They Say That Granite Rings - Xeriscaping in the Postnuclear Free-World

Discussion in 'General Off Topic Forums' started by mfrench, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. bobabode

    bobabode AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,087
    Location:
    SoCal
    Looks great, Mike. Anza Borrego is going to explode in wildflowers this year.
     
    mfrench likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,684
    Location:
    usa
    Your water flow control system is working beautifully.
     
    mfrench likes this.
  3. Mystic

    Mystic We're all born mad

    Messages:
    42,204
    Location:
    Ligne Maginot
    Great to (read) the system has worked out, Mike, y'all put in a tremendous effort to construct it. :thumbsup:
     
    mfrench likes this.
  4. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

    Messages:
    50,232
    Location:
    Hertfordshire, UK
    A great deal of hard work, it looks great! - great pictures and a great read, I am pleased for you that it all worked out. :thumbsup:
     
    mfrench likes this.
  5. goat67

    goat67 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,327
    Location:
    Twin Cities MN
    All I can say is WOW great read and a great job.
     
    mfrench likes this.
  6. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    Yep. Exactly.
    Rodents..... [rolls eyes smilie here].
    I spent the morning up on the property above me trying to improve things a bit after the test firing; and, trying to hammer out gopher holes that might be allowing flows into them.
    Result: No real improvement on the gopher springs, and a maddeningly large project to try to handle.

    It is raining even harder right now than it was the other day, and the creek is flowing quite hard again.
    I took my camera and ran video and walked several hundred miles (really?) yards up the fire road rain gutter on the neighbors property (that which brings us lots of runoff). So, I'm in the process of offloading the vids, and will try to get them onto YouTube.

    Thanks!
    Wild flowers....
    Yeah, that should be great!

    Unfortunately, this rain seems to have come a year late for a lot of the native plants around here. Sarge (the spousal unit) and I drive through the canyons of DeLuz and the Sandia Creek drainage, quite often. We did it again a couple of days ago, just an hour before the first dry creek flowing episode. There are a lot of dead oak trees, and other native shrubs, in that area, and in Fallbrook area. We don't need so much wild fire fuel in these parts. Such is life around here; it will come back eventually.

    Thanks!
    I'm quite happy with the result. I just wish that we didn't have the gopher springs popping up in odd areas. It makes me worry for the house foundation.


    Thanks, Mystic.
    Yeah, huge effort. I got the rocks for free,... But I had to get them out of the huge rock/boulder pile; load them into the truck, and haul them home. So, yep, it amounted to a big pile of work, and a long time in placing them all. [shudders smilie here]



    Thanks to you kind sirs. And thanks for the kind words.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
    hjames and Jeffery like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. Jeffery

    Jeffery High Powered Mutant Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,787
    Location:
    Timbuktu, Mali
    Glad you guys are getting some rain, and glad your system is working out. If nothing else, it looks a lot better than bare dirt!

    I remember reading this thread back in the day, it's fun to come back and see the works in action.
     
    mfrench likes this.
  8. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    Seems like it took a while for me to find the rock gardening groove again. It happened during the recent Cal fires, in the form of a planter I'm calling Fire on the Mountain
    This was a really old Eucalyptus that finally passed on. To remove the fire hazard, we had to ahve it cut down. I made a planter in the stump.
    This is the Fire on the Mtn. Planter
    DSCN5625.jpg

    Then my wife and I drove into the back country of San Diego, and into some really wide open wild lands, on a drive to survey just how much potential for fire there is out there right now; hundreds of miles. Part of that drive was also a rock gathering effort.

    I found enough rocks to create another planter just a couple of days after the Fire on the Mtn planter.
    DSCN5682.jpg DSCN5692.jpg DSCN5693.jpg

    OK,.... inspiration drawn from wind, fires, and now rain.
    Rain,.... one of the things that you can count on to bring rain is raw dirt being exposed. Break a shovel full of soil, and the clouds begin to develop on the horizon.

