Saturday, September 18, 2010

No middle ground (literally)

The do-it-yourselfers are doin' it again:

This cache represents a small part of our first wave of backyard landscape haulage... the van will swallow almost everything, but we needed a trailer for those 10-foot Italian cypress (cypresses?!).  

Instant gratification was a prerequisite for this job.  I was NOT going to build a house and then wait five years for the foliage to grow beyond being dinky little stubs.  We needed a yard that looks like it's about at the same stage of life as we are, so most of our plantings are starting out with 30-gallon root balls: not only is it big to start with, but it will grow faster, too.   

But here's the sobering part:  Lawrence (having had some experience with landscaping) figures that this job we are doing would cost somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 if we hired a contractor to do it for us.  Do-it-yourself cost:  about $1,000, even buying this more mature vegetation (it's late September so the local greenhouses are offering 70% off retail).  

In other words, you can pay $1,000, OR you can pay $15,000.  What you CAN'T do is pay anything in between for a partial job.  I would love to pay someone another $1,000 to help me get this stuff into the ground, but it's not available in that form, unless you want to hire one of Houston's half-million or so illegal immigrants which, as a legal immigrant, I am NOT inclined to do. 

This is yet another case where (like my car radiator) you either have the skills yourself, OR you get financially screwed beyond recognition. 

We haven't laid out the arrangement yet, but you get the idea, and the four cubic yards of topsoil I had trucked in and stashed on the vacant lot next door should make for some really nice contouring.  Cayley said, "What are we doing, installing our own forest out there?!?!"

And in this case, ya don't even need that many skills because Randy Lemmon has done all the headwork FOR you

Mostly what you need is a strong back, which I have.  And it's about to get stronger: landscaping is one of my favorite types of exercise because it involves natural movements encompassing the entire body.  I began the digging yesterday, but it was a miserably hot day so I did not enjoy myself much.  But I'm getting into the swing of things, and really enjoyed myself today, which was cool(er) and breezy due to rain bands thrown off by Hurricane Karl.  Out in the fresh air, breeze on my face, sculpting my bod... I do really enjoy that.  

More pics to come as we move this mega-project along.

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