Greenwood Heights Reno
When last we recapped on brownstoner, we were entering the end of summer and waltzing our way into our fall projects in our ongoing backyard reno.
After working with Diana at Fun City Design, we had the game plan of using quite a few of the plants we had always had in containers, starting with our roof top garden back in Ft. Greene before moving in 2004.
We have a ton of tropicals as container plants, thus part of the moniker of “Tikihouse” (as they all come inside during the winter), but we also managed to collect trees, bushes and an assortment of vines and perennials.
The day lilies were one of the first things we had put in the yard after moving, so that left some foundation plants, which included a dwarf Alberta spruce, Eastern red cedar, several forsythias and several azaleas.
The first of the anchor plantings was our cedar from New Jersey. Taken from Mrs. Tikihouse’s parents’ yard, our seedling turned out to be a beautiful specimen that we had grown for years in pots. We thought it only right it finally go in the ground. One problem…small yard and potentially a very large tree.
Photo: And the digging begins for our two evergreens (more…)
Back to last summer’s recap for our loyal readers and brownstoner reno fans:
After much rain in June/July, our late summer was spent (when not dealing with weekly “life stuff”) tending to our overgrown garden, picking the crops and dealing with the summer’s new growth.
We had a bumper crop from the garden: tomatoes, beans, hot peppers, eggplant, even beets!
Photo: July tomatoes (we’re talking several hundred by summer’s end) (more…)
When last we left our readers in early June of 2009, the garden had been cleaned up and planted. The bamboo had been planted and we had rearranged most of the potted plants into clusters around the garden (some to Fun City Design‘s recommendations, some to our own likes) to “live with” for a few weeks (or as it turned out, the entire summer).
A folding teak table, from Teak Closeouts, was added to accompany the killer Boma bench we had purchased from their website earlier in the spring. We thought it would be a good way to experiment with finishes before committing to sealing the bench.
Since we had heard good things about Watco’s Teak Oil (available at Home Depot and Lowes) as one option to treat the new bench/table from the owner of Teak Closeouts, Mrs. Tikihouse made quick work of sealing the companion table to test out how it worked before we moved onto the bench later in the month (though you could just leave the teak “naked” and let it age naturally to a silvery gray).
Photo: working the teak oil into the table after an initial light sanding (pixelated face is optional, remember to use gloves and a dust mask) (more…)
OK, looks like after life has thrown a few sandbags full of stuff at Mr. and Mrs. Tiki, we hope to be back blogging on the back yard evolution. A lot has gone on since last we posted: much planted, bamboo boomin’, landscape updated, garden maxin’ and our friendly neighborhood developer only renting three of his seven units after TWO YEARS. Quite a few folks have asked what’s up with the reno, now evolution, so here we are!
Anyway, we’ll be posting a recap of summer/fall 2009 and what’s been cookin’ in our back 40 since last we posted. As a teaser, here’s what’s currently in bloom in this wacky spring/summer weather we have been having.
While we are still working out the final planting plan with Diana at Fun City Design (mostly since Mrs. Tikihouse and I are still rethinking where certain “foundation” plantings should go). Diana has come up with some great ideas in her first draft of the planting plan (coming soon).
In the meantime, here’s a down and dirty post of the growth of the garden as-is so far this spring.
Photo: Azaleas from late May. Still missing those pretty blooms! (more…)
Next step on our phase 2 backyard reno was to bring our tropicals outside for the spring/summer/fall and then get ready to plant our big veggie garden.
Prior to that we had a good discussion with our designer Diana, at Fun City Design, about meeting up to discuss the final planting plan and the reality of what we’d be able to do under the current economic squeeze. Also, we wanted her to see the space and how it had evolved since last fall. Our meeting will be in a later post.
So all the tropicals made it out, either in the “seating area” or out by the shed (for now). Adding more greenery made a huge difference in softening the space.
Before we could move forward with planting the veggie garden, we turned the soil once more (fourth time now?) and began to layout markers to dig for our garden blue stone path.
Diana’s plan had the garden broken up into four quadrants, with a bird bath in the center.
Proposed original plan, Fall 2008
In order to maximize our planting area, we opted to try out three long rows, with stepping stones in between the rows. This would align our plantings north/south and allow us to experiment as to how much we can cram in (or not) into the garden to max out our output, i.e. live off our garden this summer! (more…)
As a recap form the last post, after much clean up, we received a call from our “generous neighbors” that we would be able to have some young specimens from their grove (they were thinning it out) of the bamboo genus Phyllostachys. We were THRILLED.
The only catch is the delivery date was TBD and we needed a ton of topsoil to prep the bamboo planter box.
A quick call to J&L Landscaping (and then a “help” call to several friends) and we were scheduled for a delivery of their best top soil.
Larry at J&L had figured we would need approximately 3 1/2 yrds. of soil to fill the box, with a tad left over to spread around. At $65/yrd. (with delivery) we figured it was a good deal. In prep for the delivery, and bucket brigade through the house, we cleared away furniture and plants and laid down contractor paper (no need to scratch up the oak floors).
Photo: one HUGE pile of topsoil (tarped, of course)
Delivery was made bright and early and to our surprise, more like 4 1/2 to 5 yrds. were dumped! (though we only paid for the 3 1/2 yrds) (more…)
Spring greetings from Mr. and Mrs. Tikihouse. After a VERY LONG and cold winter, we were most happy to see the temps begin to rise and the ground soften.
Since our last post a short “knee wall” was installed and a less than ideal green hurricane fence was placed between the new brick condo building’s yard and ours. Could have been worse…it could have been white vinyl! NOTE: we will be covering it up as one of the first tasks in phase II of our backyard reno project.
While it is a tad early to begin any planting, our plan was to begin moving plants again and turn over the right hand side of the garden, adding humous and peat moss as we went.
Photo: overview of the start of phase 2 of our back yard reno
That’s when we had a sinking feeling, or rather saw the sinking.
As the dawn of the last day rose, we were not sure that the crew would be able to finish up with only a half day’s worth of “work time” left, but they had surprised us before.
On the hit list: finish up the pavers, bring in the remaining pea gravel, brush in “lock sand” into the pavers and wet it all down so, as Gaspar was fond of saying, “it’ll look NICE.” (overlay words with a great Canarsie accent)
The remaining pavers went down quickly with most of the more intricate “piece work” taking the bulk of the time, with the crew custom cutting shapes and slices to fit in any remaining gaps in the pattern.
Photo: Making quick work of the paver “piece work.”
Photo: Final paver pattern. (more…)
When last we left off, the patio was poured and faced with cultured stone. We had added back into the mix the 15 foot planter box for the bamboo…the rest of the work would be to finish the install of the remaining cultured stone, add blue stone caps to the box, stairs and patio edge, layout the pathway and seating area, then bring in our reused (and some new) bluestone for stepping stones, layout the pavers on the patio…add in a final layer of pea gravel, then the crew at Your Way Contracting would be done! Here’s how the two days went.
The main work yet to be done was the final grading of the yard and the layout of the 11X11 foot seating area and paths.
Photo: Bird’s eye view of the work site. (more…)