    I've spent the better part of a week gathering basalt and granite rocks and boulders. I need to create a retaining wall at the entry to our place. Its steep there, and, erosion concerns me for losing my driveway, which diagonals up a cut in the hillside. One side has a reataining wall, the other side is just a dirt slope.
    Today, I went gathering large stone that I could in no way possibly lift. I managed to move the biggest mofo of a rock that I've ever been able to budge. I'm strong, and, have lifted what in rock gardening terms is a two man rock; one that should require two guys to lift. I can manage two-man stone by myself, and, have lifted 400lb stone. Today, I doubled that, but, not technically lifting it. Today, I managed to get that sucker from the ground, and into a 4x6 rental trailer. I'm estimating it at double my 400lb rock, and, will call it a 750lb'r. This one goes beyond "x-man rocks", and into the realm of excavator lifted stone; none to be had, time to tough up.

    The inspiration came from a planterr that I just built at the end of my driveway. I needed to create a planter there to fend off street edge flow, and off-flow from my own driveway.
    img5682 & 5692 are that driveway end planter

    The water district has a valve and drain bypass line on my property at the street edge, with a proper easement. They dug up the valve covers, and left their dig without much backfill, which caused erosion. That erosion concerns me for my driveway. So, I started digging with the intent of a dry-stacked stone retaining wall.

    Today, came mass.
    img5706+ shows the big one from distance. It is the bluish white basaltic boulder with the shovel next to it for scale.
    The other rocs range heavier than I can lift, all loaded with my rock cart (heavy duty Harbor Freight hand truck), and small rental trailer.


    tuckered out
    . DSCN5706.jpg DSCN5707.jpg DSCN5708.jpg

    Everything around the behemoth weighs in around 500lbs. Moveabe for me, but not liftable. These will be my base course in dry stacking. All hand collected today.

    I have also been gathering smaller rocks for higher up the wall, and for shimming and chinking-in.
    Tomorrow, the stacking begins in ernest.
    Check back for details,...
    DSCN5704.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    bobabode likes this.
  9. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    19,462
    Location:
    Picker's Paradise
    Nice work mfrench. My home is also on a hillside with not much set back from the slope. Draining water and keeping it from standing is a challenge. Thought about french drains but that does not remove water. I don't want the ground to become saturated and get under my slab. In ground drain pipes would quickly clog with silt and debris, which with the distance the pipes have to run would be a real maintenance problem. Decided to pour concrete with v-shaped surface drain all around the back of my home and all the way to the street.

    I also practice water conservation with my landscaping and with my water usage. I try to pick up succulent trimmings from the curb and off free CL and have a yard full of cacti, aloes, and agaves. I practice a light form of greywater. Soapy water goes into the sewer system but rinse water is used for irrigation. 5-10 gallons a day are re-purposed which adds up over time. I try to run the hose as little as possible.
     
  10. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    That spot where the big rocks are at, where the water district has dug, it is a "bypass" valve for the main water main to town, a mere 24" water main pipe as a front yard whimsy.
    The pipe isn't directly under my property, just this certain wing of it that they use when they have to shut the water supply off for town. To my understanding, there is too much pressure on the pipe when it is flowing to be able to use a gate valve to close it off. So, they turn on this bypass to take off the pressure while they turn off the mains. The bypass valve is what I have.

