From time to time we like to feature projects on our site. This winter we worked on a particularly large project. We were contacted by a client about having a property that had "been let go", brought back to life.
When we arrived we realized this property really had been let go. Over the course of about 5 years, the property owner could not dedicate the time to the property that was necessary. As you can see, it got a bit out of control. This project originally started as a landscape clean out, structure tear down, low maintenance landscape design project. It has since changed into a complete remodel. More on that later.
Landscape Clean Out
The first issue with this property was getting it back to a manageable state. Blackberry bushes had taken over and grown to more than ten feet in height. Because of the height and thickness of the overgrowth we had to dig out the majority of these bushes by hand. This was extremely labor intensive and I cannot thank my crew enough for the work they put in. Once the bushes were knocked down and manageable we began to haul away debris. By the end of day three, we had hauled away more than 10 tons of debris.
Once the debris was removed we used a backhoe to scrape the ground and ensure roots were pulled up so the blackberry bushes would not return.
On the fourth day, we began to demolish and remove a 20x20 garage. The garage was badly damaged. Because of this, we had to use extreme caution when taking it down to ensure safety for our workers and the surrounding properties. The garage and its contents accounted for another 5 tons hauled off the property.
Once the demolition and cleanup portion of the project was over. We began to lay out the plans for bringing this property back to life. After a meeting with the owner, we settled on a list of projects that would completely transform this property.
Landscape design and installation including:
We worked with the property owner and proposed a few different landscape designs to simplify their property and the amount of maintenance it would need going forward. Ongoing maintenance is always something you want to consider when starting with a new landscape design. We focus on the usability of our landscape designs. We do this to ensure the owner gets the most value out of their property. Have you ever walked through a house and wondered why it is laid out the way it is? That is exactly why usability is our focus in landscape design.
We started to lay out the landscape design and began working through the project list. The first things we checked off the list was to pressure wash all concrete and siding of the property to prep it for paint. On the same day, we began setting posts for the new cedar fence. We set posts for 50 linear feet of fencing.
I want to touch on one trick we use when pressure washing concrete. If we have the option, we always apply bleach to the concrete before pressure washing. Bleach is especially effective at removing mold and mildew. A common problem found in concrete in the northwest. You do need to be careful with this though. There are certain types of concrete that can be damaged by bleach. You can also damage vegetation, and metals when using bleach. We use bleach most often when doing pressure washing as a portion of a total landscaping redesign.
At DH Land Pros we pride ourselves on fence building. We have more than 125 years of fence building experience on our team. During that time we have picked up a few tricks that help keep fences strong and beautiful for years to come. One tip I want to cover here is related to setting posts. Some companies will tell you they can set posts and construct the fence on the same day. Sure, they can, but they shouldn’t. The cement used to set fence posts needs a minimum of 24 hours to set up before you should apply pressure to your posts. If you’re looking to have a fence put up and are told it can be completed in one day, we recommend you avoid that company.
As we continued working through the project list the landscape started taking shape. The fence was completed in two days, the house was painted, and we had begun to lay the groundwork for new beds and sod. At the same time, we started to set up the patio and paver walkway. A tip for these types of jobs is to complete the concrete work before installing beds or sod. Always do your hardscaping before your landscaping.
At this time we had begun to work on the interior of the home. It started with a full clean out. Once we got the home cleaned out we begun to focus on the interior projects.
Interior Project List:
The focus of the remodel was to get the house cleaned up and ready for the sale. The owner realized it was best to sell the home rather than try and manage multiple properties and risk this beautiful home looking like it did when we started.
Before and After
Seattle Outdoor Living Space
This month’s featured project comes in the form of a complete landscape redesign and outdoor living space addition. We were contacted by longtime home owners from the Mount Baker neighborhood about having a landscape design done that would allow for less yard maintenance and more enjoyment.
The project included a landscape clean out and refresh in the front and a complete tear out in the backyard, with an irrigation system installed in both yards. We also added a paver patio, pergola, custom fireplace, new sod, trees, and beds. Once the design was agreed on we got to work.
We started by removing all of the smaller plants and bushes so we would have access to remove a couple of trees that often blocked the front windows of the home. Once we had all of the plants and trees removed we started digging for the irrigation system. After completing the irrigation system we started on bed maintenance and reinforced the older concrete walls ensuring the new design would hold up for years to come. With the addition of the irrigation system, we added some drainage to the existing beds. This is something that many “after thought” irrigation system installations don’t do, and it’s crucial. With the addition of an irrigation system, you will be bringing a significant amount of water into the landscape design. Water is heavy and erosive. You need to make sure to get the excess water out of the landscape in a controlled way.
We used tulips in the front beds and planted a few small bushes that should grow in to fill the empty space. The goal for the front yard was to make it inviting, simple, and low maintenance.
the homeowners wanted a space that was more than “a grass backyard”, so we can up with a design that integrated the use of a paver patio large enough for a custom concrete fireplace. We finished it off with a Pergola and they had the outdoor entertaining space they were after.
The biggest challenge in this backyard was the slope. The yard inclines from the house out to the edge of the property causing a water flow issue. Everything runs directly to the house. With the amount of rain we get here in Seattle, this was a problem. We started by digging out a level area for the paver patio. Pavers are great to work with, but can cause problems if you do not have the ground perfectly level. Pavers need to be laid over firmly pack sand, on top of the tightly packed soil. Once we had the ground level we poured the concrete fireplace and let it set. Once set, we repacked the sand to ensure it was still level with the flat surfaces of the fireplace and started installing the pavers. We used a two brick crisscross pattern to achieve the look the homeowners were after.
Once the fireplace and pavers were completely set we began to build the pergola. We completed the outdoor living space first because we wanted to make sure we would not have heavy materials like lumber and pavers laying on freshly installed sod or beds. The landscaping quickly came to shape because aside from removing the old lawn, the yard was in fairly well-kept condition when we started.
This project provided the homeowners with a new space to use during the summer months, a low maintenance front and back yard as well as an updated look and cared for look.