Gossiping Wheelbarrows

by ESP on January 8, 2018 · 0 comments

Here is a project that kept me busy this summer and fall.

This was the scene that greeted me as I walked up to meet my latest clients at a large sweeping property near lake Travis.

Most of the plantings were as old as the house and were not doing anything to visually lift the property.

The random assortment of pruned boxwoods (You know how I feel about pruned boxwoods) felt cluttered and claustrophobic on approach to the front door.

Boxwood Island!

Everything was lined with small pieces of mortored limestone, the dark mortar made them look like dirty little niblet teeth, teeth that need flossing…no wait, extracting!…

With a sledgehammer!

The homeowners wanted a more modern look and were very open to suggestions and change…a great place to launch a design.

Here are the visuals that I used to communicate the design intent:

The design went through multiple iterations,

especially this front horseshoe area.

And then the real work begins…

First the turf (and it was very thick turf) in this front island bed.

The more we took out, the more it apparently expanded.

A disheartening fact in blistering 100 degree temperatures.

My client cooled everyone down with a steady supply of Paletas…thanks E! 

And there goes the final mound of boxwoods!

Up closer to the house…

I think we can safely say the ‘Normandy’ phase was well under way.

New irrigation and electrics going in by Steve Serum of ‘Keepin’ it GREEN’: keepinitgreen@gmail.com:

Turf was also removed left and right of the sidewalk to open up the entryway.

Four or five dumpsters later (I lost count) and the area felt so much better, the house could breathe once again.

The space felt much larger.

Area prepped for the steelwork framing, electricals going in for lighting.

This side area was also very cramped, it all had to go.

It was very satisfying to take out the niblets.

A three-piece basalt water-feature getting positioned in front of the living room window.

These rocks, from some distant alien asteroid, are extremily heavy and have to be supported on a reinforced central cylinder in the cage.

A water top-up valve was installed inside the cage to ensure the water level remains constant even in the middle of summer.

The final result:

Large arcing steel panels expand and better proportion the area.

The steelwork on this project was executed by Andrew Miller (aminc13@gmail.com)

The front horseshoe area also went through a significant transition:

From a sloping mound of thirsty turf to

being a focal point when looking from the house to the street.

A central pathway was introduced to break up the area.

Steps were incorporated to traverse up to the now flattened top grade.

Colors in the flagstone reference the rust of the steel and grey of the gravel.

Back in the Patch:


And I have barely made a dent.

‘Stay in the Christmas spirit…stay in the Christmas spirit’…


‘Fal-a-la-la-la—la la la la’

There is only one thing worse than getting leaves out of sagos – it is getting them out of soft leaf yucca.

Staying with such yuccary for a second,

I have followed the demise of this plant on I35 for years.

I find myself staring at it at the stoplight, wondering how this had happened…what had caused it to buckle over halfway into its existence?

A small low-flying aircraft perhaps, making an emergency landing on the highway?

No, more likely stem rot.

Look the vines are starting to take it over.

Could it be saved?

I have a chainsaw in the back,

Perhaps I should…



‘Par rum pum pum pum’

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pummm’


Fall Aster and Celosia put on a good display this year.

My satsumas are still on the tree.

No reason to pick them really, they have a particularily disgusting flavor and mealy texture this year.

Great color for late December.

Looks are deceiving.

“Who wants to try a satsuma kids? They look really amazing this year!”

Oh yes, they WILL have one each in their stockings on Christmas morning.

With the year quickily drawing to a close,

the wheel barrows are out back relaxing by the shed, gossiping about varying tire pressures and how badly constructed they now are.

The pipes hung on the tree.

And just remember Kumo,

“He knows when youve been good or bad,

…stop eating crap for goodness sakes.”

“Merry Christmas!”


from us all in the Patch.


Stay Tuned For:

“The Cold Shoulder”


All material © 2017 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.


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