Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On the Outside

Now that summer is beatin' down our door, we've been working on the outside of the house.  I built 2 raised garden beds out of local hemlock from the mill down the road and filled them with topsoil/compost mix.  We also built some flower beds around the house and planted edibles and native plants.  Due to the expense of good quality native plants, I'll have to fill the flower beds over time.  For now I just planted things like squash and melon, so the beds wouldn't be so bare looking this season.  Our other big item is a 20' by 15'  blue stone patio that was built by Peter Ledda Landscaping.  We were very pleased with the masons who built it, including a small stone retaining wall (step) on the driveway side.  They were able to use stone from our property.  Apparently, we have great stone here and lots of it, so I'm thinking of all sorts of projects for the future.  Likely some more walls and flower bed borders.  We used blue stone from New York and I think it goes really well with the house and the native stone we incorporated in the patio.  They also poured two footers at each outside corner of the patio so we could add posts for a large pergola over the patio.  We'll definitely need the shade on summer days.  We've been working on a design and thinking about materials.  Jeremy is going to visit the CL&P substation near his business and see if he can pick up pieces of some old utility poles for the posts.  Hopefully we can get some without too much creosote on them, nasty stuff!  If not, then we'll probably use hemlock because cedar is really scarce around here and very expensive.


Larry and Elva said...

The patio is BEAUTIFUL.

Connecticut Yankees said...


Yes it all looks great. I see it is on the south side, so you will need shade, but only in the Summer I would guess? How about canvas awning materiel. A light color will give a brightly lit space but with shade from direct sun. I made a sunscreen in Denver, where the sun is very intense, by building a trellis that used only two posts spanned by 2x10s on both sides which carried 2x4s (or maybe they were 2x6?) running from the house wall to the patio edge, with half canter-levered out from the posts which were half way out.

These "joists" were attached to the house wall with a bracket at 2 points and they carried 6 ft high snow fencing rolled out to the edge and down about 18" to keep the sun out. Snow fencing is what you see at the beach to stabilize the dunes. Spaces between the slats let in light and air. As I recall it worked very well and in the fall we just rolled up the snow fencing (3 rolls covered an 18 ft wide patio) and stored it up there against the house wall so we got the solar gain in the winter.

Gene DeJoannis

Jeremy and Karann said...

Yep, we're working on the shade right now. Jeremy and his father installed a lovely pergola out of local hemlock and (until we have vines growing on it) we have some 5 foot wide strips of heavy-duty banner material (similar to awning) providing shade. We had a July 4th party and it was lovely, even in 90 degree heat on the patio. I'll get a photo posted soon!