Home Work (of the best sort!)

April 16, 2013

Gardening, Home, Landscaping

It’s a big work day here at Nana’s house today…Holencik Insulation has a couple guys here installing a sun tunnel and attic insulation.  Sun tunnels are pretty much a skylight…but a 14 inch diameter skylight that is fixed.  And a lot less complicated to install.  They are a great solution for bringing natural light into a dark area and as things go, reasonably priced.  Ours is going in the stairwell in the hopes it will bring some much needed light into the end of the living room closest to the stairwell.  Since the living room window faces a bit north of due east, we get little light after the early morning as you can well imagine.  I’m hopeful that it will brighten up this dreary living room just a little bit so it isn’t necessary to have a light on during the day.

For my money, though, the insulation is even more exciting.  I truly don’t like paying more to PPL than necessary, and having installed new windows, insulated siding and a super efficient heat pump, I still think we are paying too much for heat and air.   And after we did all that stuff, I read that they all fall well behind adequate insulation in ROI and energy efficiency gains.  SIGH.  Since they are installing R60 in the attic I hope we will realize significant economies this summer already.  I’ll report back in due time as to the results.   If nothing else, the heat pump won’t work as hard and the house should be more comfortable and I’ll believe I am doing a good thing toward reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  Mark Holencik and his team are doing a great job and the price is way reasonable.  It’s a feel good job all the way around.

Yesterday was another exciting day for me in the home improvement area.  We visited Joanne at Joanne Kostecky Garden Design last evening and reviewed the landscape plan for the back and side gardens.  I’m so excited about the plan and the coming installation I couldn’t sleep last night.  I’ve been up since 3:30 when a sleep thought about the plan came to me and, like a kid at Christmas, I couldn’t get back to sleep.  Remember the photos from the other day that I posted of the barren wasteland of a yard that is left after fencing?   landscape plan

Well, here’s the (cell phone) photo of my gorgeous new garden on the right.  If you double click on it, it will expand and you should be able to see the numbers on each plant mass.  Below I’ll post the planting key and you can try to match up what goes where if you are so inclined.  For my gardening friends, I know you will be able to check the plan and the list and be able to visualize the end result.  Visions of seasons on the patio have been dancing in my head since last night!  To acclimate you to the plan, the left area with  the spring green swath through it is the side yard.  You’ll notice the number 10 at the far left of the side yard…those are roses on the outside of the privacy fence.  The other swath of spring green is the area behind my garden shed, and between that area and the side yard are a new set of stairs from the sidewalk and a path to the small patio beneath my deck.  There used to be a hot tub and that is what the large patio slab was for and, in a future iteration, it will become an outdoor “kitchen” and bar/eating area.  There are stairs at the rear left corner of that slab which lead down to the driveway.

To say Joanne hit it out of the park would be a gross understatement. Originally I had thought we could not have more than  a dog run.  Joanne assured me there were many plants she could put in that would be more dog resistant.  Obviously, this means woody shrubs rather than perennials.  But even with woody shrubs there are specimens that make me ever so happy.

Here’s the planting plan:landscape key  For starters, I get back not one, but four trees.  For people who love wildlife and birds as Mike and I do, that is a true blessing.  To make the birds happy there are a couple viburnum.  There’s a wealth of hummingbird and butterfly friendly shrubs.  There are old fashioned shrubs that I love…like hydrangea and Rose of Sharon and wisteria growing across the face board of my raised deck.  Not the Chinese or Japanese Wisteria…the Aunt Dee variety of our native Kentucky Wisteria.  Yeah, I sacrifice some fragrance but it blooms early and is not invasive like the Asian varieties.  Right off the deck and patio, though, is good old fashioned lilac…a fragrance that is deeply embedded since childhood.  I love lilac.  We face south and west so it is very hot and sunny back there…and the color palette for the garden is the cool, soothing whites, blues, pinks, lavenders that I love (with a splash of yellow thrown in here and there for good measure). There is dog proof astro turf for the pups in the hopes they will confine themselves to it and not the planting beds.    Outside the fence are perennials and roses.   Water in the garden would make it absolutely perfect but I know fully well that my dogs would simply view that as their personal playground and I was not up for that fight.  We’ll do the front next year, albeit not as elaborately, and I’ll ask Joanne to design in a fountain.  This year’s plan will implement in two phases.  This Spring, the side yard and hard scape.  Late August or September we will do the back and outside of the fence.  I’ll post photos as progress is made.  I know I can’t wait to get started and know that Mike and I will be enjoying an oasis in our little slice of the world next summer for sure!

Meanwhile, the sun tunnel is in and doing what it was intended to do.  There is light.  And it is good.

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