More Mulch Madness

More Mulch Madness

My readers will remember last year’s posts on wood chips mulch. I called a local tree service and asked for a truck load of wood chips fresh from the chipper. And this is what I got:

It's about 5' high, 10'across. That means probably about 10 cubic yards.

It’s about 5′ high, 10’across. That means probably about 10 cubic yards.

It’s now 16 months later, and my pathways have composted down to almost nothing, and all the garden beds need a new layer as well. So since last year I had way more than I needed, my neighbour, and friends of theirs, thought we could split a load amongst us all.

This is what came last Friday:

Dang close to 20 cubic yards!

Dang close to 20 cubic yards!

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Easily double the size of last year’s mountain.

So besides re-doing all the pathways, adding 3-4″ in all planting beds (over top of foliage that will be soon be turning to mush anyway), I decided it was time to convert most of my back yard from lawn (ie, buttercup lawn) to… something else.

Mulch Madness!

Mulch Madness!

I used Doug-fir cones to mark out the curved edge of the new planting bed/ something else space. Then once I’d wheel-barrowed as much as I could fit, I cut out a 4″ edge of turf and moved bricks from their original location to their new location.

I didn't do such a great job of making a nice smooth semi-circle.

I didn’t do such a great job of making a nice smooth semi-circle. I may yet fix that…

This side is a bit better.

This side is a bit better.

So I’m pretty excited to actually have a chance to “design” something in my back yard. As you’ll have noticed (and I’m sure I’ve said as much) my garden isn’t designed, it’s just a research lab for plants and projects. Now I think I’ll be more intentional about what I do in this new space. Stay tuned… Mind you, you’ll have to be patient while you “stay tuned”, since it will be most of a year before I can actually use this converted area. I left the turf in place (previously I’d dug it up from pathway areas and and turned it over elsewhere, then covered it with wood chips), so there’s a lot of composting yet to happen. Once it’s all raked over, the mulch will be 6-8″ deep.

But there are LOTS of wonderful beneficial bacteria and fungi in my mountain of mulch. Can you see the steam rising off this pile?

Very warm pile of wood chips already beginning the composting process.

Very warm pile of wood chips already beginning the composting process.

Questions? Comments. All welcome.

More Recent Designs

More Recent Designs

Vancouver

My first real Vancouver design. I’ve had clients in all the ‘burbs, so was really pleased when a contractor in (city of) Vancouver consulted me.

This house is in the final stages of completion–they were installing the kitchen as we did out final rounds. A traditional-styled house with a contemporary feel, all in cream and white. I did a formal-ish design, very recto-linear, but with softer shrub and perennial borders. the back is very simple, needing mostly turf, but with potential for a vegetable garden.

W 47th Ave

(Clearly, I have to consider spacing a little on the page more carefully so I don’t have various elements squeezed into too little space! The Legend and Scale on the one side and the plant list Key on the other…) Click to enlarge image.

 

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I really hope that in the future I’ll get my act together early enough to be able to get the design drawn, then scanned, then coloured, then scanned again, so I can post a scan instead of a photo! (Hence the crookedness of the image toward the left…) 

If a portion of the design needs a little more clarity I’ll do a SketchUp model (very simplified) in order to communicate what the plan view can’t. In this case it was how the grade change would look with a retaining wall and steps for access, with a tiny back yard seating area (between two garages) that could easily be converted to a vegetable garden (client’s request).

w 47th ave

The arbour is designed to match the decorative brackets at the back of the house and the garage. They aren’t visible in this view. (Click to enlarge.)

Richmond

A small back yard with an interesting feature–a slope! Those who know Richmond know that it’s FLAT. But on this property there is a steep slope of about 25-30º at the back end. Thus the owners “lost” about 15′ of depth, or 700 s.f. of yard. So they were having a retaining system installed–SierraScape Systems.

Rathburn Dr

The house is a very “cuboidal” style, so I contrasted it with lots of semi-circles and curves.

 

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Need to work on colour “subtlety”!

Stay tuned for more to come. Would love to hear comments, critiques, questions…

 

New Designs

New Designs

These designs haven’t been completely installed yet, so I don’t have “gardens” to show you.  But here’s a starter to “whet your appetite”.

Forest ave

Click on the image to enlarge.

This is a new site, corner, traditional looking house, black and charcoal grey, almost symmetrical. It’s on a slope, with a retaining wall about 50″ high across the back (top of the picture). I decided on a raised bed design, which is what the “W’s” are.

Blog pic

Click on the image to enlarge.

This is a SketchUp model of the raised beds. Poured in place concrete with benches built-in.

Next is a simple square backyard that the clients wanted to keep fairly square-looking, mainly turf, leaving room to install a lap pool next year.

Philips ave

Click to enlarge.

 

I’m getting a bit better at colour rendering:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s been difficult to discipline myself to get my projects completed earlier than later. So I end up taking pictures of the coloured design instead of getting it scanned before presenting it to the client. raynes arbour

 

SketchUp model of a little arbour/fence combination for the back. And Layout has these cool style options. In this case pastels.

So that’s it for the moment–it’s taken me all evening to figure out how to convert these pdf’s to jpg’s. More to come–stay tuned.

Comments? Questions?