Privacy Fence

A project we got done last fall was putting in a privacy fence – something I have wanted since we closed on the house. Well, five years later that dream finally came true! Not only does it provide more privacy, but we feel like we really expanded our possibilities for the garden. Until now our border consisted of English Ivey overtaking every possible corner. Now we can really get into planting more bushes and backdrop plants.

Speaking of English Ivey, tearing that stuff out was a whole task in itself. One that we had really been dreading! So when we got a fence estimated that included tearing it out we were really relieved. We obviously got our money’s worth too, because the company was working on it a bit longer than they had expected. I believe they commented that this was one of the hardest project’s they’d done. I guess they’re more accustomed to doing business in the ‘burbs where they don’t know what old landscaping looks like. (Ok, admittedly our English Ivey is more invasive than “landscaping,” but ya know.)

Check out some of these before and after photos:




Driveway view:



South facing view:



Looking back at the house:



Let the planting fun begin!

Posted in Gardening, Photos, Westview Bungalow | Tagged , | Comments Off on Privacy Fence

General Updates

Alright, so we’ve worked on a few projects over the last couple of weeks. And with this rollercoaster weather it gave us a nice variety of things to do.

Two weeks ago when it was snowing we stripped some more paint. Patrick worked on the last bit of dining room base molding and I worked on some detail by the kitchen door. I think with Patrick finishing the base molding the only large surface painted areas remaining are the fire place mantle and the coffered ceilings. All the other work will be the painstaking detail pieces.

Dining room paint stripping

Then last weekend we had outstanding weather topping off at somewhere around 80F that made it ideal for some outside projects. For that matter it was almost getting too hot to work! I was finally able to tackle some of the leaves remaining from fall. Some people are really good about removing those as soon as they hit the ground. I’m the lazy one that waits to make sure that every last leaf has fallen before I bother removing any of them. One of my excuses is that they act as a protective winter blanket like mulch does, which is why I wasn’t removing them before. ;-) So now I’ve been able to put seven brown bags by the curb, fill up the compost with a ton of leaves, and still have about three quarters of the yard left to go.

So while I was busy raking leaves Patrick decided to tackle the remaining fence posts in the middle of our yard. When we bought the house there was a fence going through the yard– perhaps because of a dog? Back in November 2006 we tore out the wire portions. I love how my comment at the time was “Next up: the poles gotta go” – that was over two years ago, haha. So as you can see it’s taken us a while to get back to this one. Patrick pretty much struggled with it the majority of the workday. Oh how rewarding to get rid of that fence door!

Tearing out fence gate

Those little buggers sure were cemented deep into the ground.

Fence hole

So once I was done raking the front lawn and parts of the back yard I decided to take on a piece of the garden being swallowed up by English Ivy. (I’m surprised its leaves don’t come with devil horns.) I guess this portion of the end of the driveway has been overlooked since it’s been hidden behind our pile of garbage that we have yet to get rid of. My excuse is that in the winter it’s too cold to work on this and in the summer you get eaten alive by the mosquitos and uhmmm, I don’t have an excuse for spring or fall, except that I’m tackling it now!

Covered driveway

*gasp* There is a wall hidden behind all that English Ivy! So after ripping out all the English Ivy I found about half a trash can full of junk – old beer bottles, old liquor bottles, clothes, rusty metal parts, Styrofoam, you name it. But underneath that was some wonderfully brown earth! I guess all those leaves that lay there for who knows how long composted themselves. The earth came in handy too to fill in the fence post holes.

Uncovering driveway

Man we really need a dumpster.

Posted in Gardening, Our Bungalow, Photos, Westview Bungalow | Tagged , | Comments Off on General Updates

Neighbor Stories

I’m sure everyone has their stories about neighbors. I know we have our fair share – I think one day I’ll have to publish my book “Diary of a Mad White Woman,”€ haha. Anyway, the other morning we woke up and opened the blinds only to find our neighbor’€™s boy had tagged his grandparents house, shed, lawnmower, herbie curbie – the list goes on. We were like “Ohhhhh shit, someone’€™s going to get in sooooo much trouble!” There was no denying it either since he wrote his name. Patrick joked that even he was smart enough to write his sister’€™s name on the wall when he was doing this stuff as a kid. ;-) (He said the handwriting still gave him away, oops.) Since the neighbors don’€™t always come walk on that side of the house we gave them a warning when we saw them (hey, they were going to see it sooner or later anyway, right?). Needless to say, once he got home from school that afternoon he spent the rest of the day scrubbing away his ““art work.”” Hey, maybe he’€™ll be the next big graffiti artist, right?

