Front Porch Landscaping Conitnues

I’ve made more progress on the front porch after not doing much for several weeks.

The previous owners had a white, chalk like rock around the perimeter of the raised bed. This rock was popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s and I hate it. The problem with this rock is that its light weight and it ends up all over the place. I also don’t think they are very attractive.


I removed the white rocks and replaced them with grey river rocks from the south side of my yard. I also put the same grey river rocks on the other side of the walkway. I’m making good progress at reducing the rocks on the south side of my yard by reusing them elsewhere in my landscape.

I put together a rough draft of how I would like my front yard to look in OmniGraffle. The plan shows red areas as walls and yellow areas are new pavement.

front layout.jpg

The plan shows a triangular jog of the wall, this wall layout is mean to mirror the roof pitch and angle. I’m also planning walkways out to the sidewalk that doesn’t exist (the city is talking about adding them) and around the north side of the house. I’m not yet sure if I want to put in concrete or pavers and I’m experimenting with some pavers I picked up from Home Depot. They are concrete with a variation in color and have a similar look to slate.



A look At How Houses Are Built In Israel

Friends of mine are moving to Israel for a few years. They will be living in a newly built house during that time. Although they are living in a relative safe area, the houses are built to withstand an assault. Here are some interesting things to note about the construction (and a few pictures).

  • The house has an alarm system.
  • Some windows have a metal shutter system. Others have a roll down protection system.
  • The windows and doors all appear to be heavy duty in design and made of metal.
  • According to my friend, “By law, every new house in Israel has to have a security room – lockable from inside and airtight.”
  • “All houses and building here are made out of concrete – this is good for shelling protection as well as taking advantage of cooling.”
  • “This means all interior walls are also concrete.”
  • “I think they simply tile everything they want tiled, then smooth the walls with plaster and paint it.”

Interesting how a constant threat of a terrorist attack dictates the building materials and design of housing. I assume that there aren’t a lot of McMansions there either.

Side of the house. Nothing too unusual looking here

north side yard

Safe room. I guess you fill it full of important papers, food and guns

safe room

Metal security shutters. Where can I get these in the US?

secuirty shutters

Ditch Digging

Spring appears to be here, with summer just around the corner. Time to get the backyard ready and get grass growing. Thankfully the previous owners had grass growing and working sprinklers. What I need is a modular and scalable sprinkler system, since I plan have more than one source of water and many more things to water. I will need to dig up the current system and redo the primary control system.

IMG_7443.JPGThe problem with New Mexico soil is it’s a layer of sand on a layer of clay. When thats been covered up with rock and plastic for many years, with no water to soften it up, you end up trying to dig through cement. The best method for digging is to dig a small hole, fill it with water, let it soak, then dig a little more out. Plus the previous owners surrounded the control valves with cement, making it even harder to get in there.

IMG_7444.JPGToday I managed to dig about 30 inches where the control valves are. Why they hell they are that deep I have no idea. In New Mexico you only need about 18 inches deep for the valves. It’s just insane and I’m going to have to remove some of the concrete to get to to the valves. Something I was hoping to avoid.

IMG_7445.JPGI also forgot to mention the other valve. Once valve controls the sprinklers and the other controls… something else. I have no idea. It goes out to the yard but there’s no other obvious sprinkler heads. All I know is it’s busted and was making a nice little spring in the yard. I managed to dig that pipe up to find a huge crack. Once I replace it I should be able to tell where it ends up.