Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Or in our case just a big rock mountain minus the candy.

After literally months of trying to get a landscape architect to look at our stubborn side hill, and then actually get back to us with a quote, we finally got a response. You may think I'm exaggerating, but the first guy was out here at the end of July.

Seriously, it was July 31st.

I checked my calendar just to be sure it didn't feel longer than it actually was. He is fairly well known in this area and came highly recommended.  He had grand plans for our little big hill, but sadly he disappeared into the stratosphere never to be seen again.

Okay, he's still around...believe me I checked, because I was just sure he must be lying in a hospital somewhere.  He never returned a single phone call, text, or email once he left our driveway.  Super annoying.  Almost as annoying as hubs asking me if the landscaper had called-texted-emailed-sent up smoke signals with a plan and estimate.

Guy number 2 never even made it to the driveway.
He made two appointments, but never showed.

Guy number 3 came for a walk-about September 22nd and said he'd have a plan to us by the following weekend.  I think what he meant to say was he'd have a plan to us by the following month because it finally hit our inbox on October 22nd.  At least he has a sense of humor and added, "I can assure you we work much faster than we estimate." 

He wasn't kidding. They dropped a digger off last night and by 7:45 am a full crew was here tearing up  improving the hillside.

At least I hope that's what they're doing.

To be honest this is suddenly happening so fast I haven't had time to study the fine print in the signed contract and know exactly what we've agreed to.

Other than the final cost of course.
That section I read twice.

The best part about them dropping off the digger last night was we knew they were serious about turning up today.  Hubs was able to delay leaving for work at the usual crack of dawn so he could talk to them about  every single detail the big picture. 

Last night he saw that digger and tried to start a conversation with me that went like this...'so tomorrow when they show up you need to go out there and blahblahblah..."

Literally, I heard blahblahblah.
Does he know me?

The side hill has been one of those things I look at every day as I pull into the driveway.  I shake my head at the enormity of a re-do, and then do what I do best-avoid.  I pull into the garage and figure we'll sort it out one of these days.

I guess one of these days is upon us.

I suppose there are women reading here who love managing this sort of thing, but I am not one of them.  I love a job well done. You can skip the part about how it happened and just surprise me with the finished product, thank you very much.

Another big part of the job involves relocating these huge burning bushes to a spot further back from the driveway edge. Why don't builders think about these things when they put the plantings in from the start?

They best not kill my burning bushes because they're gorgeous when they 'catch fire' every fall.

I went out to take a few pictures so there will be a before and an after. I was a little late to get the before on the hill but you get the idea.  It's quite possible I was still in my pjs when they cranked up the bulldozer, but  I'm sure they'll turn this mess into something lovely. Or at least something better than the wild overgrown it was before.

Besides bear, do you know what else we have a lot of here in Northern NJ?


I'm not sure you can tell how big and steep the rock is here, but suffice it to say there was no way to cut anything down from up there without risking life and limb. We needed the professionals.

Another  big part of the project involves redoing the pillars at the end of the drive. These pillars have been making hubs crazy since we moved in here three years ago.

A few dings from the snow plow haven't helped either.

We're changing them completely and instead of stucco they'll be stone to match what we added to the back of our house last spring.

This is so interesting isn't it?
What kind of excitement is happening at your house today?
Do you have some paint drying you'd like to show me?

Share away....


  1. Joyce...I don't envy you one single bit! I'm sure the end result will be worth it, but when it comes to things like that, I often wish I had a magic wand and, with a would all be done in a matter of seconds. No...I don't like having to supervise projects of that magnitude, either. When we had our house painted this spring, Chris would often go out of town, leaving me to make sure the job was done right. Not a fan.

  2. Yes your burning bush is gorgeous and I like you do not want to be involved in the middle of the project. Just give me the after today! I do think the pillars are going to be amazing. Can't wait to see what your doing on that hill.
    The hilltop we live on is solid rock, they had to do blasting to get a level top. But even before this house our last house had tons of rock. They actually had to use jackhammers to dig holes for the trees. I guess having beautiful mountains to look at gives us/you lots of rocks in the way. Glad you finally found someone dependable.

  3. My hubbie does the same thing - and can't figure out why I'm not jumping up and down with excitement to ask the kabazillion questions he needs the answers to! So glad the project's finally starting - and may they finish before the first snow!!

  4. Can't wait to see the final product when I'm home in 26 sleeps!!

  5. What a transfomation. I guess you have to tear something down before you rebuild. After all your waiting, you're probably too pleased to see the horror of the gouged earth. Hold onto your dream of the future.

  6. I don't like people working at my house - or do be in charge of these jobs! good luck and I can't wait to see the "after" pictures.

  7. I literally LOL'd at "so tomorrow when they get here..."
    Soooo what happens here. I don't know why they don't just plan on 'working from home' when these things are happening. It would surely save time and frustration if they did. Ha.
    You would think it wouldn't be so hard to get someone to come do the job...with the joblessness rate in America these days and such... Just sayin'

  8. OH, I'm with you. Hubs knows better than to ask me to get involved in something like that. I like just showing up when it's all "said and done." I bet this is going to be just gorgeous and you are going to enjoy pulling into your driveway to much more. Can't wait to see the "redo."

  9. I hope the day went well and that the project went forward without too much participation required on your part. I bet the end result will be wonderful.

  10. I can't wait to see it when it's done.

    I don't like being in charge of projects like that. I don't mind the planning, making decisions, etc. When we redid our kitchen at our old house, I was all over choosing cabinets, counters, hardware, etc. ... then I was done with the project until the kitchen was completed.

  11. This is the kind of overwhelming project I just would rather close my eyes on while being completed. Wake up and "presto" -- a new thing!

  12. "You can skip the part about how it happened and just surprise me with the finished product, thank you very much. "


  13. Looking forward to seeing the end result!

    We had the EXACT same problem with contractors when we were tidying up after the Sewer Debacle of 2010. There must be more work out there than they can handle, or just poor business manners.

    We had one fella tell us he just didn't want to do the job, it required too much "hand work" What's up with that?

    "Why don't builders think about these things when they put the plantings in from the start?"

    I understand what you mean by that. When we moved into our previous house we had SEVENTEEN trees removed right off the bat! Then spent the rest of the 9 years we lived there removing and redoing everything else that was crammed into the beds. :/

  14. Actually, I did find this interesting, though like you, I can't imagine enjoying the planning process.

    I like the way you write; your voice shines through, and you seem like someone I'd have fun with :)

  15. We do have paint drying! But I haven't taken a picture of it yet...
    Hubby powered washed bugs and cobwebs off the house a couple of weeks ago and had a bit too much pressure on one of the pillars on the front porch and washed some paint right off. So today he fixed it.