Home Improvement: September 2005 Archives

Staining

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Mother Nature has hooked me up with some dry days to get some staining in before that wet northwest winter y'all hear about kicks in. Couldn't have asked for dreamier weather going into October.

Went with Cabot Stain in the color "bark mulch". Here's some before/after to give you an idea.

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Sandbox

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I finally finished my first project in the backyard. And no, the fence still needs work. This raised planter currently looks more like a sandbox than anything else. And Zizou is definitely treating it as such.

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After I finally figured out the right drill bits and such, it came together pretty easily. Digging the trenches is by far the worst part. If you're keeping score, it's all 4x6 landscape timbers, some 2 foot rebar banged through the base level into the ground, and 3/8"x10" steel spikes holding the rest of the timbers together.

I must admit that the words "day laborer" have danced through my head to dig the trenches for terrace dos...but there's no fun in that...

Terrace Club

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The fence still isn't finished, but for some reason I have moved onto the next project--terraces. I have basically been following the USDA's instructions on this one--I have faith in my government to not lead me astray.

So here's what things looked like after digging:

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And here is where things stand at the end of work today:

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The 3lb hammer you will see at the bottom of the picture above doesn't quite have what it takes to pop the steel spike through the landscape timber. I'm going to have to come up on a 20lb sledge or something. It should be about four timbers high when done--each timber is a pressure-treated 4x6 (arsenic free, of course).

The primary benefit of this project is to slow down the waterflow/erosion on the slope. The secondary benefit is it will make for easier planting. You'll notice that the soil is less than ideal--filled with rocks and blackberry roots. With this raised planter, it should be easier to manipulate the pH of the soil and whatnot to grow orchids and venus flytraps.

Ideally I will dig out another one of these right above. But I'm going to wait to see how this bad boy looks first.