Home Projects

Gravel and dogs and stuff

It’s been a slow couple of weeks for us.  We haven’t gotten much of anything done, honestly.

So it’s no secret that we have a lot of gravel.  Everyone knows this (especially the neighbors, believe me).  The gravel has upset us since day one, and it’s been plaguing the neighborhood for quite a while.  In chatting with the neighbors, we’ve learned the backstory of the gravel and it’s just ridiculous.

In older pictures of our house (from the listing in 2009ish when it was being sold to the guy we bought it from) the house was painted white and it had a cute little front yard with lush green grass and some lovely bushes.

See how cute it was??

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A little plain, but adorable, right?  So tidy!

Well, the guy we bought the house from (according to the neighbors) was a robust, very lazy slob.  He decided that he didn’t want to mow this lovely, cute, tidy yard.  So he paid professionals to rip it all out, install landscape timbers (with railroad ties!  Those things are nailed down halfway to the core of the Earth, I swear) in a square in the middle of a not-square front yard, lay down weed barrier, and fill it all with gravel.  Which is how we got to this:

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Ah, yes.  We bought it for the curb appeal, clearly.

(I totally don’t miss that hideous blue color!)

(Or the antenna!)

(Or the super thin trim!)

(PARENTHESIS!!!)

What doesn’t make sense to me is the amount of money he spent to have this all put in, simply because he didn’t want to mow.  That’s cool and all, but the backyard is huge.  That still needed to be mowed.  For the money he spent having this all put in, he could’ve hired someone to come mow once a week in the spring and summer for several years.  But alas, he did not do that, and now we are dealing with the never ending pit of gravel in our front yard.

There’s so much gravel, people.  SO much.  We moved a ton of it to the backyard by the gates so the dogs would stop getting so muddy, and this weekend we moved a ton of the white stuff over to the side of the driveway.  We made a 3 foot wide strip of it to kind of line the edge of the driveway so that when we finally have grass, we won’t have to step directly on the lawn when we get out of the car.  It took about 8 wheel barrows of white gravel to make that section.  It hardly made a dent.

UGH.

It’s weird, because the gravel really isn’t very deep.  It’s just a large surface area that’s covered in a thinnish layer of gravel, and a LOT of it.  It’s like those never ending hallway dreams you have in school, except we aren’t in school and it’s not a hallway or a dream.  It is reality, and it’s in our front yard.

As for the rest of the gray gravel, we’ve gotten pretty creative in our attempts to get rid of it.  We’re pretty much ready to get some top soil and grass seed, but the stupid gravel has to be gone first.  We’ve made a big heap of it on the side of our house, we’ve made a parking pad next to the other side of the driveway so that we can park next to each other (which also creates more parking for guests, since the driveway is so deep!  Now we can fit 4 cars instead of 2), our neighbor filled in his parking pad with a ton of gravel (I cornered him when he got out of his truck last night and begged him to take some; he jumped at the opportunity as soon as I told him we were hoping to get soil and seed in the next 2 weeks because he is a landscaper and is very offended by the gravel pit next to his front yard oasis), and we still have a ton.  Thankfully I’ve found a few takers who are interested in free gravel, so we should be rid of the rest of it soon.

Once it’s gone, we can finish ripping out the landscape timbers, get some new top soil, spread some grass seed, water it a million times a day until the rainy season officially starts (which will probably be tomorrow, because this is NW Washington we’re talking about) and then we will have a grassy front yard!  I’m so so excited.  We still haven’t figured out what to do with the rest of the white gravel (which is kind of expensive so we aren’t giving it away), so for now we’re going to move it all to the corner of the backyard to sit all winter while we think about what to do with it in the spring.

Curb appeal is coming!  Hopefully sooner rather than later, once all the dumb rocks are out of the way.  If I never see gravel again, it will be too soon.

In other news, our pets.  Good Lord, our pets.

We’ve had Emmy for almost a month now.  She is delightful and we love her.  She also got kennel cough, then gave it to Lucky, so we have spent several hundred dollars at the vet this month and have had two hacking dogs in our house.  Fun!

Also, we have discovered that Emmy is a chewer.  This is normal, I suppose, but Lucky is not a chewer, so we are not used to having chewers in our house.  All of our shoes have been moved to the guest room for now, because we do not have closet doors still (*sigh*), but we’ve also learned that Emmy can open doors with handles!  Our bedroom doors have handles.  Ask me how I know this.  Go on, ask me.

RIP favorite turquoise heels. 😦

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Who, me?

PS look at my slippers.  Not cool, Em.

So now the shoes are locked in the guest room!  So fun!  I plan on eventually swapping out all the handles for knobs anyway (handles just aren’t my thing, and we want everything to match the new front door hardware, which is oil-rubbed bronze AKA basically black, and the interior fixture is a knob.  Silver handles and black knob do not match) but for now we have to keep the guest room door locked.

Emmy has also learned that she can fit through the cat door!  Mostly because the cat door is actually a small dog door (cat doors are TINY) that the guy we bought the house from had installed for his small dogs.  Emmy isn’t super small, but she is skinny, so she can slide right on through there.  So now we have to put the cover on the cat door when we aren’t home, lest she slip right on inside to destroy all my stuff.  This means that poor Steve is confined to the house all day, which he doesn’t really seem to care about, but still.  He’s figuring out that Emmy isn’t going anywhere and is working on not hating her.  He’ll let her get near him but he gets Fed Up With Her Crap real quick like and there’s still a lot of hissing going on in our house.  They’re getting there, though!  It took 3 weeks for Steve and Lucky to become bros, so it’s just a matter of time before he and Emmy are at that point, I’m sure.

I hope.

So, that’s all that’s new for us right now.  Cute pets, ugly yard, much gravel.

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