Category Archives: The Softscape

Bits and pieces….odds and ends….

06JUn16 – Steve’s helping Larry, our cabinet maker, along by going to his shop and bringing back unlacquered cabinet fronts, etc as they’re ready and doing the rest of the work here.  It’s helping to speed up this ungodly – long process.  Little by little……

There’s a new home site being excavated on the mountain and the word is out that there are mountain laurels for the taking before they get trashed.  Why did I think I had the time to transplant 4 of them?  Trying to “Save the Laurels” I guess.

Two of 4 holes are dug.   Two more to go; moving 2 lilac bushes from where they’re not happy to the two dug holes, and putting in two of the laurels in the lilacs spots, then planting the 2 other laurels in the two ready- to-be-dug holes.  If that seems like a mouthful, image getting it done!


Still watering plants, deck railing, main floor window trim…..

15Jun15 – Not much to report this week.  We’re still watering plants religiously.  We’re going through a heat wave of 93 degrees that next few days, so we’ll be making trips to the artesian pond more frequently.

Steve has started to attached the veneer strips to his elaborate  railing top “form” on the demi-lune portion of the main deck.  I’ve never seen so many clamps at one time!  We have three 1/2″ layers of strips up – we’ll be finished at 11…. It’s a slow process.

We decided to lightly stain our cherry trim for more depth to the cherry.  After playing with loads of formulas (of course, plain cherry stain wasn’t working – too orange) we came up with 50%/50% Cherry wiping stain/Red Mahogany wiping stain diluted in 8 parts mineral spirits.  It works!  All the cherry window stools on the main level are in! (we learned that’s the correct term for the ‘sills’ on the inside.  Window sills are on the exterior.  Still sounds funny to me.)   It’s such a nice contrast to the maple trim around the windows.  Little by little, the inside is starting to look like the Maple Forest Cottage pictures I’ve seen for so many years.

Landscaping Day 12 – Done!

26May15 – The landscaping was finished today!  I spent most of the day away from the activities as I had a closing to attend to that took all day….  But here are some final shots.  It will be fun to see all the growth through the Summer.  More Landscape pics then.

Landscaping Days 10 & 11, and more Cabinet Carcasses

22May15 – Fred and crew are off for a long Memorial Day Weekend, and much deserved!  They’ve been working really hard, long hours to give us our beautiful yard.  We’re watering religiously, sometimes twice a day and so far ‘everyone’ is looking very happy.  The grass sod is even starting to take root.  Nature amazes me…..

Glenn, our cabinet maker, and his new assistant, Alphonso, came yesterday with more cabinet “carcasses”.  We’re supposed to actually get some door fronts, drawers, and cherry tops in the next two weeks.  What a long haul this cabinet process has been….

Landscaping Day 9

19May15 – More things happening with the landscapers today.  They are work horses!

Of course, this also means more trips down to the artesian well at the community entrance to fill our portable 210 gal in-the-back-of-the-truck water tank!  We make a couple to a few trips a day depending on the weather and the number of new plantings.  We’re actually enjoying the 6 min fill up as we watch the kazillion tadpoles grow.  Some are starting to grow their tiny frog legs.  Sounds silly, but it is such a peaceful respite from the crazy busy-ness of building our Maple Forest Cottage.

Landscaping Day 8

18May15 – Steve and I spent the weekend grading the driveway & parking area and cleaning up the accumulated mess.  With the help of an excavator and a skid steer, Steve has the grade just right so all rainwater will flow exactly where he wants it to.  Away from the house and to the designated drains.

Fred and crew (Charlie, Ian, & Neal) are back after taking Friday off to get more plants, etc.  We finally are getting some much needed rain here in the WNC mountains – yeah!  That means less trips to the artesian well& less hand watering!  However, the crew had to leave early because working in the rain & mud just isn’t a very great idea.  Here’s where we’re at today:

More Trees & Plants delivered! Days 6 & 7

14May15 – More Landscaping excitement along with a new adventure:  Our well ran dry with all the watering.  Oh no, say it isn’t so; not with more plants coming!  The well recovery time is not keeping up with the initial demands of all the flora.

So Steve, as resourceful as he is, located a 210 gal back-of-a-pick-up-truck portable water tank at the local Tractor Supply store, rented a gas powered pump  to extract water from a water source, and purchased a submersible pump to pump the water out at home.

There is an artesian well that feeds a waterfall  (at 30 gal per min) at the Entrance of our Community – 1.5 miles down the mountain.  So we head down to extract water from the pond, water what we need until we run out of water and then go back down to refill.  It only takes 6 mins to fill the 210 gal back-of-a-pick-up-truck portable water tank so it’s only a 15 min process.  Immediate problem/potential catastrophe solved.  Phew.

The Japanese Maple and the Red Maple trees were delivered and planted today along with a host of other plants.  Things are pretty messy right now, but we’re slowly seeing the evolution of our construction based dirt pit into a lovely landscaped yard.  When the driveway gets put in in a couple of weeks I’ll think I’ve died and gone to heaven!


Landscaping Days 4 & 5: Sod!

12May15 – So here we are with Days 4 & 5 in our Landscaping adventure.  Fred and his crew are doing such a super job. The front walkway is done, we have two paver door stoops at the lower level doors, and the back yard & entrance have been graded.  Today the sod arrived and about 1700 sf were unrolled and laid together.  Instant green!  Now all we have to do is keep it wet for a couple of weeks…..Ah, the pluses and minuses.



06May15 – This is so cool.  The landscaping process has begun.  I rushed off this morning to teach a Yoga class at the Community Center at the top of the mountain and came back home to Fred & crew starting to move dirt.  Grading and placing drainage happen first.  They started the front walkway this afternoon.  Gravel was delivered to place on the lower lever under the main deck.  This should be nearly a month long project so I’ll try not to bore you with too many pics.  Me, I’m in heaven for almost 30 days.  I’m going to soak this all in….

12May15 – Update:  Oops, I thought I had already posted this.  Here’s last week.  Will now do separate post since then……

Deck : Day 6 – Framing is finished! Grading the yard….

30Jul14 – They finished the deck framing this morning!! Wow – what an accomplishment.  We just love being able to sit out there and ended up napping last night before a late dinner.  So peaceful.

Steve & the guys cleaned up & graded the area around the deck – we’re a couple of dump truck loads away from finishing, but it’s actually looking groomed!  What a concept.

I ran into Asheville to pick up some straw matting, grass seed & wild flower seed (the guys were giggling as they learned they were going to be sowing flower seeds – too hilarious to listen to) and almost all was planted before the end of the day.  Back tomorrow to finish up!