Fold It, I Need to Haul Some Dirt.

Once again another spring weekend is almost upon us, and that means at least for me, time in the yard landscaping. Earlier this year, I made a decision that Modular 4 was going to get some much needed yard love to boost curb appeal. The thing is, landscaping requires lawn tools. Lawn tools require space. I am kind of a nut when it comes to storage and things taking up space. So when I decided I needed some kind of wheel barrow/cart I also decided I needed something space saving, well designed, rugged, and functional. This is where the “Tipke 2100 Marine Fold-It Utility Cart” comes in.

Fold-it Cart looks like one of the better options out there. The cart is large enough and sturdy enough to carry fairly heavy loads (up to 350 pounds). It features large 20 inch wheels for easy maneuvering, a drop down tailgate so you can use it as a dump cart. The best part, when it is folded it occupies less than 2 square feet of storage space. The design is utilitarian, and innovative, but this something you will pay for. Fold-It rings the bell at $230.00 bucks on Amazon. It’s not cheap, but it takes up less space than a standard wheel barrow, and hauls just as much.


ORE Containers.

Over the weekend I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and began landscaping a section of my front yard. I spent a large portion of Saturday and Sunday, planning, and installing edging, moving dirt, and prepping for plants that will go in a couple of weeks from now.

While planning things out and surveying the entry to the house, I decided that I needed to add planters at key locations. I needed to anchor sections of the yard where it meets walkways and the structure of the house. I also started thinking about lighting and the roll it would play at night with the surrounding foliage. Thanks to ORE, I might be able to kill two birds with one stone.

Since 2003 ORE has focused on developing products for the garden design industry by manufacturing contemporary lines of signature containers, fire pits, benches and architectural elements in Utah. Designer Shane Larson used his expertise in sculpture and metal work to create a line of contemporary outdoor furniture that is durable, functional, and elegant. The products produced by ORE qualify for LEED points, if you are looking for ways to green your home, and yard.

I really like the metal cube containers and column containers with integrated LED lighting solutions. The simple shapes with bright color finishes, and hidden ground lighting, make a bold statement without overpowering the surrounding architecture, and landscape. All the containers are available in any of ten colors ranging from powder coated red to neutral gray.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everyone Should Get Stoned.

I got the bid back for building the concrete pad for the backyard patio earlier this week, and it looks like we are going to go for a late September build date.  A 9 by 17 foot concrete pad that will get covered with some type of stone next spring. It’s all part of the grand landscaping plans for the house. Anyway, since we are actually going to have a larger more functional outdoor seating area, we are probably going to need some lighting solutions as well.

I was trolling the internet looking for something visually cool, and I came across these lights from Y-Lighting. Design by Marta Laudani & Marco Romanelli with Massimo Noceto, Y-Lighting is now carrying “Stones Outdoor Lights” produced by Italian manufacturer Oluce.

Stones are outdoor lights that take on the familiar shape of large stones, just as the name implies. They are made of durable, weather-tested polyethylene. Stones can be used individually but based on the photo on the site, they look best in clusters. Each stone, uses a standard compact fluorescent bulb, to help with energy efficiency, and since compact fluorescent bulbs are now available with warmer light values, these could take on a yellowish cast depending on the bulb. There are 2 sizes available, roughly 10 by 14 and 16 by 24 inches respectively. The larger Stone costs $20.00 more.

The downside of Stones Outdoor Lights is that they aren’t cheap. At $407.00 most people probably aren’t going to be purchasing large volumes of these. The good news is Y-lighting offers free shipping, and there is no tax. I guess I need to start saving now, if I want to have these for next springs patio opening.

Looking for Inspiration, I Found Regents Park.

Since it’s raining outside and I have the day off, I thought I would do some additional research for the landscaping/patio project that I am going to start at the end of summer. While cruising around the web digging up inspiration, I came across this.

Designed by Amir Schlezinger for Regents Park London House, this roof top terrace is designed to blend interior and exterior spaces providing a lush retreat above and away from street level noise. This space features both a roof top garden and terrace with a water feature and fireplace. The benches echo the shape of the fireplace and anchor the low retaining wall. The Ipe hardwood  floor extends the interior flooring lines into the outdoor space and provide textural contrast to the granite in the water element and the pavers.

This terrace is an amazing piece of inspiration for those who want to blend their contemporary interior space with the outside world.

