Monday, May 23, 2016

A Rocky Weekend

This weekend, it was all about the stones.

The planter is finished.  Before I upload the photo, though, I'd like to go on record as saying, "Never. Again."

Ye gods what a job that turned out to be.  And right up until the very end, I wasn't even sure it would even work: I pictured hours upon hours of work resulting in tiles that just peeled or popped off, one by one, into small heaps while I, the erstwhile do-it-yourselfer, collapsed weeping next to them.

But here it is (I really don't think I'll ever uncross my fingers when it comes to this project).

A couple of things.  I didn't realize that grout came in colors other than white, but obviously, of course it does.

Of course it does.  Of COURSE it does.

Thing was, because I didn't know this, I cheerfully picked up a little bucket of grout and didn't bother looking at the little color indicator on the side of the tub.

Sidebar to any grout manufacturers who might be reading this: you really might want to think about putting the little square that indicates the color on the FRONT of the container--you know, like the paint manufacturers do.  Just sayin'.

So what color did I pick up?  Gray.  Which was fine, and worked fine--actually better than white would have, in my opinion.  I think it went well with the tiles and created a nice weathered kind of look.

But YE GODS what a mess dark grey grout makes.  I mean, really.  If anyone out there reading ever comes to a point in their lives when they need to grout an entire bathroom or something with dark grey grout, please, take my advice on this: get a professional, and then book a vacation to Hawaii while they do the job.  You just don't want to be there to see it.

And can I just say, my dream of developing better grouting skills (yes, I know, I have odd dreams) was helped not at all by this project.  Because grouting uneven tile is the kind of task they're going to assign to murders and rapists in Hell, I think.

Very time consuming.  And getting the grout haze off the tile was particularly challenging at one point, because the grout dried more quickly than I had expected.  So that added a couple of extra hours to the process.

Finally, I told myself, "It's good enough."  And I put the flowers in it and put it on the corner of the yard, in the spot where the grass won't grow.  And this is what that looks like now:


So I think it's okay.  As you can see, I set various pots inside the huge tub, so as not to have to drill holes through the steel tub and risk rust.

I'm hoping that, over time, things will fill in and fill out a bit more--I may have to make some adjustments with the potting arrangement and the flowers as the summer unfolds.

We'll see.  But for now, it's done.

My other task for the weekend also revolved around rocks.  This spring, I had to have a few pine trees removed from my yard, and in one case, it left a bit of an odd situation.


The previous owners had put in a triangular section of rock wall, which was fine, so long as the tree was there to block the fact that the wall just basically existed rather randomly, and then ended with a similar kind of randomness.  Like so:


As you can see, I made what can only be described as a Valiant Landscaping Effort by putting in the Flowering Cleveland Pear Tree, but even I had to realize that this was not going to look good any time soon.

So I embarked on a quest to find out about rocks for my fragment of a rock wall.  It wasn't all that hard--I have a friend who is in the process of building a huge rock wall, so he was a wonderful resource for advice and information--and I knew that, given that the rocks were simply stacked, with no mortar involved, I would probably be able to do it.

Last week, I ordered a pallet of rocks, and on Friday, they delivered them.  I wasn't sure how many I'd need, but the thing was, the type of rocks I needed were only sold by the pallet, so I bought one.

I quickly realized that I would have more than enough for the wall, so I decided I'd make an edge around my herb garden.  I'd never really liked the light tan color of that particular raised bed, so I figured this would be a good chance to remedy that as well.  This was the result:


And wouldn't you know it?  As it turns out, I had EXACTLY enough rocks to do both walls.  Not a single stone left over. 

Not bad for a rocky weekend.

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