Saturday, May 15, 2010

Outdoor activities

We've been hard at work outside for the past several days. My pet project is the development of perennial beds instead of a lawn in the front yard. There's a chronic water shortage in California, and keeping grass green is really expensive and kind of politically incorrect. The water department has limitations on adding new turf to a landscape, and pays a nice amount per square foot to homeowners who take out their lawns.

So last fall we scattered a wildflower seed mix over the area, and now we have seedlings appearing. We're aiming for native plants, specifically ones suited to a xeriscape (low water) garden. I spent many hours identifying the wildflower sprouts that are beginning to appear -- lots of yarrow, lupines, columbine and poppies so far -- and then marked out tentative flower beds with bricks. The beds are kind of random and natural, based on where the seedlings seem to be thriving. I'm thinking "meadow." We'll have to see how everything develops as the summer progresses.

Also ... beginning Monday morning a crew will be here for exterior painting! This climate is pretty harsh, and the paint weathers and peels quickly on wood houses -- every few years it needs to be scraped down and redone, and this house is overdue. We've chosen a barn red for the house this time, with white trim and black shutters -- I'll bet the change from gray to red will have everyone in the neighborhood buzzing :) We decided that the vintage-farmhouse-style architecture would be shown off nicely in red, and it will look good in all four seasons, against the trees and also against the snow. Tony's been prepping and getting everything cleared out of the painters' way. It should take three or four weeks for them to do the whole thing.