The house is coming along, inside and out. Last week Tom and I completed two outdoor projects that were important to us.
What do you do first when you move into a new home? First you make sure it is safe and fix anything that isn’t. We had some electrical work done in the first week we lived in the house. Then you tackle whatever is bothering you the most. Two outdoor projects were bothering us.
For Tom that was the gutters and the drainage around the house. He noticed right away that the ground immediately around the house was sloping toward the house. Everyone knows that the ground is supposed to slope away from the house so you don’t have water in the basement or crawl space whenever it rains.
Fixing it usually entails buying a load of dirt and hauling it to spots around the house. The previous owners of our house provided piles of dirt along the back edge of our property so we didn’t need any hauled in. We bought a Gorilla cart instead of a wheelbarrow. I have problems balancing a wheelbarrow and a four wheeled wagon was a better option. Tom filled the cart up with dirt, and then dumped and spread it around the house. There were places where he had to add 12 inches of dirt, so he took that wagon back and forth a lot.
While he was adding the dirt, we had a couple of hard rains. While it rained, Tom watched the rain pour over the gutter at the front of the house. This was the place where so much of the dirt was washed away. Once the rains stopped, he repaired the gutter, which was missing some screws and sagging. Then he added another downspout.
After filling in all the dirt and replacing the mulch in the landscaped beds, Tom used corrugated pipe to divert all the downspouts away from the house. Previously they were all going straight down into the ground, so we couldn’t see where the water was going. It has only rained once since he made the changes, but I am confident we won’t see water gushing over the gutter again.
The outdoor project that was bothering me was the limestone wall around the large landscaped bed in the front yard. Although it looks like the wall was well made to begin with, over the years roots and freezing and thawing have shoved the stones out of place. So I patiently dug each stone out, leveled the ground, and carefully replaced the stones. Tom had to help me get some of the stones out because they were pretty deep or covered by dirt and mulch.
It took me several days to rebuilt the wall because it was after I injured my back and lifting some of the stones was difficult. Some of the stones were in so deep that we just left them buried and started over on the edge. I also expanded the bed where the trees had grown up and out. We ended up with a little shortage of stone. I want to have at least two layers of stone all the way around the bed. Three would be preferable for staying in place. But we will have to buy some more limestone in order to do that. A project for another day.
Tom and I have enjoyed working on our two outdoor projects. Now we will move on to the things that are next on our list.