Sunday, November 6, 2011

And then we built a swimming pool

So I decided to rain garden. And I have to apologize to my friend Sue because I missed meeting her sister and drinking martinis to dig this stupid thing.

I followed the recommendations for sizing my rain garden, which is 10% of the area of roof feeding it. Roughly 500 square feet of roof dumps water into the rain barrel, so my rain garden needed to be about 50 square feet. That's freaking HUGE but I'd rather have too large a rain garden than overflowing water heading toward my house.

So I removed all the sod from the area.

And then I started digging.

And then I got tired and the ground was sort of hard so I decided to leave it for a week so the rain could percolate down.

This didn't help. The ground didn't really soften all that much and yet my yard was now extraordinarily muddy. Then I discovered that the hose that is supposed to drain my rain barrel during the winter wasn't doing that, so instead my rain barrel was dripping water out of the overflow in the side, which meant water was dumping next to the house. I honestly wish I had never put in this stupid rain barrel. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I can't get enough water pressure out of it to actually water anything (I think it needs to be elevated) and I didn't have an overflow system in place, so it's a worthless hunk of wood that dumps water next to my house. Me and rain barrel are totally in a fight.

So I took it out. We will figure out a way to use it somewhere else but we're going to figure out a way to make the overflow work to our advantage. And it's going to be elevated, damn it. But first I had to drain it, so I let it drain into the hole I had going so far. That softened everything up really nicely but I have NEVER been so muddy before.

Once I got the rain barrel moved out from behind the garage I had to hook up this stupid looking contraption because it was raining and the gutter was now hooked up to nothing. No time like the present to test the rain garden.

Then I had to rush and get prettified to go to a work party so I had to finish up the next day. Luckily the rain had stopped and it was freaking beautiful out. More of that, Portland! PLEASE. Greg installed a proper gutter and I rolled the rain barrel off to a corner so it could think about what it did.

We pick up the plants from the Audubon Society next Sunday. I ordered way too many plants or not nearly enough, I can't decide which. It really feels like this rain garden is going to be way too big. If that's the case we're going to re-route some other gutters to here, so they aren't dumping in stupid places (like the walkway next to trashcans WHY, GUTTER INSTALLERS?).

I have to tip my hat to those guys who bury bodies in the woods in the movies, using a solitary shovel by the headlights of an Edsel. That's hard work. I'm super pooped and sore everywhere.


  1. Dude, I will totally dig for you if you want to sit on the porch with Alvie and say, "Dig right there." Spring or fall.

  2. I like digging holes. Is that weird? I missed the plant order deadline (again), so think I'm just going to wait until spring. (Or, honestly, since I'm having a baby in April, next fall, right?)

  3. Thanks, Jordan! It really wasn't *that* bad digging by hand but it was really muddy. We couldn't fit heavy machinery into our backyard because the side yard is so slim, so we had no other choice. When we do the front yard? I might take some heavy machinery on that one. :)

  4. That is a ton of work, you're a better man than I. Well, you know what I mean. I'm way too lazy to dig giant holes without the help of some kind of machinery. That's what I get for having a dad who owns a construction company. Although, there are other tedious things that I have no problem doing by hand, like peeling a gazillion apples to make applesauce. I'm going to have carpal tunnel when I'm older, I'm almost certain. I'm sure your rain garden will turn out beautifully, just like the rest of your gorgeous yard.