It’s been very busy around Little Cedars! The two major landscape projects for 2011: the garden shed and the water feature, have been completed. All that remains to be finished is landscaping the areas around each. Each season brings me a little closer to my ‘dream’ for Little Cedars. The bulk of the hardscaping is complete and 2012 will be a year of planting those water-wise perennials and natives that I love. The hardest part of all this will be waiting patiently for them to establish and grow!
The garden shed went along ‘swimmingly’. I engaged John Williams, a local contractor, that I had worked with on other projects. He is very reliable and I enjoy working with him. The water feature was quite another affair!!! One would think, having completed hundreds of landscape projects, that I would follow the same advice that I give my clients. “Get references!” But Noooo!
I was working on several projects at the time and the fellow that was working on one of them assured me “he built water features all the time”. And I’m sure he had. It’s just there are water features and then there are water features! His idea of what a water feature should look like and my idea were not even in the same universe!
Unfortunately, I did not discover this until he had undertaken the job. Two days into the job and he is telling me that he will be “finished in the morning”. I looked at the muddy hole with mountains of black liner showing and then I started asking questions that should have been asked before I let him start!! I have had other water features built, nothing on the scale of this, but the smallest project took over a week. He had not installed a filter or a scimmer, the pond was to be no less than 24″ deep and there wasn’t any area over 18″, the creek bed which was to meander down the slope was straight as an arrow! Well the list of what was not done would take awhile (and I’m watching my blood pressure :-)) so to make a long story short–I paid him and politely invited him not to return the next day.
The moral of this story is ALWAYS GET REFERENCES! If you can, especially on a large project, go see their work at several sites. Also, you should have a detailed description and pictures of what you want. (I did have these and it didn’t help!)
It took me several months to get over that disaster! Especially since the water feature is right by the driveway and I was reminded daily of the consequences of my actions or should I say the lack of. When I finally started searching for someone to take out the mess and start all over, I definately talked to thier past clients and went to see their work.
The young men that I finally decided upon, Cliff and Bobby @ Fitz Water Design, were the most professional team that you could ever work with. They were fun to work with and did everything we discussed. Fabulous experience!
Now, one of my 2012 goals will be landscaping the areas surrounding the pond. The area will be a rock garden and I will be using small scale water-wise rock garden plants that will thrive in our 6b area. As I decide on plants, I am going to catalog each plants’ characteristics and I will be sharing these in articles for GOTR.
Also, this 2012 season, a major goal in the demo gardens of Little Cedars will be to focus on the sustainable landscaping guidelines found in SITES. SITES is The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and
for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. I will include articles on SITES in future GOTR articles.
The BIG picture is eventually to have all 7 acres of Little Cedars meeting the SITES guidelines. I would love for this to be a SITES project but I haven’t won the lottery yet. 😀
I will be sharing more info about SITES with you as I write. I thourghly believe in passing on our land in better shape than when we got it!