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Home stuff 🏡 Home Improvements

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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60
Well, I finally did it.

I ordered 6 yards of mulch to be delivered to my house tomorrow, even though I've been vocal about my dislike of the Mulch-Industrial complex.

Alas, we honestly did need it this year.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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29,915
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73
So we tore out a section of dilapidated privacy fence enclosing a 16' x 24' portion of the side yard. We're going to replace the fence with essentially the same but what to do with the side yard?

Currently, it's home to weeds and a firewood rack. Junior is advocating for an additional parking space (turns 16 this year), but given that his remaining years living here can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, I'm thinking something else.

Additional garden area? Possible. but one drawback is the area barely gets 5-6 hours of sunlight per day. Sure, certain shade-tolerant plants could be grown there but quite honestly, I've already got sufficient area already dedicated to gardens.

A BEER GARDEN! Now we're talking. I could bring in a few yards of crushed stone to cover the area. Put in some lawn furniture like chairs, patio table with umbrella, and maybe an inexpensive fountain from the local garden center. Hmmm....maybe I could put my grill out there too. We could grill bratwurst, sit in the shade drinking beer, and read Kant. This idea has potential.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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This idea has potential.
Sounds cool, but be sure to run this conceptual idea past your local zoning enforcement guy.

You don't want to get an easily avoidable violation notice for something you didn't know you didn't know.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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Sounds cool, but be sure to run this conceptual idea past your local zoning enforcement guy.

You don't want to get an easily avoidable violation notice for something you didn't know you didn't know.
The guy's a complete tool from what I hear. I'll work at night and on weekends and he'll never know or find out.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,778
Points
46
So we tore out a section of dilapidated privacy fence enclosing a 16' x 24' portion of the side yard. We're going to replace the fence with essentially the same but what to do with the side yard?

Currently, it's home to weeds and a firewood rack. Junior is advocating for an additional parking space (turns 16 this year), but given that his remaining years living here can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand, I'm thinking something else.

Additional garden area? Possible. but one drawback is the area barely gets 5-6 hours of sunlight per day. Sure, certain shade-tolerant plants could be grown there but quite honestly, I've already got sufficient area already dedicated to gardens.

A BEER GARDEN! Now we're talking. I could bring in a few yards of crushed stone to cover the area. Put in some lawn furniture like chairs, patio table with umbrella, and maybe an inexpensive fountain from the local garden center. Hmmm....maybe I could put my grill out there too. We could grill bratwurst, sit in the shade drinking beer, and read Kant. This idea has potential.
Invite me over for the grand opening. I'll bring some fine Fort Worth beer.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
11,191
Points
52
Yesterday evening I noticed the furnace not igniting so I had somebody out to look at it this morning. It appears that my 35-year-old furnace, which was already a bit too small for our house, is on its last legs. We had to have the pressure switch adjusted each winter over the past couple of years and then today the blower motor wasn't working properly and the gas valve is shot. He was able to get it fired up by literally pounding on the valve but I guess it's time to finally replace it all and do the AC unit (that was installed in 1981) at the same time.

Oh well, they've had a good run! At least whatever we replace them with is bound to be much more efficient.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
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11,191
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52
I guess I'm really shelling out the money - the HVAC folks just called to get a few specifics about where things are located so they can pull a permit for the work.

On the plus side, looking at some efficiency data, we should end up saving about 40% on our electric bill and 20% (a conservative estimate) on our gas bill month to month, and that's without even getting an actual "high efficiency" unit.
 

kjel

Super Moderator
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12,617
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44
I guess I'm really shelling out the money - the HVAC folks just called to get a few specifics about where things are located so they can pull a permit for the work.

On the plus side, looking at some efficiency data, we should end up saving about 40% on our electric bill and 20% (a conservative estimate) on our gas bill month to month, and that's without even getting an actual "high efficiency" unit.
Your state or utility company also likely has rebates.

My 1650 SF rehabbed 3 story rowhome (ca. 1892) is more energy efficient than the 1983 beach house which installed central A/C in 1992 and is on it's last legs. We're going to move the furnace out of the crawl space under the house to the garage as well.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
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11,191
Points
52
Your state or utility company also likely has rebates.

I'll have to look into that...


They got to work on it yesterday but there were some problems with the measurements of the existing ductwork that the guy who gave us the quote took. So when the install tech got to work, the case and stuff he brought with him didn't fit (it was a tight squeeze in the corner of the garage where the furnace was to begin with) so they had to build out a new case and use a differently shaped coil. In the end, they weren't able to finish it up yesterday so we had no heat overnight. Of course it also dropped back down into the 30s last night! Oh well, I prefer the house to be cold overnight and we turned on the gas fireplaces this morning so it's really not too bad (it was down to 58º in the house when I left this morning, that was before my wife turned on the fireplaces).

