Landscape Love: A True Story of Water Damage & Paving Stones

This reno happened so quickly this summer that I just didn't have a chance to blog about it. I did, however, capture some pictures.  My house doesn't have an alley. Instead I back onto a neighbour's lot and am bordered on both sides by neighbours also. I happen to be at the bottom of a hill which was never an issue until the neighbour behind me decided to tear his house down and build a fourplex. He changed the grade. Basically spring arrived and turned my backyard into a scene only Noah could navigate. It was a big surprise to everyone when during the spring thaw, the water didn't drain and just pooled higher and higher until I couldn't open my shed door and the first step of my deck was covered. Eventually the ground thawed enough to absorb the deluge, but it freaked me out enough to call a landscaper. 
Found a great local guy on Kijiji and the rest is photographic history....

Front Before: Note the step up to the porch and the downward grade of the front yard.
Also the dead patch of grass on the right, under the spruce tree where never a plant shall grow.

Before Side of the House: between my neighbour and I.
I never did have a sidewalk (the things you discover when you buy a house in the winter!)
 Instead, every summer I just grew a weed garden--my lucky neighbour!
This is the backyard in the spring.  Up to my knees in water...
Before Backyard: After the deluge,  the Garden of Weedin' grew in it's place.

So since Brett, the landscaper, was already re-grading my backyard to "raise the water table", why not get something pretty out of the deal? I decided to also re-grade the downward slope of my front yard which would ultimately require a new sidewalk and flower beds... so... out came VISA. 

First, a tree was removed because it posed a serious hazard among my power lines ...

Spindly and scarily close to an electrical fire. 1912 wood houses probably go up quick!

Because the front grade was raised so high, the step up to the porch could then be removed and one down to the side of the house was created. In came a beautiful paving stone walkway in a herringbone pattern to compliment the traditional look of my little bungalow. It now goes all the way down the side and into the backyard right up to the shed. I also added a bed for hydrangeas and dogwood under the windows. The landscaper had the great idea to use the river rocks I had collected (that are original to the property from when the area was ranch land and a creek bed) as a border for the front flower bed.

I cannot believe how this has improved the curb appeal on my place and I just love knowing that all the work inside won't be compromised by a flood in the future. Would love to know what you have done for curb appeal and calgary gardners: any tips for flowering perennials that thrive under pine trees? 

(Oh, and the neighbour who changed the grade and unknowingly caused the deluge? He hired me to consult on the interior design of his project, so I forgave him! ha ha!)


Kait said...

It looks so fabulous - the photos are fantastic!

Lawn Care Blaine mn said...

Awesome looking pics! Thanks for sharing.

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