Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Telling the Front Lawn to Sod Off

I think I've mentioned over the past few months that I wanted to get rid of a large portion of lawn in the front yard. I finally came up with a plan and called a contractor a few weeks ago. Work began today, first with delivery of a backhoe, and then with the scraping up and disposal of all the patchy, mossy, weedy sod in front of our house.

When Nigel and I first started discussing changes to the front yard, I thought maybe we could do it ourselves over the course of a year or two. Maybe we could put in lasagna beds across the front by the street and down the side of the driveway. Or, we could rent a sod cutter to put in beds, right? And then eventually make further changes. But I've done a bit of lasagna bed-making in the front, and discovered that the sod has a plastic mesh under it that makes digging in it difficult.

Then, with the addition of a promised greenhouse (my reward for losing 40 pounds), the plans got too big for us. So I called the contractor -- Chris Gilliam of Gilliam Construction -- who did all the work on our back garden when we first moved in, and who put in my gravel garden two years ago.

The chariot awaits its driver

Way faster than lasagna, or a sod cutter

Already working near the street

Tearing a strip off the nasty old lawn

Mountain o' sod



The plans now include a raised bed along the street with a wall made of repurposed broken concrete, a driveway bed, a gravel patio with a small water feature (a fountain from Glass Gardens Northwest), and covered by a simple copper pipe pavilion, as well as a greenhouse with a gravel floor. Chris says most of the work should be done before Christmas, except for building the greenhouse, which probably won't arrive till mid-January.

Not only is this my reward for weight loss, but it's also my Christmas and birthday presents for this year.

And probably next year too.

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I wanted to thank everyone who left such kind messages of sympathy on my last post, about my kitty Lightning. I appreciate it so much. There was a possibility this work on the front garden was going to begin last week, on the Monday before Thanksgiving. I'm actually glad that it didn't. Although having work done like this is exciting, it's also stressful to be making so many changes. Last week I was stressed enough already.

So...thank you.

22 comments:

  1. How incredibly exciting. I was pleased to get rid of my back lawn and maybe one day the front will go too. How fab that you lost all that weight, I need to loose weight but I like my food too much. Cant wait to see the progress, sounds wonderful

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  2. I am giggling thinking about what your neighbors have thought since you moved in!!

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  3. Congrats on everything! Sod removal, weight loss, greenhouse, water feature, and the exciting use of repurposed concrete! it's going to be glorious. I am so sorry about your kitty I missed that post. xoxogail

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  4. Wow! Seeing all that dirt gets me excited! What fun you will have filling it up. Are you planning on getting some plants native to your area? I look forward to seeing your updates.

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  5. This is SO EXCITING! Seeing it happening at that speed (and keeping your back intact must be absolutely exhilarating! But what on earth are "lasagna beds"? Not familiar with that one... Anyway, I'm taking not of all your physical transformations - you're an inspiration!

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  6. Plastic mesh under the sod? Yuck! I can't wait to watch this project develop, gonna be so much fun!

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  7. Look at all that lovely brown loam!!!! Kudos to Mr. Gilliam and his chariot! This is going to be soooo cool. Congrats on losing 40 pounds my friend. Great job! And now your reward, besides having a thin body, is taking shape in the front. Kudos to Nigel too. What a sweet husband. The photographs, as things are transformed are very interesting. Thanks for sharing. And hugs again for your loss.

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  8. What I like about this project (aside from the obvious - lovely new gardening spaces and places) is the fact you're unlikely to be tempted to strain your back doing any of it. You can just sit back and direct traffic and let your back continue to heal! And congrats on the weight loss goal achieved!

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  9. Look at all that wonderful space for gardening! Way better and safer than trying to do all this yourself. Your soil looks amazing to me.

    All these projects should keep you busy for a long time too. Look forward to seeing the results progress.

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  10. Fantastic , I wonder it you're neighbors think you're getting a new lawn ? I have mesh under the lawn , as well. I was thinking I might go to " Lasagna" way… or sod cutter ( Philip hates loud machinery) and the front lawn isn't that huge. Though I would love to mr Gilliam do all the work and drag it away !

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  11. Hi Alison, So, the project is "on", then! An excellent early winter project. Did you find the info on concrete that I sent as a message to your FB account?

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  12. Getting rid of lawn is always so exciting, opening up a whole new realm of planting possibilities! I think you and Nigel were right to call in the Caterpillar. My husband insisted on taking out the lawn in our side yard himself (with a little help from me) and I think it almost killed him (in addition to taking much longer than I'd have liked).

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  13. Wow! Wow! Wow! What a way for the sod to go! Makes me wonder why the heck I always do it the hard way???!!! It is going to be wonderful. Will you have the sod hauled away as well, and not end up with a Mount Sod at the end?

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  14. Wow, congratulations on losing 40 lbs. that is fantastic! May I ask how you did it?

    How fun to have a green house, just think of all you will be able to do...So happy for you! xo

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  15. Bye bye lawn and well done for reaching your weight loss goal! Looking forward seeing the progress of your garden project!

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  16. I prefer your method of sod removal! Congrats on achieving your goal and rewarding yourself so beautifully. Bravo!

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  17. Way cool pal! Good for you for both the weight loss and the decision to have this done by a contractor! I'm very excited for you and can't wait to see the new space! Also can't wait to go plant shopping with you some more now that you'll have this whole new space to fill in!

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  18. Congratulations! If only more people would get rid of their front lawns. In fact we should start a 'Sod Off Lawn Society'. All those chemicals to keep it looking good. All the effort of constant mowing.That's not gardening. Lawn care should have another name,it's nothing to do with gardening. What fun you will have planning and making your new front garden.
    Chloris

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  19. Alison, nothing makes me happier than big equipment. I can't wait to see the transformation of your garden. It looks so nice and green there yet, we're going down to below zero for awhile. Congratulations on your weight loss!

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  20. Wow! That's major landscaping! I actually like lawn, but I will be very excited to see your plan for it's replacement take shape.

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  21. Now that's what I call thinking big. It's going to be so much fun to watch it happen.

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  22. Very exciting! I have always dug out my sod by hand, time consuming but satisfying. Also I would take relative small areas each time.

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