10 February 2016

Heights House 7: Planting Trees For Privacy

I'm a little behind on posts on progress at the new house. I have a few posts in the works and need to get a few more photos. A couple of weeks ago The Man worked with a local tree company to solve a few landscaping issues around our property.

One of the issues was the long driveway to our home. When one drove down the driveway there was an opening in the trees that opened right up to our neighbors parked cars in their driveway. It was a really weird focal point for entering our home environment.

There were two trees that had been planted in that spot but they were too small and would've taken years to grow and fill in -- and it looked like they were sickly already. The guys were able to plant three trees in that opening that are much bigger and fit in so perfectly to close off that gaping opening to the neighbors parked cars. The impact is pretty amazing and makes the drive up the driveway feel much homier and inviting to our home instead of facing the neighbors minivan and truck.

The team also planted a small bonsai pine behind our mailbox that filled in the spot nicely and will stay small. The final challenge and one that really has bugged The Man was that the back of the house to our north looked right into our backyard and pool area.

I have to first say a little something about the pool. We looked at so many houses that had pools and didn't want a pool. But we live in the southwest. There are a lot of pools. So we ended up choosing a house despite the pool, not hunting for a house that had a pool. Although I will say it's a perfect little rectangle pool and we already have a nice collection of pool toys and can't wait to use it more next summer. We only had about 3 weeks to use it this past summer before it got too cold. The upkeep is a bit much so far for the little time we've used it.

But our backyard was one of the big selling points for me. It has a wonderful big flagstone patio that I envision will host many family and friend dinners over the years. I cannot wait to get out of this cast and in the spring get out there and hang strings of lights from the trees across the patio.

My goal for this winter was to make a big dining table for that space while it was cold outside. But I don't see myself making furniture this winter. Maybe I'll whip something up later in the spring. Maybe that can be my birthday gift to myself. I'd love to make something from reclaimed wood that will stand the test of time.

(While I'm typing this I'm remembering that our friend has some sort of metal bending machine - wouldn't it be lovely if I commissioned The Man to make me some hairpin legs for a table?! -- my other thought while I'm writing this is that maybe it would be better to make two tables that I could use end to end for a big crowd OR use separately for a buffet table and the other for more intimate settings for a smaller group.) Oh, man! I cannot wait for summer - and to start having all those parties outside that I have been dreaming about.

Anyway let me pull myself back from all my fantasizing and get back to the landscaping. Ha. So privacy was really in the end the number one most important item on our house hunting list. We let quite a few houses go because there was no privacy in the backyard. Some of those houses were quite lovely and it was sad to walk away. But when push came to shove, we both wanted privacy after years of living too close to too many people in urban California - and having zero privacy.

Every time The Man stood at the north end of our pool deck he saw the neighbors' house. So when the team came and planted trees he also closed up that opening with a couple of big trees. Now the backyard has complete privacy from windows of neighbors on all sides. It's quite lovely and I think next summer when we're running around in bathing suits, we'll be quite happy to have complete privacy.

This project really was a labor of love by The Man. He did a lot of planning with the tree man and made sure as they were planting that all objectives were met. We were lucky to have the tree man who has done a lot of work in our neighborhood and knows this house and our neighbors. So he was able to give great advice and at the same time the neighbors were happy to see him rather than bothered by the noise and disruptions. (Yay.) There was a lot of running across the lot to stand at the north end of the pool to look out through the trees to make sure they were positioned just right.

Because our yard is pretty rocky and uneven outside of the part of the property that is walled-in backyard, I haven't had a chance to walk around see everything because of the broken foot. The driveway is uphill and none of my modes of transportation are too great on sloped surfaces. But in a few weeks I can't wait to take a nice walk around the perimeter of the property and see all the changes up close. What I have seen so far has made us all so happy.

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