Thursday, October 3, 2013

Summer of Landscaping

Posted by Devin

The summer of 2013 will forever be the "Summer of Landscaping" in the Gable Family History books. We decided we were going to tackle this project in April, researched and got all of our plans into place by mid-May, and then worked our tushies off for the next 4 months to see our dreams become a reality. It was literally working 1-4 hours every week night and all day long every Saturday for 4 months. Some of you may be wondering why it took so much time, but we live on 2 1/2 acres and basically landscaped around all 4 sides of our house. It was a lot of work! But the hard work paid off and our home is now the picture of what we always had planned for it!

Here are some of the BEFORE pictures:
Other than a few trees we planted a few years back, we pretty much had a blank canvas to work with. Our partially do-it-yourself landscaping process basically followed these 10 steps:
Our Semi-DIY Landscaping Process
1. Planning. We drew up our plans for what we wanted. Here is my lovely picture I made with Paint to outline our design. I'm such an ar-teest.
2. Pricing & Finalizing Plans. We called a bi-zillion different landscapers to come out and give us estimates for the project. Although it took a lot of time to meet with so many different people, we found this step to be immeasurably valuable. Each person had different ideas about how to implement the watering system, what type of gravel we should choose, whether we should work with cement or pavers, what type of plants would work well for us... You name it, each landscaper had new and interesting ideas to share with us that helped us in shaping our over-all plan.
3. Dirt. We bought a bunch of dirt to shape the hills and driveway around our house. Most people don't have to do this when landscaping, but we have a house on acreage that was built in the 1950's and even the land around it needed work before we could begin to landscape it. We ended up buying the dirt for a steal (relatively speaking, can you believe we had to buy dirt?!!) because Jake called around to anyone he knew that worked with tractors and found some free dirt just up the road from us. We only had to pay for the fees to haul it to our house. Jake's calling around also led us to a contact for a neighbor of ours who does tractor work on the side and ended up coming and doing some work for us. I definitely recommend using whatever contacts you have to see if you can find some deals on dirt and tractor work if you need either of these two things done. The dirt work was really labor-intensive even with the tractor help. Jake and I (mostly Jake) pretty much shaped the hills around our home by hand. Here are some pictures of this "super fun" part of the project.
4. Irrigation System. For this part, we hired a landscaper to do the work for us. We priced everyone out and listened to their ideas and ultimately chose the person we thought was the best fit for us. Unfortunately, we not only needed all of the drip and sprinklers installed, we also needed a brand new pipe and electric line from our well to our house. Ugh. Check it out, it rivals the Panama Canal.

5. Rocks. We wanted to add a little something to our landscaping, so we decided to find and install a few large rocks and boulders. Thankfully my husband comes from an agricultural background and has some access to large tools. It made this part of the process much easier and a lot cheaper.
6. Cement. We had already installed quite a lot of cement, so all we needed now were some stairs to our front porch. We also hired someone to do this for us. We've done DIY cement work before and let's just say the results were less than stellar.
7. Gravel. Oh my goodness, the gravel. 100 tons of gravel. We had the help of our fencer's bobcat (which Jake drove around after the fence guys went home) to put the gravel in large piles, but spreading the gravel was So. Much. Work. Lots and lots of hours raking and shoveling and throwing and kicking and stomping on gravel. I really got buff during this step of the process.

8. Curbing! This step made such a huge difference. Before the curbing everything looked like a giant coloring page with no lines. Once the curbing was in we were able to rake all of the gravel up next to it and everything began to fall into place. Again, we hired professionals to install our curbing, but they made some mistakes and ended up having to replace a few sections. Make sure you watch them as they work because you never know when someone's own artistic view on things is going to rear it's ugly head.

9. Driveway. Again, our tractor man came out and spread our 1/4 minus gravel for us. Thank goodness we didn't have to do this step with our rakes and shovels again! Phew! A few hours and the driveway was ready.

10. Plants & Grass. Finally! The fun part! Our landscaper installed the grass and we purchased and installed the plants ourselves. We actually still have about 10 plants to go in the back of the house... It's probably fair to say that we are starting to run out of steam at this point. But we will get it done! Eventually...

And that, my friends, is how we spent our summer! Here are the AFTER pics to prove it:



Thank you Caitlin Nalder Photography for snapping some awesome shots for this post!

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At October 3, 2013 at 10:29 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

Wow, amazing!! Sooo much blood, sweat and tears but it's gorgeous! It looks like a completely different HOUSE, even though the landscape is what changed. You guys did a beautiful job.

At October 3, 2013 at 12:31 PM , Blogger Tara and Devin said...

Thank you Jessica! I couldn't agree more, we all feel like we've moved to a new house since it's been done. Totally worth all of the work! -Devin

At October 3, 2013 at 1:51 PM , Blogger Caitlin Nalder said...

It looks so good! Wow I didn't realize all the detail that went into it!! So much work. I think I convinced Zach to put grass in our backyard for the winter.. I'm kind of scared after reading this! Haha! But it's just grass, right?

At December 9, 2014 at 12:21 AM , Blogger Amela Jones said...

Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

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