What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Let's Talk Sod

When we decided to by this house we had the main goal of buying waterfront property for family use. If you have read any of my other blogs you will know what a strong emphasis we put on family. We loved the look of the new backyard aka our outdoor living space that ends at the water's edge and has a park-like setting but we knew we would have to make some modifications. While during the week it is my husband and I at home the kids are home so there are usually nine of us but with the soon to be new additions that number will be thirteen. We do a lot of entertaining that includes extended family members and friends so we often have thirty or more for weekend outdoor events. Since the water plays a large roll too, it was important to use to create a comfortable and useable outdoor living space.


Unfortunately the backyard was quite overgrown. The larger picture shows part of the backyard and deck after we removed a large forsythia bush that prevented entry onto the dock (1) and raise the tree bonnets so we could see the water. Removing the bush made the dock useable but we needed to repair the area in front of the dock. Under all the trees there were small, overgrown gardens (2) with five cedar bushes surrounding one (3) silver maple. The cedar bushes were mosquito and spider magnets. An old and neglected pathway of stepping stones (4) led to the dock but we decided they had to go as well.

Prep work including removing all of the overgrown gardens, cedar bushes (3) and stepping stones. Not shown in the picture is a circle about 6' diameter at the start of the stepping stones that originally was paved with a fountain the original owner somehow forgot to leave behind. Removal of the vegetation took a few days and a few trips to a relative's burn pile. The cement was recycled for errosion control by a friend. The cleaned areas were raked well and topped with top soil just before laying the sod.

The sod came in rolls on a flatbed trailer and yes it is heavy (5). This is a DIY project but because of the time factor getting the house ready for the anniversary party, we hired it out. The weather was working against us, very hot and humid. Once part of the sod was laid where the cedar bushes had been (6) we knew we had made the right decision. New picnic tables (7) were assembled for the party (more on that later).

The sod was looking rather sad during the installation process (1). The temperatures were blistering hot and the summer had been unseasonably dry that I think the only thing that saved the existing grass was the copious amounts of shade. I took a picture from the upper sunporch of our newly gained yard space that hopefully would be ready in time for our anniversary party.

The sod went in on the Thursday before the anniversary party so we kept the water going until late Sunday afternoon. The sod was practically swimming! We let the ground firm from then until the party. While it did not look like a pristine, well manicured lawn it was considerably better than it had been and held up well with the extra traffic of almost seventy people. The following day we watered in the morning only then continued doing that for the following five days.


This is not the best picture as it was taken from the upper level sunporch through the screen. The numbers show all the areas where we sodded. As you can see the space is now expanded to fit our needs. The sod is doing nicely and thanks to Mother Nature we haven't had to water as much. Oh and just up from 5 we removed an entire small garden something I forgot about when preparing the picture.

It is always very important to us to create an appealing outdoor livingspace for our family and friends wherever we live. We are very pleased with the results so far. In the spring we will be working in more vegetation, mainly herbs around the perimeter but keeping the centre portion open and user friendly. An overgrown sloping garden with English Ivy ground cover will more than likely be replaced with an herbal garden since it is close to the kitchen. We've decided to keep what vegetables we are growing out of the backyard ares and while that is proving to be a bit more challenging it fits in our scheme of creating a warm, welcoming and functional area to entertain larger groups of of family and friends.

Garden Gnome
© 2007