I have to keep reminding myself it’s January. Sixty degrees and sunny, but still January. There’s at least another month before frost season passes and we can do some serious landscaping, but we’ve started to price out the projects.
The first is the section of the fence closest to the house. Most of the property is surrounded with a 5-foot-tall chain-link fence, but this fence is set back away from the house and is practically invisible in the woods. The part of the fence which shares a line with the house is a 3-foot split rail with green chain link nailed to the reverse. We’re guessing someone decided that chain-link wasn’t aesthetically appropriate for the visible sections so they cobbled together about 60 feet of rickety, much of which the ivy has since pulled down. It’s more of a suggestion of a fence at this point, and absolutely wrong for a house with large dogs.
The next project is to regrade the front lawn, which will be a pain in the tookus. The line of the lawn slopes down into the house and the basement floods when there’s an inch of rain (the previous owners installed French drains and a sump pump, which makes you wonder what happened to the basement when it rained before they did all that work). By regrading the front lawn, we can change the landscaping so the path of least resistance is around the house instead of through it.
This is a multiple-stage project and will probably involve at least a full dump truck of dirt. We’ll also have to take up the slate walkway and reposition it, since the walkway will serve double-duty as a channel for water runoff. But that might be for the best:
I’m not sure when the walkway was put down, but it was a poor and messy job when it was first laid and time and weathering have not improved it. Some of the stones are flush with the ground; others make the trip back to the house with your arms full of groceries an exciting challenge! And God in heaven help you if those flagstones are wet. Brown and I have both busted our knees more times than we can count since we moved in last September and the rainy season hasn’t even started yet. We were planning to redo the entire walkway with reclaimed brick left over from the pool patio to reduce chance meetings with Olde Goodman Slipenfal, but there is a product you can apply to slate which improves traction. I’m trying to track this down, since a well-laid slate walkway is a beautiful thing. Plus, brick walkways are a lot more work and we’ve got enough projects for now. We’ll use the leftover brick in another part of the landscaping some other day.
The front lawn also hints at wanting to embrace a new life as a concave pit, which is no doubt contributing to the basement flooding. The lawn seems to have settled over time and is about four inches lower than the driveway. But! The front lawn is moss. Entirely, thoroughly, delightfully moss. Back in October, it was a glorious living carpet of hypnum. Brown and I both agree that when we regrade the lawn, we need to cut up as much of that moss as possible and use it to re-establish the moss groundcover. Moss has specific soil pH preferences and we’ll be sure to cater to them when we select the dirt for the fill, and we’ll (*cough* Brown *cough*) will use an oversized soil tamping machine to repack the earth.
And when we run out of our native lawn moss, there’s always the Moss Milkshake to fill those bare patches. Yum.
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