More Vents, More Porch Paint

As I've talked about before, we have not so great drainage in the front of the house, especially in one specific corner. Recently we've tried a few things to help ventilate that area (lots of french drains in the front yard and our rain barrels). The next item on the list was to install some additional venting screens. Every house should have venting every 4 feet or so into their crawl space. And it's no surprise that because our house is nearly 90 years old we don't have proper venting. We installed a bunch on the back of the house last summer as we were prepping to have the house painted and it's always been on the list to install more on the sides.

Our hope was to install about 5-6 on the north side of the house (the one that has a really tight crawl space and some standing water), but because of the rim joists, there weren't too many good areas to cut out a 2x1 foot hole in the house, so we were only able to get two installed.

Like many things lately, the cast does not make me quick on my feet in a tight area, so Chris tackled the job himself

We've tried to get better about wearing our masks when we should, and using the grinder to cut through the stucco and rip it off definitely qualifies as one of those times

Once he cut through the stucco and wood he primed the wood to protect it from the elements

Then he popped in the venting screens, caulked around them and primed them (the new ones are the more silver ones)

Then I came around and painted them.

We also installed 2 more on the south side of the house. Although we don't have standing water on this side and it seems to have better drainage, we still wanted to make sure it had proper ventilation

You like our super professional method for making sure they adhere tight to the house after Chris installed them? They also got the same prime and paint treatment

But the fun didn't stop there.

The porches, or landing pads, (or whatever you want to call them) all look like crap. And after I painted the steps in the porch area at the front of the house I figured now was a good time to paint the rest of them.

Of course this meant clearing them all off first

And that task takes 4 times longer when you're wearing a cast because waddling around carrying heavy stuff is not easy. But once they were cleared off, hosed and scrubbed of their caked layers of dirt I began the fun task of scraping off all the loose paint. And again, in an effort to wear our masks at more appropriate times, when Chris reminded me that these porches were probably painted with lead paint I said "yeah yeah yeah give me my mask"

And then Chris took a really amazing picture of me working hard

Once I was finally done with all the scraping everything got hosed down and cleaned and I came around with the primer

And then I came back around with two coats of paint

This has definitely been a project that has been on the "kinda to do list" for a long time. But we had never picked a paint color for all the porches/stairs/landing pads so I just never did anything about it because there were always more important things to do. But with the front porch painted I finally had the paint and well, a cast on your leg prevents you from doing a lot of more important tasks, so in a way I guess being immobile helped to finally get this task accomplished. Thank you cast.


And the Front Yard Total Is....

Now that the front yard is DONE (hooray!!!) let's talk about how much it all cost (and a disclaimer, I round things to the nearest $5 because I'm lazy).

We spent $120 on the stones for the raised bed and landscape adhesive to help secure them in place

$40 was spent on Round Up killing the grass and $25 at the dump getting rid of it at their green waste station.

$180 was spent on our laborer helping us dig out the grass and the trenches for all of the drainage, $150 was spent on 2 jackhammer rentals, $165 on all of our drainage materials and another $65 on the drainage rock

$75 was spend on our mosaic planters (tile, plywood, grout)

Then we got to the exciting part of prepping to really get some stuff planted. And that's where just a little more money came in. $110 was spent on our roll of landscaping cardboard for weedblock, $505 was spent on all of our boulders, gravel and stepping stones, and $95 was spent on all the edging

The big total came with all the plants: $740. Yup, $740 was spent on alllllll our plants

And let me tell you, we saved over $300 because my awesome grandpa and his wife gifted us our wonderful Japanese Maple and my dad and Wendy gifted us the Coral Bark Maple. We are so amazingly lucky for all of their generosity. THANKS!!! :)

Topping off the front yard with mulch cost $195 and making sure all of our plants got watered with a drip system cost $75

When we got to working on the porch that cost us a pretty penny too: $50 in mortar, $100 in bricks and $55 in sand a caulking

