The long weekend is over and I hope everyone had a great American Thanksgiving. I cooked a mean crown roast for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and for this past weekend, my husband barbequed a duck – it was delicious! It was so nice that we could finally relax and enjoy the house.
Without further delay, this is a more detailed explanation of what was done to the courtyard. I hope I didn’t miss anything but don’t hesitate to ask me.
These are a few ‘early days’ photos of the courtyard:
I took this photo when we first looked at the house. Yes, that is a huge crapload of crap in the courtyard.
Once again, closing off the outside with that Omen style wrought iron fence
Here it is after we cleaned it out and removed the fence. You can see the original siding and solarium. The red brick planters on either side were falling apart and leaking. So Shawn smashed them to bits. I think he rather enjoyed that!
And here is a new shot from the same angle. Goodbye concrete jungle!
The entire courtyard concrete was taken out as well as half of the asphalt driveway and concrete pads were poured. Plant areas were added as well as Cor-ten steel planter boxes were custom made by On Spot Welding
. More detailed photos below. Lodi gravel was added to the spots around the concrete pads. Those are dogwoods in each planter box in the front (Shawn’s parents had them in front of their house and he always liked them). We still need to get the remaining asphalt driveway resealed so excuse the cracks and chunks missing!
To give you a better idea of how much asphalt was taken out, this photo was taken over the summer:
We had various grasses planted as well as azaleas and camillias, kangaroo paw and canna lilies.
|One of our newly planted canna lilie
This was the butt ugly solarium, which was located at the back of the courtyard, off of the living room area: I found out that this solarium was added in the 80’s. Another structure added to cut off the outside.
As part of the dismantling of the solarium, we got rid of the door which led to the hallway.
You can also see in this picture the weird small window that was right by the front door and looked into the kitchen pantry. Such a strange place for a window. We got rid of it.
Same angle, now:
Ahh, that looks better! And really gives the living room a 2 sided view. A Cor-ten steel planter box was added by the front door, and filled with Blue Oat Grass and Aspidistra elatior or Cast-Iron plant. Both do very well in shade as that area does not get much sun.
The 3 wood support beams were replaced with korten steel beams. A close-up of the beam:
This Cor-ten steel is super cool. Through a chemical process, when it is exposed to water, it oxidizes and gives it that rust look. It’s interesting watching them transform.
A shot of the concrete pads leading up to the front door:
That’s horsetail in the large Cor-ten steel planter box. It grows like a weed. Every once in a while I give it a haircut to make the top level. It’s kind of fun! The downspouts were replaced with rain chains, also made by On Spot Welding. The water trickles down the chain and into the drain, which eventually drains out on the downward slope of our driveway. It’s pretty darn soothing to watch in a rainstorm. Much more soothing than watching our garage flood.
(And before you ask, yes the water splatters around in a big storm or wind. But the courtyard drains amazingly well.) This was another idea I gleaned from Houzz.com
(cmon, click on it, you know you want to!) Rain chains originated in Asia and have become increasingly popular, especially here in wine country and in modern landscapes.
Another shot of the area that used to be asphalt.
And the new steps leading to the side of the house:
We had always planned to have a custom gas firepit installed, we just weren’t sure when. Until then we were enjoying my Walmart jobbie.
Well, we bit the bullet. We ordered a predone 60″ x 60″ pit from The Fireplace Element
as well as an assembled gas burner. You may recall, in the demolition and rebuilding of the courtyard, a trench was dug and pipe added to hook up to the natural gas.
This is the predone concrete slab firepit, right when the stonework was beginning to get added:
And here is a close-up of the finished product:
The custom stonework was done by our landscaping company, Carlos Landscaping here in Napa – Enrique is the stonemason. The rock is syar stone with no mortar in between – it’s more meticulous to cut but it gives it a much cleaner look than mortar in between the joints.
This was taken over the summer with our portable firepit and concrete view:
And here is the new view:
|Holy mother of a firepit!
Much less concrete-y, isn’t it? But damn, we seriously need more outdoor furniture now!
And here is me enjoying the fire- ahhhhh! All the work, upheavals, bullshit, crap, and mess were finally worth it!
I better hurry and enjoy, though. A big storm is moving in tonight.