Monday, April 27, 2009


Plans for the next 6 months...

I updated the renderings for the front landscaping since I know have two of the projects completed (front doors and paver walkway). Please forgive my amateur Sketchup skills. I'm just trying to get an idea of what it will look like when it's complete.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Drip Irrigation

I've basically come to the conclusion that I'm not capable of watering plants.

My first clue happened back in '05 when I was given a small plant as a housewarming gift...within 2 months it was a crunchy carcass. Sometime back in '07 my sprinkler timer stopped working. Being um...frugal...I didn't see the value in spending $70 to replace a device that just switched valves on an off from time to lawn has struggled every summer since. And then finally, way back yesterday morning, I realized some containers I had planted with horsetail and other grassy things were looking awfully ragged and wilted. It turns out that several days of 90 degree+ weather early last week hadn't been too kind and I was too busy to water.

Last weekend I finally replaced the failed timer unit with a new one ($35 for an outdoor one) and replaced 2 faulty valves. This Saturday morning I made two big decisions: 1. No new plantings will go in without an irrigation plan to water them and 2. I would try installing some drip irrigation for the containers.For some reason I remembered drip irrigation as being one of those bizarre contradictions where despite being smaller and having far fewer parts than traditional irrigation, it ended up costing twice as much to install. I was pleasantly surprised that it is now commoditized and less expensive than water-waste irrigation. They even had several pre-made kits that included a bunch of drippers, tubing, stakes, and Ts at affordable prices. I got the one made by DiG Irrigation @ HomeDepot. I did the patio kit for less than $12 and added a fitting that let me hook it up to one of my exist sprinkling risers for $1.37. Plus, it has all of the "fun" of normal irrigation without the annoying part: digging trenches. So for less than $15 I will not have to worry about watering the containers ever again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Cliff May Photo Contest #2: Before and After

I've decided to do another photo contest. As before, the winner will receive his or her choice of a Lowes or Home Depot $25 gift card. Just submit your favorite "before and after" photos of a project on a Cliff May home. Just click below for the rules and entry form.

Monday, April 20, 2009


(Sledge) Hammer Time

When everyone thinks of busting out concrete they think of the back-breaking labor involved in swinging a sledgehammer. That's the fun part. The real back-breaking labor is getting the broken concrete from where it was to where it needs to go.

NOT QUITE THE ENDFortunately, whoever poured the concrete was stupid enough to pour it in contact with the house slab but stupid enough not to use concrete-concrete adherent so broke away as a completely separate piece.

One thing I'm finding by ripping out a lot of the concrete and landscape is that it's much easier to design something and envision it when the area is blank versus an existing landscaping. As some of you may remember, the fence to the left of the house in the photo above is being torn away and moved forward (towards the camera) about 2.5 feet. It seems so much easier to play with the dimensions in real life than on paper.

ALSO: Does anyone know where / how to recycle old concrete in Orange County, CA?

Saturday, April 11, 2009



It's taken me an extra month to finish the details, but I'm finally done. Today I was able to:
Now I just need to wait for the grass to grow back to the edges. I'm really happy with how it turned out. This was actually my first "real" landscaping project where I actually made something and didn't just clear weeds or remove stumps.

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