Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Anyone who's walked by knows things have transformed since these pics, though it really was only a few days ago we were at this stage.

I'll post a bunch of pictures to give you a sense of the drama: a small space with tons (literally) of excess soil to be removed.

The digger is delivered to much fanfare!

Woo-hoo. (Our house is second from the end.)

What a scene!

Jake. Excavator extraordinaire! Highly recommended. Polite, friendly, efficient, honest, skilled, resourceful, energetic. 

Tons of soil (about 20?) left piled in the back by previous owners from their excavating for extension and drainage (also two huge stumps, a third was removed by Andrew!).

Mountains of soil.

All gone! Plus a rectangle dug deeper for patio base.

The basement space under the porch was also full of soil! (?!) Wall had to come down and soil dug out from there too. Aigh.

We're going to put in a concrete floor and use the space for bike storage.

We decided we might as well have the front yard scraped off while we were at it.

Treasures were unearthed. (No gold or anything... just some prehistoric plastic toys.)

Many large rocks too!

Most of which we saved for a rock wall in the front.

Three bins full of soil!!

Nothing like a digger and a pile of dirt to bring out the neighbourhood kids.

Business as usual. Off to gymnastics camp.

To get the playhouse out of the way, resourceful Jake tied a strap around it and picked it up with his digger.

I include a video of that for your viewing pleasure.

The girls watching from the now-inaccessible back door.

Random picture. Beautiful selfie. 

(btw, sorry for the quality of the photos. My camera's broken and I've been using my phone, which takes terrible pictures.)

I see a red door and I want it painted black.

I know it wasn't quite red, but I can't get that song out of my head. 


I applied a second coat yesterday, and our little worker bees removed the tape, and voila!


Alas, it's only the door. Looking forward to getting the whole thing painted next year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Front-door paint.

Katie and I painted the front door today!

The exterior's not going to be done until next spring (sorry neighbours!), but I've been dying to do something about that ugly door. A bit random when we're in the middle of a huge landscaping project, but Katie decided this morning not to go to gymnastics camp with Fifi and foiled my plans for the day, so I came up with a Plan B that would entertain us while accomplishing something house-wise. It was right up Katie's alley -- she LOVED it!

First we scrubbed. (door before)

... then spackled


...sanded (wearing safety goggles bought on a Florida beach)


    ...and finally painted! 

All before we had to go back and pick up Fifi, after which we went for a nice dip in the pool!

I'll post an "after" picture tomorrow once we've done a second coat.

BTW, Katie didn't do it all by herself. I helped. No, really, I did.

Meantime, the sod (or "turf," Trudy) arrived, but more on that later. 
Must sleep!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back at it! Landscaping

After about . . . oh, a year or so, we're back! Nothing like impending visitors to motivate! (UK relatives due in 5 days!)

So much has happened already, so I'm backtracking here and not sure where to start.
How about a shot of all the machinery in the yard? View from the front window a week ago.

That will have to suffice for now. A lot to do today: we've got to lay a patio (!) and spread a truckload of topsoil in anticipation of sod arrival tomorrow. 

Plus, in anticipation of exterior window-washing guy coming (groupon deal), I'm scraping years of paint build-up off the windows -- with Andrew doing the ladder bits; he was scraping in the dark last night to the sound of "Festival of Light" fireworks!). 

Let me show you this email that gives a sense of how fast things're moving -- we tend to do things in binges.

In a panic the other day, I asked Andrew how we can possibly get it all done by next Friday. Here's the schedule he sent:

How does this sound:

Thursday – finish cleaning /  levelling back yard, dig out patio (it was smaller than we specced), dig out flower beds and tree holes
Friday – turf soil delivered, Fri night spread turf soil
Saturday – spread turf soil, roadbed and sand delivered
Sunday – Top soil delivered – prep patio, lay bedding plant soil, pavers?
Monday – sod delivered – lay sod
Tuesday – plant – front – bushes, shrubs, Flower beds, hedge? 
Wed – plant – back – beds? Trees?
Thurs – lay pavers
[Friday: visitors land]

So let's call this chapter "the 14-day landscaping challenge"! That includes the excavation, which took about a week; our job is to transform the dirt moonscape into something of a garden by Friday.
Here's the back before the soil was removed.

Here's the back being excavated.

We're more or less on schedule, except that we reversed a couple of things: excavation's done (after excavator dug out three bins' worth, Andrew dug out another entire 12-yard bin full BY SHOVEL!), levelling's done, roadbed and sand for patio's laid and compacted, patio stones to be laid today, and turf will be delivered tomorrow! 

Our aim today, too, is to finish in time to give these two little labourers a real summer family day and take them to the pool this afternoon/evening, but that may be overly ambitious. We'll try!

Wish us luck. : )

Saturday, May 25, 2013


We used a hand-poured recycled glass tile from California, with a "silk" finish that makes it look like stone (Stone & Pewter Accents). (BTW, we highly recommend the place we bought it, Aeon Stone, where it was almost half the price they were asking at Bullnose, and where they have a great selection. 



After installation, before grout.

Grout (we used plain white):

Ah, so happy with the results!

In context: