Irrigation install has proved to be (as expected) the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of this backyard remodel. Matt thankfully understood the technicalities of what he was doing (he does repair airplanes for a living, so this wasn’t too difficult for him to understand - I, on the other hand, still have no clue what he spent all those hours out there doing!), but the actual process of getting it in the ground was long and drawn-out.
As you can see in the video, we had to regrade a lot of the yard. Thankfully the initial digging was all done by backhoe, so at least that part was a one- or two-day job. But the extra digging due to the changes Matt made to the design all had to be done by hand. So the pickaxe and shovel were indispensable. But when the ground is this hard, it just takes a lot of hours of DIY labor to get it done. And of course, kids and chickens (and other projects you’d much rather spend time doing) all get in the way! So here we are working on the last frog - running final pipe on the side of the house, getting wires hooked up and putting together the valve box. Note the number of valves - Matt has set everything up so we can run graywater, rain water, and then city water through the system as soon as we create those options. It’ll be super cool to see how that works once it’s totally done, but for now at least the system itself is functional, and our water bill (even through this first summer) was still usually around $100 a month, even with all our new trees and gardens!
After finally getting the water to run (oh what a relief!), we celebrated by building more water blankets for the gardens. Matt wanted to try a different configuration from Justin’s recommendation, to see if it would work.
As the project got underway, pretty soon we could tell that it was NOT working. The pipe was very cold (it was winter), and absolutely would not unwind. The twisted, mangled conglomeration of pipes we created looked like a monstrous caterpillar. We decided it must be “art.” And we named it the “Error-gation.”
To finish off this update on less-than-successful projects, I’m also going to touch briefly on the shade structure we were trying to build on the east side of the house.
Unfortunately the cross beams were just a little too long, so it ended up pushing against the house and the neighbor’s block wall, which is not a good idea for a long-term structure.
So we had to painfully take down each section, cut 3” off, and put it back up again. It’s an understatement to say this was another project nobody wanted to do! But on the theme of art birthed out of difficulty, here are a couple of cool pictures I got of the sky behind the structure as we were working on it.