Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Room With A View

We had a lovely Easter. A small celebration with Jen and her family. The day began with a celebration of Christ's Resurrection at the Sunrise Service, a long family tradition. My mother's favorite place to celebrate Easter was at Red Rocks, a natural amphitheater west of Denver. I cooked a prime rib roast for dinner, the girls hunted Easter eggs, and we just had a nice day.

We have had a project going on that I have held off writing about until there was something really worth sharing.

One of features of the Garden Spot that we love so much is the openness of the space. The house sits toward the front of the 5 acres facing west. Previous owners made certain improvements. The first owner added the patio on the back of the house that faces a large  back yard that was once fenced with a pole fence. Owner 4 removed the fence. The original patio was somewhat functional, but had some major problems. Built on a table of dirt and sand, it was made of interlocking paving stones. Each year more and more ants dug their tunnels beneath the pavers, causing them to shift and sink. Weeds growing between the pavers became more of a problem, requiring Round-Up to get rid of them--a constant battle to keep the weeds controlled. Nor was there any shade. So early this spring, we made the decision to turn the patio into a usable space. The Head Gardener found a web site of a local company that builds patios. The estimate was reasonable so the work began.

Last year we cut down the large Russian Olive that provided shade, but it was a dirty, ugly tree.

Hot all through the day, the patio without shade just was not a pleasant place.

Dandelions in the lawn are one thing, but on the patio. Nope. No more.

And so the work began. First the removal of the pavers.

A very young man owns the company that builds patios, gazebos, and pergolas. These 3 young men worked very hard and were are very good at what they do.

After the pavers were removed, next the dirt had be hauled off. Using a hand operated bobcat with a loader, load after load of dirt was hauled off. Some was piled out in our corral, but most was hauled over the the neighbors.

The Russian Olive stump was ugly, which began to grow new shoots, refusing to give up. The stump also had roots that ran for many feet underneath the original patio with roots as big as 6 inches in diameter. We had a tree company come with a stump grinder to remove the ugly stump and its roots.

A note on the Russian Olive. They were planted in abundance during the Great Depression in the '30s as a part of Roosevelt's WPA to get men back to work. Today in Colorado they have been declared a nuisance plant, a weed. Many were planted along ditch banks; now they are known to be water hogs, sucking   water that could be used more efficiently watering agricultural crops. I had a college student whose summer job was working for the state to remove these trees. 

They do have some redeeming qualities that made me think twice about removing ours: the blooms smell so good in the spring and the tree was a hum with bees gathering pollen from the blossoms. The birds loved the tree. Each spring it would be full of little warblers eating bugs. But in the end after all of the consideration, the tree had to go.

The dirt has been removed, the hole dug for the support beams, and the cement poured to support the beams.

Now the wood floor joists are added.

For the floor we chose Trex Decking, a composite decking that should hold up better than treated wood.

And here it is. I spend the day with little Lily yesterday, missing out on watching the pergola go up built with treated wood.

What a surprise. The first thing I noticed was that the living room was not as bright. I really do not know how I feel about that yet.

There is still a lot of work to do yet. The skirting around the deck has to be added and the wrought iron railing for the steps will be added once we can find suitable railing. We will look at salvage yards for railing. I get to shop for new patio furniture, too. We will keep our table and chairs, but I want to add an area rattan rug and two chairs and a coffee table. I love serving Sunday breakfast on the patio. And, of course, there will be hanging flower baskets and pots of plants. The garden beds around the edge need to rebuilt and as you can see there is more brick work to be done to rebuild the garden beds.

We are having a family reunion in June and we wanted a usable space for the picnic. Can't wait.

Other Projects

The Head Gardener ordered four baby chicks. They are blue laced red wyandottes. Click on the link to see what the adults look like. They really are pretty hens that will lay brown eggs.  Right now they live in the Rubber Maid tub brooder underneath a nice warm heat lamp. They cheep and peep in sweet little baby voices.

Of course I had to play a bit with them.

My Happy Easter Face Book card.

Isn't she cute? 

The days are warmer. We hit 80 yesterday. The garden plants in the living room are growing. The squash may have blooms any day now. LOL. The tomatoes are ready to be transplanted into larger pots.

Out in the garden the asparagus planted last year is breaking through the ground. I have been so anxious waiting to see if it survived the winter. The two original asparagus plants now in their 3rd year were sending up such healthy, beautiful shoots, but they froze. More new shoots are coming, but I was sadly disappointed at the loss of such healthy asparagus. We are still about three weeks out before we begin planting the garden; in the meantime, we have plenty of work to do get the patio gardens back in shape.

I hope I haven't worn you out with so many pictures of the patio. I can hardly contain myself. Tonight grilled chicken. 

I hope you are having a lovely week. I hope all of your spring dreams are coming true. By looks of your lovely spring gardens, they are bringing you great joy, for I know that I am enjoying your beautiful garden photos. 

Thanks for stopping by. And I think I said it before, but once again thank you so much for your sweet, supportive comments on dear, sweet Country. We do miss him.

Have a great week. Thanks for visiting.


  1. Wow! That's quite a deck project! You'll enjoy it so much!
    I'm excited to finish the year and regroup. I don't think I'll be sorry because teaching is so all-consuming. I still love learning so very much that I'm eager to see where that takes me.
    Oh, and then of course there are the grand GRANDS! Yippee!

  2. What a change that made! We've thought about doing a pergola in our courtyard. I've never really known if it would give enough shade but yours looks like it is working well. That's a big project and I know you're glad to have it done. It looks beautiful with the colors of your house, too. Enjoy your week my friend! Hugs, Diane

  3. Wow, you guys have sure been busy, what a beautiful job you guys did. I can't believe you have had temps in the 80's ;) I can't wait to finally get a bit warmer here.

  4. Ann, first the asparagus, don't worry, at the farm the entire crop freezes before it gets picked. It will return with more shoots, just be patient. That deck is stunning, so worth it...I love the change it has made to the area.

    Anemone Canadensis...and can't find it anywhere. None of the nursery staff have even heard of it..sigh.


  5. Wow what an amazing difference - I can tell you are 'dead chuffed' as we say in the UK. Now you have the pleasure of all the planting to make it a pretty place to sit - now you can enjoy your summer in the shade.

  6. Perfect to have a place where you can sit in the shade and still enjoy the outside.

  7. Ah, the high plains desert. I read alls comments and sigh. Sometimes with relief and sometimes with ah. Ou climate is so dry and so arid sometimes it is hard to grow anything. And our soil is awful! Everything that exists east of the Rocky Mountains that is taller than 8" has been brought here and planted. Mom and dad work so hard and they deserve this pergola. Great job mom and dad! Love it. Can't wait to bask under with a cheeseburger and some of moms pasta and fruit salad while we chat about the trees and grass and how awesome the boys are!!!

  8. I enjoyed this post, Lynn! I love your new deck/patio with the pergola; we would really love to have a nice outdoor space here at our house. It looks like your contractor did a great job. It will be the perfect place to host a family reunion. :)

    Those baby chicks are ADORABLE!! Love your Facebook Easter card -- just perfect. I'm glad you had a nice Easter, Lynn; thanks for your visit and have a great weekend!



  9. Your new pergola is stunning! I'm sure you'll love it in use.

  10. I love your new deck! We had part of our patio rebuilt recently, too. Are you going to add a vine to the pergola? Cardinal Climber would attract hummingbirds. Those chicks are so cute I'd be out there with them all day. :o)

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