Lawn Be-Gone

When we first moved into our house, there was a weird little strip of white rock out front. We quickly decided to remove the rock and return that little patch to grass. How hard could it be, after all?

The first year we waited, hoping it would fill in on it’s own. Nope.

The second year, we threw out some leftover grass seed the previous owners had left in the garage. And what do you know, beautiful fine green grass popped up almost immediately. The mail woman commented on how much better it looked. Then it died just as quickly as it had sprouted up. It turns out it was “temporary” grass meant to come up quickly to provide ground cover for the real grass seed that was supposed to be planted at the same time. The mail woman and I had a good laugh.

For the next couple summers, we ignored the dirt patch completely.

This year, we broke down and bought some sod. Rolled it out on the lawn and basked in its easy beauty. Chatted about it with the neighbors. (Why, oh why, do I never learn?) Then weeks of 100+ heat hit, despite watering and watering and watering, officially making us the neighborhood eyesore:

There’s always next year, right? Right???

Redirecting Rainfall AWAY from the Basement

Once we discovered the source of the basement water problem – the window – we were ready to fix it ASAP. First, we had to dig out the existing window well. Of course, we then had to pause to take pictures of the kids standing in the window well!

We rented a jackhammer to get the two big chunks of concrete out. We’re guessing that the previous owners must have been attempting to “fix” the water problem with their first pour. They had poured the concrete around a plastic planting pot with holes drilled in the bottom. I guess they thought that it would direct the water into the drainage tile. Bizarre. Then they must have discovered that it didn’t quite work out the way they had hoped. Instead of taking out the concrete chunk, they dumped a second batch on top. And then drilled holes in it. Brilliant! Ahem.

We chose a different and, we like to think, more rationale approach:

  1. Once the concrete was out, we dug down about a foot below the window, exposing the drainage tile (pipe).
  2. We placed a screen over the drainage tile to prevent gravel from falling into the pipe.
  3. Next, we attached a new window well. To create an extra deep semi-circle window well, we took two standard sized ones and connected them together.
  4. Then, we filled the window well with gravel to facilitate proper drainage: about 6 inches of pea gravel.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, my husband dug a happy valley, otherwise known as a small trench, along the side of the patio.

Although we had already removed the deck earlier in the summer (that, my friends, is a story for another day),  the damage to the small patio was already done as the weight of the deck support posts caused the patio to settle on the side closest to the window. However, our new trench effectively channels rainwater into the yard and away from the window altogether, despite the sloping patio.

Success! Over a year later, we haven’t had a drop of water come in the window, and we haven’t even replaced the cracked window yet.