Monday, April 30, 2007

Spring time - reshaping the front entrance yard area

We figured it out! The front area of our front yard (entrance to the house) that has been elevated and rocked with bricks laid for pathway, concrete poured for a patio and three concrete steps to walk up to the elevated 'gardens'. Nice idea, but makes no sense to the lay of the land and we have been trying to figure out if PO intended it to be decorative or why it was installed the way it was.

Work in progress as Sweetie has dug out the 'elevated' bed (translated to big pile of dirt, lined by boulders, overgrown with ivy and other assorted unasked for and undesireable volunteer growth). It is hard to make out in this photo, but the wall he has lined with boulders is the heighth of the dirt mound (elevated bed). The neighbor's yard right behind is about level with the bottom layer of the boulder wall. Sweetie has begun digging away and in a matter of a couple of days will haul most of that dirt away. While we weren't able to do away with the 'elevated' beds, he was able to seriously dent it and push it back away from the front door entrance leaving enough room for us to do a bit of landscaping and comfortably walk around to the back (more literally, the side) of the house.








The brick path that leads from the elevated bed to the front door is so steep that surely anyone attempting to walk it would easily slip and fall so it's not useful as a footpath, in fact, flat out dangerous. Nixed that by blocking off the brick pathway to avoid having visitors use it at all. But that was a bandaid fix.



The Weeping Spruce that spreads out horizontally across the top of the brick wall is a 'Must Save' so unlikely we would tamper with this element and will leave it as it is...

As I once again try to figure out the minds of the PO with some of their modifications to this house that make no sense to me, like adding a lower turret/cupola to the main level as an extension of the top floor cupola but in so doing, opening the whole side of the house to what amounts to the air flow of a front porch without the barrier of housefront or front door. So, I wander around that area looking at the historic photos trying to figure out where the front door orignally was and what did they do to the architecture that caused removal of the porch, the front entry door and secured the house from winter seastorm winds.

I digress, (as I usually do). So oila, as we are reviewing the historic photos of the house, and realizing that second PO dug out the basement, since there was no basement and the house was post and pier (sat on pier blocks) ---- wait a minute ---- PO dug out basement and what did he do with all the dirt he dug out?

We think we know. Now we think we know. Historic photos of this house show the front yard to be flat and in countour lines with the neighboring proprety. These two elevated mounds of dirt that have been landscaped with boulders and rocks and plantings, and brick pathway and concrete patio and steps --- was this all just to disguise two huge mounds of dirt removed from under the house when the basement was added?



The elevated 'bed' is so close to the front of the downstairs cupola, that it makes no sense when looking at the contour of the land. Now, with this 'aha' moment, perhaps it makes sense. Surely, I think to myself, with the amount of labor to dig out the basement, install bricks and concrete floor, you'd think there were funds or labor to haul away the dirt??
Did PO think this would provide some kind of water table drainage barrier or .....

Sweetie is doing what amounts to construction type labor in disassembling the boulders, digging out the dirt and hauling it away as he carves into this hill of dirt that makes the 'elevated' garden bed. I respect him for doing the labor, and taking on the project.



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