Photographs by Jerry Harpur.

Just In Time For Summer

It’s been awhile since I posted really anything about the house. Since today marks the first day of summer, and the almost 1 year point that we found out we were the new owners of “Modular 4”, I thought I would post an update about the landscaping efforts.

Over the weekend, we purchased 3 trees for the yard. A Dwarf Yellow Birch, a Bloodgood Japanese Maple, and a Ginkgo. These are the first 3 of 5 total. We are waiting until next spring to plant the Pink Flowering Dogwood, and the Rosehill Ash.

The Birch was chosen and positioned to create a visual break from the street to our front door. With a maximum height of about 30 feet when it is mature, we are hoping it will prevent people from looking right through the glass door into our living room when they are sitting on the street out front.

The Japanese Maple is positioned just in front of and to the left of the garage. The tree is sited between the house and garage, and will become an anchor to an asian influenced garden that is going to occupy the green space between the two buildings. The Maple is placed so that at maturity it will provide some shade to the garage, and front door of the house. The trick is going to be pruning and training the growth so that it doesn’t impede on our walkway or overwhelm the house itself. Unlike the Birch which grows up to 3 feet a year, the Maple is fairly slow-growing and should be easy to work with in the long run. It’s all about patience and a watchful eye.

Finally the Ginkgo. We placed it about 20 feet diagonally off the corner of the back deck. It is 1 of 2 trees that will sit in this general area. Right now we have no shade on the deck, and even though the Ginkgo is a slow-growing tree, within 5 or so years it should be larger enough to help shade the deck on warm summer afternoons. Since a stone patio will be going in later this summer below the deck the Ginkgo should create a solid visual anchor as it grows. The Rosehill Ash will fill in the space to the north-west of the Ginkgo giving us even more shade on the west side of the house.

So now the big test will be surviving deers, summer heat, and my just OK gardening skills.

Rendering of projected mature sizes.

Chapütschin and Gion, Stone Planters Made of Wood.

Yesterday I called the contractor that replaced my driveway earlier this year. I need to get an estimate for poring a concrete foundation for a patio that I want to build later this summer off the deck behind my house. I’m not looking to build something massive just a 10 by 12 spot that we can sit on and enjoy the space. Something that I can put furniture and planters on, maybe a bar-b-que. Anyway this morning a friend of mine sent me a link to these amazing planters, which if I ever get the patio built, I might get to go on it.

Designed for Renzo, by Pour Les Alpes, Chapütschin and Gion are wood planters designed to mimic the way plants might grow in real life. Pushing out through cracks in rocks or from the earthen side of a hill. Currently the planters are not in large-scale production so I have no idea what they would cost, but you have to admit they look great. I love the geometric shapes, and obtuse angles. While the boxes are made out of wood, they look solid enough to take the weather, and they are stylish enough to use indoors as well.

I’m not really sure about the size of these, but based on the foreground gravel, and the boards in the background, I think these are probably 20 by 30 inches. Maybe a bit smaller. I wish the Renzo site had a bit more info. If anyone reads this and finds out more, post a comment.

I’m Starting a Plant War With Flower Grenades.

Last night I finished mowing my yard for the 1000th time since April thanks to the copious amounts of rain and sun that we have been getting this Spring. As I was sitting on the back deck cooling off, and calculating just how much water weight I had lost via perspiration over the last hour, I started thinking about seeding the field with perennials. The problem is the field to the south is about 200 by 300 feet square, or 60,000 square feet. That is allot to plant, so I started digging around last night on the internet looking for seeds to buy in bulk. What I found was the “Flower Grenade”. Now I know that this isn’t a cost-effective solution for seeding a 60,000 square foot lot, but it sure is a fun idea.

Typically a seed bomb is a ball of compost, mud, and seeds that dissolves slowly over time as the plants sprout and spread out across the site. The Flower Grenade from suckUK explode kind of like a real grenade. The outer shell of unfired clay shatters on impact spreading soil, seeds, fertilizer, and plant food. Each grenade contains seeds for buttercups, poppies, rye grass, and other assorted wild flowers. A pack of 2 will set you back about $28.00 dollars and can be purchased on the suckUK website. They also offer a 20 foot container with 5,954 Flower Grenades.

Lets see, 5,954 Flower Grenades… if I have a party and invite 50 or so friends over, each one would get about 120 grenades to throw… I think I could seed the field with that.