Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Star

Since we did not have random firecrackers shooting all over the land out here, we were spared from any sudden wildfires burning up the place.  I think the trade off was pretty fair.  But my wife still wanted her star in the front yard, so this extra long weekend, a star is what she got.

The plan all along has been to find different areas of the yard that we can create small "islands" that are not filled with grass.  In reality, our entire property is one big island not filled with grass.  The idea though, is that if we create these different landscape features first, it will save us on putting down grass where we later end up removing it.  Some of the features will have ground cover, something like an Asiatic Jasmine that is easy to maintain once it is established (hello, Mr. Weedwhacker!), or maybe some small places with annuals.  Other places will be more functional for enjoying like our two islands in the back filled with decayed granite and outfitted with chairs and such.  Eventually, where we have clumps of several trees close to one another, there will be some sort of border around them.  Grass never wants to grow under them, so I may as well not spend the money on sod.

But, to the star.  We had seen a house in Castroville where somebody had made a really huge planter in the shape of a star and my wife fell in love with it immediately.  In the case of that one, it was very well done with nice rock and limestone, probably 12 to 14 inches high and at least 20 feet from top to bottom and side to side.  We have driven by the home and seen it filled with a variety of flowers and it really looks nice.  I have not yet learned the skills be a stone mason or brick layer, and certainly don't care to experiment in my front yard, but I have figured out how to build some forms and pour concrete in between them.  And since my wife doesn't mind getting her hands dirty, she can go behind me with a trowel and make things all smooth.
When I first started with a square, in the middle of the yard, I could see the confused looks from people driving by.  A neighbor who stopped by to give us Lemon-berry Slushies from Sonic (how thoughtful was that?) she confessed that she had no idea what I was doing, and how a square would turn into a star.
 Really, I just needed something to measure by, and in no time at all (okay, a few hours) the outline of the star was almost ready.  I think it helped when we removed the excess plastic.
Next, we cut some wire mesh to place inside the forms for stability, and then it was cement city!  The project took ten 80lb bags of Quikrete.  Since we have been out here, I'd say I have mixed about 50 or 60 bags.  You'd think at this point I would just buy a cement mixer, but I'm pretty happy with the old fashioned wheelbarrow and shovel method.
 With the forms still in place, we went ahead and moved the Texas-shaped birdbath into place and filled the center of the star with the crushed decayed granite that a friend from the old neighborhood so kindly allowed me to haul away from her house. 
And finally, the next morning, we removed the forms and had the finished project.  We'll end up putting some potted plants or maybe some cactus out there, but for right now, Eva is pretty happy with it.  Once we have some grass in the yard, I think it will really stand out.


AlanDP said...

I think it would be really cool to make one of those and fill it with bluebonnets.

Anonymous said...

I wish we'd had a 4-5 day period when we didn't have fire works going off in every Louisville neighborhood. Two people were shot last night and the comment by police that "no one reported haring gunfire." How coudl anyone tell the difference when we began getting constand fire works exploding before dark Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday! Heck, there was a thunder and lightening storm, I learned. I didn't hear any thunder. All I heard was pops and explosions! - Charlene