Traditionally, we have always done an extremely lackluster job of landscaping our houses.  The reality is that we operate on a tight budget and we would rather put our money towards features and elements on the house as we don’t believe the landscaping is going to make or break the sale of our houses.  We also try and rationalize this to ourselves by the fact that all of our homeowners universally love to garden and get out in the soil.  So, overtime it’s been great to see all of our houses slowly be beautified.

Building in a development for the first time and building in a development that values landscape and ecology, we were actually required to submit a native plant landscape plan and to plant a certain amount of trees and shrubs.  Seeing that the site has nothing but highly compacted virginia clay, with absolutely no topsoil, we thought a remedy was in order.

We rented a tiller and slowly worked our way through that hard pan of clay until it was workable.  We picked up a couple loads of awesome compost from Panorama Paydirt, spread it a couple inches deep and slowly tilled it into the soil.  Panorama prides itself on its nutrient rich organic compost, but after talking to a bunch of folks recently, it seems like the best thing we can do is just get some air into that soil, which the combination of the tilling and the compost does a great job on this.

Having that tiller on site, we went a little crazy and regraded the entire back yard.  Before, the grade kept precipitously falling away from the deck to the rear of the lot, which makes the backyard not all that useful.  We’ve also got this grand 50′ long deck and I can see folks hanging out on it and wanting to be able to look down on their kids playing.  So, we spent a large part of the day cutting a relatively flat section across the entire backyard.

The tiller is obviously not the most efficient way to push dirt around, but I can’t really justify having the excavator come back for such a small thing.  Plus, even the smallest excavator couldn’t get around to the backyard now that the HVAC equipment is in place. We weren’t able to do this grading when DIGS did the final grade as we still had our large shed on site in the backyard along tons of extra building materials.

Joey and Eleanor stopped by in the afternoon to check things out and confer on the final selection of plants.  She ran into Grace, our neighbor and green thumb at Riverbluff, and got some helpful advice on what to pick out.  Looking forward to planting later in the week.