Friday, June 9, 2023

Time for A Refresh!

Time to redo the lakeside. For those who have followed along with our move to South Carolina thirteen years ago, some of these photos might be familiar. We built the house, dock and lakeside patio while in Virginia. We documented the progress each time we visited.


The bank of the lake was river rocks as riprap. The elevation in the backyard went from lake level of 440 feet above sea level to 450 feet above sea level near the trees to about 460 where the house is located.

Flagstone patio 2013
The flagstone patio was a nice spot to sit and enjoy lake views. Our brightly colored chairs stand out, allowing those on the water to know where our place is. 


Over the years the gardens evolved. The slope about killed me when trying to pull weeds or even walk on the pine straw.  In 2019 we decided to do a makeover and streamline the plant material. Ferns, Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah',  Illicium parviflorum 'Florida Sunshine' and a few Podocarpus macrophyllus 'Pringles Dwarf' lined the shoreline. Looked good for a while....


Winter water levels are lower, so you see some of the sandy shoreline. Ferns and some of the Panicum filled in, the deer kept eating the Podocarpus, and about half of the Illicium failed.


Midway through the thirteen years we had some heavy rains that over the years created a washout under the patio near the stone steps to the dock. The patio was in a slow collapse. The weeds grew up through the spaces between the stones. Some of the weeds were trees with long tap roots or wild hibiscus that reseed all along the shoreline with large root systems, both tough to pull out.


Fast forward to this winter- the decision was made to get a seawall to replace the riprap, semi-level out the slope of the yard in the lower area, remove the patio and sod it to create an easier area to maintain. Permits were obtained, then the sequencing of removing the electric line from the house to the dock and back to the irrigation pump, removing the irrigation lines and pump, disconnect the fresh water line from the house to a spigot near the pump, then wait for the seawall work to begin. Heavy equipment came in and made quick work of the yard and seawall installation. 


Getting things put back wasn't as easy, nor timely. The irrigation and electric guys sort of coordinated their work, wet weather delayed a good bit of it. (Short story- we installed a new pump in the late summer. When it was time to disconnect it for the winter, it went quite easily. After patting ourselves on our backs, we forgot to turn off the power to the pump at the house. The pump was scheduled to run that night... oops. Not sure if the pump has an automatic shut-off but we worried that the pump burned out. Since it was already drained, we just waited until reconnection in the spring to see if we needed to buy another new pump.) Once the electric was back connected we tested the pump. Hooray!! The pump wasn't burned out, works well. After the electricians finished, then we waited for irrigation to be put back in. After installation, I tested the valves and all were working! 
Because of the rain and no sod in the lower part of the yard, I had no need to run the sprinklers until a few days ago. A couple sprinkler heads are no longer connected, so until they come back out I have some hoses and sprinklers to get the areas where needed.
Sod time. The guys came and prepped the yard for two days to level out the ravines where rain had worn ruts in the raw soil. There were a lot of large rocks that needed to be removed, you can't grow grass on a rock. Sod was put down today. Once it is rooted in and growing this lower part of the yard will be a great spot to play with the grandkids when they visit and the dog(s).

2023 June
The yard is a lot bigger!! Thanks for reading!

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