Graffiti tagged house

Speaking of neighbors. Some nights ago Patrick and I had just gone to bed. Patrick was already more asleep than me, but I was also half dozed off when I heard a noise that woke me up. Then I heard another noise – kind of like a ““crack””. I asked Patrick “€œDid you year that?”€ He hadn’€™t because he was asleep, but now I had woken him up. It wasn’t that old house shifting kind of creaking that I’€™m used to. This was different. We both listened if there’€™d be another noise. Next thing we know we hear this giant crashing sound. I think we both just about leapt out of bed! We had no idea what it was – did our neighbor’€™s house just collapse?! We peaked out the window. Nothing. Patrick put on some shoes and walked outside around the side of the house. Nothing. So we went back to bed joking that maybe we were hallucinating. (Sniffing too much of that chemical paint remover? Haha.) The next morning we woke up and saw our “hallucination” – a tree had fallen on our neighbors shed! Eek! There are two trees (one of them made up of two large limbs) that were leaning towards ours/our neighbor’s sheds. We had been fearing that one of them could possibly fall on our shed (especially since a rather large limb had fallen from it when we first bought the house), but interestingly enough this was the other tree that had lost its twin limb. A good portion had even made it to our side and was leaning on our shed, though thankfully (for us) the neighbor’€™s shed had broken the fall. We’€™ve been so busy we weren’t sure when we were going to get to removing it from our shed, so we were excited when the neighbors knocked on the door this morning to ask if they could come in our yard to remove it. *phew* Relief!

Tree on fence

Not sure how well you can tell from the photo where the tree fell…hopefully you get the picture. Oh, and those other piles are not related to this case. We’re just stock piling our wood droppings, haha.

Posted in Our Neighborhood, Photos | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neighbor Stories

Productive Weekend

So you know how it goes…it’s the weekend, it’s been a busy week and all you want to do is kick back, watch a movie, go out for a few drinks and food or hang out with friends. While those weekends are ever so fun they don’t get too much accomplished around the house. This weekend I felt like we were really productive and got a number of things from the to-do list accomplished (and still managed to have a few beers at a friend’s party!).

Exterior – Fence Removal:

Though the vines looked nice and grown-in and green on the fence the whole thing just isn’t part of our long-term landscaping plan. Plus part of the bushy greenery consisted of poison ivy! So the decision was made to get rid of the rusty chicken-wire fence.

Garden fence before

The view after the fence has been removed. Or at least the majority of it – we left a small part that was covered with the poison ivy which we have to kill before removing.

Removed garden fence

Patrick proudly displaying the “lovely” removed chicken wire fence.

Removed garden fence

Exterior – Flower Bed:

The front of our house has been looking a bit bland. We love our hedge that separates the street/sidewalk from our lot because it’s makes a natural fence, but the sight right by the house has just been lacking. Not to mention it has the remains of a holly bush trunk that must be as old as the house! I can’t stand that big ugly thing, not to mention I’m not a big fan of scratchy bushes either. So this picture shows the left side of the house and what we started with.

Before foundation plants

This picture is what we ended up with some 24 hours later. So much nicer! It already helps the ambiance of the front of the house.

After foundation plants

Awwwww, how nice. I know this is probably nothing for the average gardener, but like I keep pointing out – we’re newbie’s! So we’re kind of proud of our first nice looking flower bed. I think our previous problem has been that we would go to the store, fall in love with what ever plant and then get home not being sure where to plant it. A week would pass and we would start stressing out about needing to put the plant in the ground. That’s when plants have ended up in places that may not be the most ideal for them or where I later decide that the location would be more optimal for something else in the future. With this project I have really wanted a hedge by the front of the house. So we got these Japanese Boxwoods to make up the background and then some little cute annuals to add color in the foreground. Additionally we came across this neat looking “Asparagus Fern” that adds a little bit of variety (though it may not survive the winter).

Foundation plants

Interior Projects:

Additionally we accomplished some interior work…the kind that’s not so exciting though (which is probably why we’ve been procrastinating!): hanging up blinds. We now have blinds over the six windows in the office. Which also means the boxes aren’t lying on the floor anymore and we don’t have to climb over them to reach the phone. We scraped paint off some of those office windows – too bad a ton of paint is also still on the outside part of the windows.

Another thing was unpacking our toiletries. We’ve still had them filled in boxes inside our bathroom built-in. Since we’re not sure when we’ll get to finishing it off we decided that we may as well unpack our items and not live out of those boxes anymore. Since all of this is pretty boring I’ll spare you photos of which shampoo’s I store in there. :)

I want to say there may have been a few more things we checked off the list, but I can’t remember them now. Oh well.

Posted in Before and After, Our Bungalow, Photos | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Productive Weekend

Landscaping – 11/12/06

The first time ever we were able to walk through the back door into the back yard!

Back steps

Back steps

Starting some landscaping…the fence has been torn down.

Back yard

Back yard

Next up: the poles gotta go.

Fence poles

Fence poles

Posted in Photos | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Landscaping – 11/12/06