Interestingly, when the guy moved the old furnace out we found that the chimney that's behind it (where the furnace now vets through) was actually for an incinerator. I couldn't see the door to it before and I figured there was a wood burning fireplace on the other side in the dining room at one point.

The tech says it's still pretty common to find them in houses a bit older than ours but he doesn't see them too much anymore in houses from about '55 or later (ours was built in '56). I wonder how many other houses in our neighborhood had them or if anybody still actually uses theirs?
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,260
Points
35
Landscape replacement estimate approved. Now to wait to get shrubs.

Lots of landscapes need work after the Feb ice storm killed off non-native shrubs, plants, and trees. I'm also paying to have my ornamental trees trimmed back because their outer surface area died.

I'm paying him to do my spring flower planting this year, as well as the heavy lifting replacing the shrubs. His crew can get it all done in one day, while it would take me two weekends just to do the flowers.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
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3,778
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46
To be honest, just about EVERYTHING in my yard is growing very well in the aftermath of the Texas freeze. The only thing in doubt was my live oak tree but it finally started sprouting a couple weeks ago.
 

kjel

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Landscape replacement estimate approved. Now to wait to get shrubs.

Lots of landscapes need work after the Feb ice storm killed off non-native shrubs, plants, and trees. I'm also paying to have my ornamental trees trimmed back because their outer surface area died.

I'm paying him to do my spring flower planting this year, as well as the heavy lifting replacing the shrubs. His crew can get it all done in one day, while it would take me two weekends just to do the flowers.
Sometimes that's money well spent. My husband was asking why I just don't buy a lawnmower and he can mow the lawn at the beach house. Me: because lawnmowers are expensive, we don't have a convenient place to store it, he half assess most home improvement/maintenance things, I have other things that I want to do on weekends, and the lawn care company comes with their big machines and in 30 minutes they mow, edge, and blow the whole yard. They came yesterday when he was home and he was like...yeah it'd take me 3x as long to do that you'd complain anyways.

We have a lot of landscaping we'd like to do after removing 17 trees in the past 2 years, but we also are having a new roof and siding installed as soon as we close on the refinance and also want to install 6 foot tall fencing to replace the 4' chain link that's in rough shape. I'd rather wait til all that's done to figure out the landscaping.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,260
Points
35
To be honest, just about EVERYTHING in my yard is growing very well in the aftermath of the Texas freeze. The only thing in doubt was my live oak tree but it finally started sprouting a couple weeks ago.

My potted rosemary cones, dwarf nandinas, and potted wild garlic all bit the dust. My pansies not only survived, but are still thriving in the pots! The boxwoods and ligustrums need trimming but are alive. Random other individual shrubs are toast, but others are fine.

This guy will also trim the trees in the back, which survived just fine but needed trimming before the storm. We discovered that the small rosebush in the back (strange location but it's growing) seemed to like the cold - it's grown and bloomed a ton since the storm.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
3,778
Points
46
Yeah, roses are going crazy around here.

I have two hands and forearms that are all scratched up. For Mothers Day I weeded my wife's garden.

I laid down a weed barrier before mulching so hopefully it won't be as hard next time. The previous homeowner had a lot of ivy in this area which just climbs over everything. The only want to get it out is to reach into the rosebushes and pull the ivy vines out.

 

estromberg

Cyburbian
Messages
294
Points
11
Had 15 yards of mulch delivered last Friday and spread about half of it on Mother's Day. I have a tractor with a loader, so that makes it go much quicker than if I had to load and wheelbarrow it everywhere. It's looking like 15 will be enough.

A couple of months ago, I replaced the water heater and installed a tankless and replumbed the basement, replacing all the old galvanized pipe with pex. There is still 1/2' galvanized in the walls to the fixtures, but all the rest is pex. While I was at it, I put in a laundry sink in the basement. I used a laundry/bar sink lift pump as the outlet to my septic in the lower basement is 3' up the wall (tri-level). All in all it was a nice project, pex is easy to work with.

One little thing that I did was put in hot and cold water to the outside hose bib, so that when we put in the hot tub eventually, I can fill it with hot soft water, as heating the water with gas is MUCH cheaper than the electric heater in the tub.

