Sunday, February 21, 2021

Front Yard part seven

Well hello, hello! If you're hoping for an update on the basement excavation project....well all I can tell you is that we're in negotiations with a Top film editor, and, should those negotiations prove successful, then...well, who knows what could happen?

Much more importantly, we have a deadline of ASAP for the completion of our front yard project. We want to do some planting this Spring, for Cliff's sake. Well, let's just clarify that. We don't really have Spring where we live; there's Summer, which starts when the clocks go forward, and we have the other season from late December through to about last week when out first few daffodils popped up. What I'm trying to say, in a somewhat rambling fashion, is that we would very much like to be done with the front yard somewhat pronto, in order that subsequent efforts may be directed toward the basement project. Or something like that.

So, on with the show. Last time around we built a retaining wall and buried the bulk of the PVC pipe that will serve the irrigation system. This time we began by installing the same redwood cap that we used elsewhere at the retaining wall.

Backfilled with a mixture of dirt and rock that came from the basement excavation project. We haven't been able to repurpose as much basement dirt as I was hoping to because it turned out to be essentially rock.

Came out nice:

Time to mark out the location for the fence. You can't really see in this photo, but the green blob in the middle is my laser level. (Incidentally, I happen to know from undergrad that LASER stands for Light Amplified Stimulation of Electromagnetic Radiation).

I set the laser towards the house and marked a dotted line down the hill to the house with my not-so bright orange paint to show where the fence will go. 

The two circles in the photo below indicate approximately where the gate posts will go - the gate will be double width, and will open towards what remains of the brick patio.

In order to facilitate this, another couple of feet of the patio had to make way. I've had so much time on the jackhammer lately that it's starting to feel a heavy, noisy and uncomfortable tool  

This is later: 

More ruble to deal with some time in the this point there is approximately twenty feet of the patio left to remove.

While all that was going on, Amy Sheep was continuing to work on regrading the slope and the walkways between the beds.

These areas need to be reasonably flat before we can install the decomposed granite.

We had to pick up some bags of low-grade topsoil for parts of this exercise - the rock I have been digging out of the basement was unsuitable sadly.

The area where the gates will go was also leveled out and I installed some 6" x 6" timber to keep the dirt away from the house.

That just left the small tree at the top of the hill to deal with - the fence was originally intended to run between the two trees, but we found out that the main water line runs through that particular gap.

A quick wave of the saw-shaped magic wand followed by two shakes of the spade-shaped magic staff, and no more tree! One day soon we will stop digging up plants and start digging some in.

Back to the irrigation system. I dug in the two valve boxes that came with the house and were originally located close to this space. You can see the incoming water line in the lower box. We already had an independent shutoff valve and a backflow preventer from the original irrigation system (the spade is leaning on the latter in the photo below).

The lower box contains just one (1) valve for now. We plan to add at least two more valves/stations in the future, but for now its a simple three raised beds/three valves set up. 

This is the "from a distance" view after all the PVC pipe was connected up and the wiring was done. I installed a new wall-mounted controller and replaced all the wiring between the controller and the circuit breaker panel.

A quick system test all worked perfectly first time. There was a minor leak at the backflow preventer, but a quick seal change (I turned it over!) and no more leak. We still have to construct the in-bed irrigation lines and connect them to the PVC pipe.

Time to fill-in around the valve boxes.....this area is going to need some more dirt that we don't have at the moment.

We made another trip out to get topsoil and used it to fill the upper bed.

The upper level is ready for decomposed granite and a fence:

We need another 30 cubic feet of topsoil for the lower bed.

to be continued in due course....

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