It’s Mid-Summer and I’m still having a hard time getting the momentum back after a nice vacation.
Crickets on the brain let’s call it.
Nothing I’m going to do is going to measure up to what I created several years ago in the back yard anyway. I’ll call it the Summer Studio, but really, it's just a great place to chill and relax. Or, as my good friend Tobi’s son calls it – “Chillaxin’”.
We put the pool in back in ’04 and didn’t really budget for the landscaping. After getting an estimate in the tens of thousands for a retaining wall and a few bushes, I thought “Okay, I’ll be a landscaper this summer”. So I recruited my buddy Doug to haul the stones up with (for) me and spent that summer/Fall building the walls and the path. I threw in perennials as I went along. After 3 years I’m still tweaking it, but I’ve realized that that’s what a garden is – an annual work in progress. I think of it as fireworks in slow motion. The next couple of weeks will be spectacular, and then the slow descent into Fall.
Here's a "Before", or "During" picture. There's Doug taking a beer break. Don't worry, I put him back to work quickly....
What a beautiful spot you've created in which to chillax, Dale. I envy you the lush and serene setting, though not all the work that went into it!
David FlahertyJuly 16, 2007
Firepit looks awsome. Any deer wander in?
David GothardJuly 16, 2007
Your place looks great and must be all the more rewarding having done so much of the hard work yourself to realize a vision. I also put a pool in 3-4 years ago and at that time declared a "four year plan" on the landscaping. It now looks like an established site and the only labor is just in the maintaining of the flora.
Tim O'BrienJuly 16, 2007
Jeeze louise! That's a spread!
Do I detect a ship-plaything back there?
Christoph HitzJuly 17, 2007
I'm still learning what flowers and plants go in first and how tall these plants will grow. You managed to hide the fence issue, in NY/NJ the law requires to have a pool closely gated, resulting in ugly prison swimming pools. Is the circular stone wall, in the third picture a fire pit/ grill?
Dale StephanosJuly 17, 2007
David, I saw your post about your party. Nice job yourself! I really enjoyed the work that went into all this and still do.
David - No Deer. The fence keeps them out. But they do wander right up to it. So do the Coyote, Fox, and even Fisher cat. We have a Turkey Vulture back there too.
Tim -That ship was the only thing in the yard for a couple of years. It used to be where the middle of the pool is now. When we were planning out the pool, the contractor looked at the ship and said it had to move. I couldn't find anyone interested in the job, so I did it myself old school: I put a couple of PVC pipes underneath, got a metal fencepost, and inch by inch, rolled that sucker about 50 feet. It only took 5 hours or so. Hey, you have to earn your beer around here.
Christoph - I'm still figuring the plant thing out myself. There's lots of digging up and transplanting going on every year. The fire pit thing I found at BJ's. We even use it in the winter. New Years eve was spent out there with fireworks, scotch, and cigars. Sounds like a night at Hunter S. Thompson's house doesn't it?
Bob StaakeJuly 18, 2007
this is what i like -- more drawgers willing to get in there and get the job done -- even if it means inhaling bags of gypsum, losing a leg to a circular saw or having a few digits smashed between an improperly-placed fieldstone (rule number one in stone wall construction: never lift a rock with your drawing hand!). why we don't see a floating drawing table/computer work station in the middle of that pool, i have no idea -- but you can get to that NEXT summer.