The water heater replacement was driven by needing to clear space for a new electric panel (current one is in our bedroom in the upper basement). An electrician is coming in a couple of weeks to install the new panel and service, then com ed will energize it and electrician can tie the new panel circuits into the existing circuits at the current panel and close it up. The existing panel will become a big junction box and I will have a new 200 amp service in a much more accessible location. I am planning to run 60 amps or so out to my pole barn to run a big air compressor and a welder. I will do that stuff myself though.

We will be doing a kitchen remodel later this year, which is what is driving all of these changes and improvements.
 

Gedunker

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I had let a vine the previous owner planted (not English Ivy) take over a work area near where I store my trash cans. This weekend it was time to pay the piper and pull that up. I got about 80% of it before it kicked my butt. I hope to get the rest of it this weekend. Unless I stay after it for the rest of this year and perhaps early next, it'll come back. Let's just say I'm not a fan of any vines.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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1,621
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29
New garage man-door. New laundry room floor. Parkstrip overtaken by orchard grass (cannot be killed by conventional weapons - much like Keith Richards) so the grass is coming out via a sod cutter and will completely kill what is left and replant in the fall.
 
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mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Had 15 yards of mulch delivered last Friday...
Holy shnikes!

I had 6 yards delivered at the beginning of April and that was more than sufficient for the targeted areas of my 17,000 sqft yard.

250% more is nuts. A tractor is absolutely necessary, for realz. :cool:
 

Maister

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I have about 90k sq ft of yard.
That's not a 'yard', that's acreage.
If you took half your property and created a one acre garden, you could plant ginseng. One acre's harvest of ginseng goes for around $50,000.
 
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bureaucrat#3

Member
Messages
126
Points
8
I had let a vine the previous owner planted (not English Ivy) take over a work area near where I store my trash cans. This weekend it was time to pay the piper and pull that up. I got about 80% of it before it kicked my butt. I hope to get the rest of it this weekend. Unless I stay after it for the rest of this year and perhaps early next, it'll come back. Let's just say I'm not a fan of any vines.
I have a large yard (60,000 sf) with an older home. It was a very nice home with great landscaping when it was built in the 40's and for many years. We bought it from an older couple wanting to downsize who bought it from a family that owned it for 40 plus years until the wife died in her mid-80s. I think the size of the house and yard got to be too much for both and while yard work was hired out, I think they didn't spend much time on the non-grassed areas.

I'm now trying to battle huge swaths of English Ivy that were planted all over the yard but got out of control. It's taken over and is climbing up trees over fences. Mixed in with that is a few strands of kudzu, carolina jasmine, a lot of poison ivy, and honeysuckle. I'd like to just spray everything and watch it die, but I've got a creek in the back, so that's a no-go. So right now it just a bunch of mechanical removal, solarization with tarps and trying to figure out what to replant.
 

Gedunker

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I have a large yard (60,000 sf) with an older home. It was a very nice home with great landscaping when it was built in the 40's and for many years. We bought it from an older couple wanting to downsize who bought it from a family that owned it for 40 plus years until the wife died in her mid-80s. I think the size of the house and yard got to be too much for both and while yard work was hired out, I think they didn't spend much time on the non-grassed areas.

I'm now trying to battle huge swaths of English Ivy that were planted all over the yard but got out of control. It's taken over and is climbing up trees over fences. Mixed in with that is a few strands of kudzu, carolina jasmine, a lot of poison ivy, and honeysuckle. I'd like to just spray everything and watch it die, but I've got a creek in the back, so that's a no-go. So right now it just a bunch of mechanical removal, solarization with tarps and trying to figure out what to replant.
We had English Ivy when I was married and living in one of our historic districts. Much, much smaller yard than yours, and thankfully no kudzu or poison ivy (to which I am extremely allergic). The little grippers on English Ivy that make it such a successful climber were especially difficult once they got hold of the bark of our old wild cherry tree. And it seemed I could never get rid of all of it, that some shred hid somewhere only to reemerge the next spring and start the fight all over again.

I don't envy you @bureaucrat#3
 

bureaucrat#3

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126
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8
We had English Ivy when I was married and living in one of our historic districts. Much, much smaller yard than yours, and thankfully no kudzu or poison ivy (to which I am extremely allergic). The little grippers on English Ivy that make it such a successful climber were especially difficult once they got hold of the bark of our old wild cherry tree. And it seemed I could never get rid of all of it, that some shred hid somewhere only to reemerge the next spring and start the fight all over again.

I don't envy you @bureaucrat#3
Thanks. I break out from poison ivy so I have to wear layers. The first couple of years I would take a machete and try to wedge it between the trees and ivy to pull it away. I've gotten lazy and just started weedeating a couple of feet of ivy away from the trunks of all my trees. Its looks bad, but much easier. It never goes away completely.
 
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