from the stream "falls" about three to four inches into the pond. This falling water makes a most pleasant sound to me. The stream and fountain add a light trickling sound as well.

I love to sit on my back porch. I watch the birds and listen to their calls. Now that I have a stream and pond, it just adds so much more to my "little piece of Texas".


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Anonymous Lindsay said...

Just stumbled across your blog today. Nice work on the yard projects. I enjoyed seeing some pictures.

May 03, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger The Paperless Classroom said...

Thanks for dropping by Lindsay.

May 03, 2008 8:37 PM  

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