Then it was time to gussy things up, so we spent: $45 on our bench, $50 on the planter tower, $30 on my garden gnome and his stand, and $60 on the porch paint (the bogenvia got totaled in the "plant" category and I put the planter total he's sitting in, in the price for the planter tower)

Then I like to leave an additional amount ($200) for things I most likely forgot - maybe a bag of mulch, some drip accessories, a plant or all the other things that probably slipped my mind

So let's add it all up:

$120 (raised bed paving stones and adhesive)
$65 (round up and dump)
$560 (laborer, drain materials, drain rock, jack hammer rental)
$75 (mosaic planters)
$710 (weekblock, boulders, stones, gravel, edging)
$740 (plants)
$270 (mulch and drip)
$205 (mortar, bricks, sand, caulking)
$185 (bench, planter tower, gnome, porch paint)
$200 (miscellaneous)

Grand Total: $3,130

$3000 was actually what I had in my head that I thought the yard would cost when we first started everything, so I'm pretty proud of myself for that guess. And frankly, I think that's a damn good price for everything we did. The drainage alone would have cost around $2,000 if we had hired someone to do the work for us, so I consider it a job well done

And it's really nice to look at :)


Before & After: The Front Yard

Hooray, hooray, hooray a Before & After is here! It has been quite a while since I have posted Before & After pics, so I am very happy to share our front yard transformation (though the front room and TV room were both started before and have yet to be completed...) But back to the good news!

This weekend we cleaned up before I snapped some pics yesterday afternoon when the sun was shining. Our house had actually gotten SUPER dirty with all the dust being kicked up from our grass removal, french drain building and crazy planting so we brought out the power washer and gave it a hose down

Our cars also got a nice hose down because they were similarly filthy. Especially Chris' truck. I think it had been a year plus since his car got a good bath

Those bright yellow spots are where he'd already hosed, and the brown...well, that's about 74 layers of dirt. After his truck got washed we put the truck top back on and he was finally able to park his car back in the driveway for the first time in about 2 months

And then there was that shit pile

Now, before you get excited thinking that we disposed of it all, I'll crush your dreams: we did not. Instead, I just moved it to another spot out view. Duh

And that, my friends, was the last item on my to do list before I waited patiently for the sun to poke out of the clouds yesterday so I could take the AFTER pics. YAY!!!!

Of course, for there to be an after, we must first visit the before. Here she blows, right when we got her

And now my amazingly fantabulous readers, he she glows today

Hooray!!!! Seriously, I fucking love our front yard. It meets all the requirements we asked Wendy to think about when I dragged her into designing it: LOW MAINTENANCE, DROUGHT TOLERANT, NO GRASS. Although we were always certain of those requirements, I was really afraid that our yard was going to look ugly, but how could I have ever doubted the amazing design skills of my fabulous step mom?

The following before shots are taken from all different times we've been slowly working - some building the raised bed, working on the drain, removing the grass. So forgive me if all the before's don't look like they're taken anywhere near the same time as each other. They're not.

Why hello ripped up driveway and partially dead grass

Helllooooo beautiful coral bark and pretty paver driveway

I am glad to forget the ginormous dirt pile

And now stare at a pretty raised bed full of pretty flowers

I think we can all agree that plywood over trenches is not a very welcoming walkway

But our stone paver walkway and mosaic planters are a wonderful way to say welcome

And of course there was the porch when we moved in: the weird step everyone tripped on and the hollow core front door that swung the wrong way and was about 4" too short so you could poke your toe under it

And now?

And here are some more angles that I just loved lots and lots :)

Ahhhhhh, it is so nice to be able to call this project DONE! I love our yard so so so so much. It certainly took a lot to get there - killing our grass, digging a ton of trenches in our yard and installing drainage, weed blocking the yard, the first and second round of planting, finishing up our walkway and putting our mosaic planters in place that we made ourselves, making a bench pretty, ripping out the small weird step and repainting and laying bricks in the porch, and installing the home's original gate. There were a bunch of other projects, but that's really all the links I felt like boring you all with :)

Just one more look at that after


Okay, now time to go fall over.