Friday Flora & Fresh Air

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 1Nothing takes my breath away ….

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 3like blue agapanthus …

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 4in the early evening hours of July.

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 2Our courtyard agapanthus are in the midst of their swan song …

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 7The petals are falling fast, and soon, the hummingbirds will move on to greener pastures (most likely to the blooming bottle brush flowers in the backyard).

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 5

It won’t be long before this is just a memory.

Courtyard Agapanthus late afternoon 6

Few things in life can rival the thrill of having a charm of hummingbirds hover near you as you sit outside in the your favorite chair, enjoying the flora and fresh air of July.

Courtyard late afternoon backgammon

Have a wonderful weekend.

Broken to Beautiful – Salvaging a Cracked Concrete Patio

Eichler Courtyard One of the features that made us instantly fall in love with our Eichler was the front entry courtyard. Our orange front door leads to this private space while the dark brown fence shields it from the street (and provides the perfect background for our blue agapanthus).

photo-11When we bought this house six years ago, ivy covered the front fence and overgrown shrubs blocked the view of the mountains. Worse yet, one of the two large rectangular concrete patios was terribly cracked and uneven. Something had to be done.

Front Courtyard Before 2

I began by ripping out the ivy and cutting down the shrubs, but dealing with the patio required a bit of creative thinking. Replacing it wasn’t an option.

eichler exterior hardscape plan

Our house has five distinct outdoor living spaces, with five sets of matching exposed aggregate concrete patios, all made with “Teri Beach” pebbles that are no longer available. As a result, replacing just the courtyard patios would have ruined the cohesive feel of the house. At the same time, replacing everything would have been incredibly wasteful (and expensive!) – all of the other hardscape was in excellent condition.

Front Patio with Blue Tape 3 I had no choice but to come up with another solution.

Front Patio Before 1

After doing a bit of brainstorming with a roll of blue tape, I decided to salvage the broken slab by having it cut into smaller rectangles and squares.

Front Patio Before 3

After contacting dozens of concrete contractors (all of whom complained that our job was “too small” and thought my idea was “ridiculous” or “impossible”), we eventually found someone willing to take on our “little” job, someone willing to think differently.

Sawcutting Front Patio 3 Sawcutting Front Patio 4

Front Patio Demo 1 Front Patio Demo 3After sawcutting the broken slab into pieces, our landscape contractor removed the excess concrete and thankfully, only one square had to be moved into a new position.

Front Patio After 1

Front Patio After 2

After moving and leveling one square, I cleaned the slabs with water, added some soil, and planted two flats of succulent Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ in the spaces in between.

Front Patio After 3

Since then, the succulents have filled in and the courtyard is once again a tranquil retreat.

Front Courtyard Patio - After