Lay of the Land

Tonight’s entry won’t be that interactive.  We worked out at the land tonight and I didn’t take any photos.  The excavator is almost done rough grading the property so we went out with the boys to take a look.  Nearly all the mounds of clay around the house have been relocated, much of it going to the corner of the property where we’ll build up an area to encourage a natural pond to form.  The pond will help manage storm water on the property and provide habitat for wildlife.  It’s strictly optional but I think it’ll be a nice feature.

I know there is a slight discrepancy between the landscape architect’s plan, the survey and where the actual house ended up.  After dinner I grabbed my 200′ tape measure, plot plans and family and headed out to the site.  I located a couple of the landmark stakes the surveyor put in around the pond area and, with the help of my two year old son, I measured out the rough area for the pond.  The problem with working with a two-year old is that it’s like working with a small child.  He doesn’t stay put, so after I measure about 60′ from end of “pond” to the other, I look back and the little guy holding the “dummy” end of my tape measure has walked about 12′ towards me telling his “da da” that he’s holding the measuring tape….Alright sixty feet, minus twelve feet equals forty-eight feet…..good enough.  How well my landscaping plan is executed currently hinges on the whims of a kid who carries around a pink phone, and attempts to eat green walnuts when I’m not looking.  I really should splurge and get some more senior level assistance.

The pond site is a nice crescent shaped area and won’t require the removal of any trees, save one 2″ diameter oak or ash (I forget which kind).  We’ll relocate that tree, even if it’s an ash.  incidentally, if you don’t know, all the ash trees on the property have a date with destiny at some point because of the invasive emerald ash bore which will basically make ash trees extinct in Ohio for all intents and purposes.  We have quite a few elm trees too which also will die out when they reach a certain age.  I learned a lot about trees and identification of them while planning the house and landscape, all in thanks to our landscape architect.

Since we were out there I decided to end my curiosity and roughly plot out the wine & sculpture garden, or outdoor “room”.  (yes, my nose is in the air while I type this, how’d you know? Make fun all you want but if you ever come over I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.  We can talk in a snooty tone and I’ll splurge and buy $12 bottles of wine for you to enjoy.)  This will be a nice area to entertain small parties, have formal outdoor dinners and entertain art friends and patrons.  It’s about 40′ square and surrounded by a variety of trees and bushes.  It was pretty easy to measure off the house and spray paint a couple of the corners.  It was nice to finally start visualizing.  We have a lot of extra dirt from the house but I think there’s enough real estate to spread it around.  There’s a slope where the wine “room ” is so we’ll level it out and stage the nature trails winding down to the pond area.  I was also able to confirm that one of the cherry trees we saved won’t be in the way of this particular room. 

Towards the middle of the house, the alcove we carved out for the basement window will necessitate that the fern garden be a bit larger outside the window, but this isn’t a big deal.  Beyond that we have an idea where the vegetable garden will go but that, like much of the landscaping will go in next year so we’ll fine tune that then.

Working our way across the biggest change will be with the play area and outdoor pavilion.  Both of which, as drawn now impede into the west preservation area.  I think the house ended up being seated about 16′ too far west.  But this is okay because I’m not sure I’d want it further east.  We’ll have to rework these areas to accommodate our needs and keep the aesthetic of the master plan.

I wrapped up the evening by measuring out the front yard.  There are two yard areas but we’ll only put one in to start with.  The other yard area will remain a meadow on the southwest end of the property.  I was happy to see a piece of dead standing timber will be in the south preservation area and provide a nice natural sculpture to gaze at.   It, like all the dead standing timber on the property, will provide habitat for birds and insects.

Tomorrow I’ll go over the final grading plans with the excavator and then it should be back to focusing on the house as rough framing commences.


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