I am so excited to share some progress on the backyard jungle. We've had a plan for awhile now, but while my parents were in town the past few days we were finally able to make some progress.
And what satisfying progress it was.
My dad spent Tuesday and Wednesday turning up and leveling the dirt (it was as hard as cement but not level at all).
Thursday morning, we removed the leftover rocks, sticks and roots by hand. Then we rented a small push steamroller (think of a push mower with a big drum roll on it) to really compact the dirt and get the surface as smooth and even as possible.
And then we got to do the fun part.
I have been obsessed with the Ikea PLATTA deck system since last spring and really wanted to bring it into the space. The pieces are real wood and lock together from below (with a plastic locking mechanism). They hold together really well - on a super level surface. Snapping them into place was the very easy part (getting the ground prepped for them took 2.5 days).
The wood pieces are 1x1 foot square (each contains four "panels" - click here to see the acutal product) and can be cut down to size to fill the space you need. We had to cut down a few pieces (and will still have to a lot) but since it's a huge hassle, we decided to square off the plants that were already in the area and add extra white rock.
I am thrilled with this decision. The white and wood looks awesome together and the white rock is much less expensive per square foot.
Ikea ran out of decking so this project is temporally on hold until they get in a new shipment. Laying the final portion will be tricky as we'll have to work around that curved brick edge. But I can see it now. I can visualize this as a space we'll want to use and a space that won't need to be watered (great news in California these days).
Of course, whenever you have wood outdoors it's going to weather and change color (fade to gray) so how to protect it and slow that from happening is on our list to figure out (has anyone had good luck with Linseed Oil?). I can't speak for how well this system will hold up, but I can say it's just gorgeous in real life and other than needing a level base could not be easier to put together. (If you're curious, when not placed on a level surface, the whole thing cracks and wiggles a bit under your feet as you walk.)
So hooray for progress, and this is what our to-do list, first shared in October now looks like :
- remove dead grass
- cap sprinkler heads
- dig up weeds
- remove random tree << NOT SURE ABOUT THIS ONE
- power-wash cement and brick << HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND
- level decking area
- lay deck << SO CLOSE
- add more white rocks to fill out plant areas << ALSO SO CLOSE
- plant more succulent ground-cover << HOPEFULLY HAPPENING THS WEEKEND
- remove dead plants behind chainlink fence
- add wood panels to chainlink << DECIDED TO HOLD OFF ON THIS
- build firepit
- obtain more seating
- string strands of globe lights from house to fence a la this.
I will be sure to share an update or 12 as we continue forward.
Huge thank you, Dadio, for all your help.