Showing posts with the label hide and reveal

3rd Location - Backyard Pizza Oven - January 2024

Analysis causes paralysis is a trope that people say in business and life.  But, I'm NOW feeling that very thing HARD in regards to our backyard pizza oven planning.  It was just a week ago that I VERY CONFIDENTLY posted about how I was down to just two finalist locations for our oven .  But, today?  I'm not so sure any longer.  What about a 3rd location, on the south side of the yard, about the same distance from the house.  But, tucked into a current bed where the Alice Oakleaf Hydrangeas are planted?  See below for this 3rd location at the bottom of the drawing: This 3rd location re-introduces one of the ORIGINAL sites that I contemplated as far back as 2017 .    What does this new site get us?  It certainly doesn't take advantage of the grade change, so that means that the full height and mass of the oven will be in-view.  That provides for a bit of screening.  But, it also means that the oven becomes a garden focal-point.  If site'd here, it would be the biggest dr

Down to Two Pizza Oven Locations - 2024 Project - January 2024

The notion of building a wood-burning oven in our backyard is one that I've mused about for years.  Dating back to our first house in Elmhurst, I dreamed up how I could build one and where it would go in the landscape.  I've posted about it a few times since we moved to Downers - including here in 2017 and again in 2020 and then one month later (also) in 2020 .  The first post in 2020, I talked about planning for a pond and oven .   That last post in September of 2020 , I mentioned building it on *top* of our large drywell.   When I go back and read those posts, I can see the evolution in thinking - from close to the patio to utilizing the lower elevation on the northside to placing it on the drywell to deal with any potential heaving.  They all make sense.  And, that's what I've been thinking the past few weeks as I've moved into real planning mode. I'd like to call 2024 the year of the pizza oven.  Or, at least...the pizza oven foundation and stand.  Let'

Weeping Nootka Cypress Tree Update - September 2023

The biggest, most-interesting, focal-point conifer in our backyard is a small Weeping Nootka Cypress tree that I planted in late May of 2021 in one of the big, swooping curves along the north side of the beds about 2/3rds of the way back.   It has now been 28 months (May 2021 --> September 2023) since this was planted and although I was quite concerned about this thing surviving, I can report that the tree has not only survived, but has been putting on a small amount of growth.  Below is a photo showing the current shape and size of this focal-point evergreen tree: It isn't super easy to tell, but when I compare the photos over the years, I can see that it has put on height from the leader (apical meristem) and all of the limbs have extended with new, pendulous growth.  The 'skirt' from the lowest limbs has grown, too.  But, I haven't touched this with a pruner since it went in and I think that's the right move.  My plan is to keep watering this in until the fir

Northern Catalpa Two-Year-Old Seedling - September 2023

We have a few large, mature Northern Catalpa trees in our yard that I've really grown to appreciate over the years.  They're native trees that have H U G E leaves, put out a really nice set of interesting, white flower blooms on the trees in early Summer , and have a little Fall-show in them with a turn to golden yellow before dropping their large leaves.  They leave behind long, lean seed pods that I've tried to grow into seedlings , but I don't think that I've ever successfully sowed a Northern Catalpa tree on my own. But...they also produce quite a few volunteer trees.   In the Fall of 2022, I dug up and transplanted one of those volunteer seedlings and moved it into the little, corner bed of our back patio; tucked in between the Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grasses.  I watered it to get it established and then left it alone.  Two years later, what does that little volunteer (transplanted) tree look like?  See below for the current state of the tree.  It has grown

Building a Floating Backyard Boardwalk - July 2023

As far back as Summer of 2017 (the Summer we moved into our house), I've been posting, talking, dreaming and planning for the 'entrance' to our backyard along the northside of our house.  This post from July 2017 shows where we started - a small, narrow strip of land between our screened porch and our fence that has a grade down from our house .    In the six (yes...SIX) years since then, I've looked at this problem a ton of ways.  I've had pros come up with designs .  I found inspiration on YouTube that included a waterfall .   And, I began to address some of the issues with this spot.   What were those issues? 1.  Privacy.  We needed to add some screening along this fenceline to make our patio and screened porch usable. 2.  Access.  Getting from our driveway to our patio has been tough - the grade has been the biggest pain. 3.  Size.  It is narrow in there.  4.  Cost.  How can I accomodate the right mix of materials and construction to make the costs work. Now...