    All of that to say that this retaining wall now has a theme, water.
    I have three sections of concrete pipe up in my outback crap pile, 8" i.d. and llikely a 12" o.d. x 2' long They are pieces of a decorative Roman style column that a friend took down. Of the three sections, I'm dedicating two of them to create a bridge over my funtioning dry creek drainage. And the third will be used in this wall.
    The third piece, I'm going to put into this wall, in one of the courses of the stones, and have it emerge like a water pipe from the hillside. I'm going to develop a faux valve for it, and, fill it with dirt, and this one particular south african succulent ground cover that we have that has a tendency for draping. It is a green-blue color, and looks like flowing water. So, the pipe will be filled with dirt, and some of this ground cover to look like water flowing from the pipe. My oade to water in SoCal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  11. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    Wall mostly built. And I managed to only destroy one finger in the process.
    One of the big ones needed a shim behind it to get it angled properly. As I was adjusting that shim, it slipped sideways 90º, wedged against the hard cut face of the soil, and, the 500lb rock fell backwards, klacking the tip of my right pinkie finger. But instead of the typical granite screech on hitting more granite, there was a dull, very painful thud. My finger was literally stuck, requiring me to use my "weak" side hand to pull this monster off of my finger.

    Throbbing purple finger tip.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    Stacked stone all day,.... take shower, gettting dark, take pictures.
    Still a lot of work to go before declaration of fin.
    DSCN5712.jpg DSCN5713.jpg DSCN5714.jpg DSCN5715.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  13. Yamaki

    Yamaki Not For Hire Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,388
    Location:
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Great looking project, Mike!
     
    mfrench likes this.
  14. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,684
    Location:
    usa
    That's a fine looking retaining wall.
     
    mfrench likes this.
  15. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    well, thanks, gents!

    Todays progress (after rain days off),...

    The very quaint, silver pipe in the middle of the image,... it belongs to the local water district. It is how they marked locations of critical valves, etc. It is supposed to mark that their equip't is within 3' of the silver pipe.
    They came and dug that stuff up a couple of yeas ago, and then left it as raw cut, with no backfill. In their effort, they failed to find a pair of valve covers on my property; a bypass vale, and bleeder riser. These things had been buried by about 18", and they failed to find them and left a raw cut.
    In doing some prep digging for some sort of retaining wall, I found them.
    This "bypass valve" is a relief bypass that they'll open when they need to shut off the main to town, which is under the road, just off of my property.
    So, with the water works being central to this effort, I have developed a whimsy for the wall, in the form of a fake water main pipe coming out of my hillside, an umbrella stand for a gate valve stanchion, and directly over their water works (or close to them).
    DSCN5738.jpg DSCN5739.jpg DSCN5740.jpg

    My faux pipe, bulkhead, and, gate valve. I like ArtDeco, and these are close enough to that for my needs. I'm going to create a valve handle, but need to find the right handle first. For now, my faux water works.
    DSCN5741.jpg

    updated already,...
    new handle found, and purchased.
    I adore ArtDeco. The pipe and bulkhead, in my mind, find that happy place. I looked at handles, and found one that, in my happy place, reminds me of early Deco, Neauveau era; the curvy spokes:
    s-l1600.jpg

    The pipe and bulkhead are from a Roman-type concrete column that a friend of ours took down from their yard. I liked the looks of it, and, will be using the two remains pieces of pipe in a dry-creek creek crossing bridge for my seasonal off-flow stream.
    DSCN5742.jpg
    DSCN5743.jpg

    Since we're so despertely dry, Water Works is the theme. I intend to plant a draping ground cover in the end of the pipe, that is a water'ish green-blue, and, appears close enough to falling water. I'll plant it in the pipe, and mimic water falling over the wall.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
    John James and lokerola like this.
  16. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,999
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    That is some serious hardscaping. Great work, looks awesome.
     
    rxonmymind and mfrench like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    19,462
    Location:
    Picker's Paradise
    So Cal is getting a nice rain this morning. I took the easy route and installed concrete with surface drain to keep water away from the house. Not elegant but it is effective and maintenance free.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    rxonmymind and mfrench like this.
  18. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,366
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

    Nice work!
     
    mfrench likes this.
  19. mfrench

    mfrench Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,406
    Location:
    On the West Side of Rainbow
    I've had to rim the entire house with foundation drains and surface drains as my last stand against my hillside above us. All of my raingutters terminate into concrete dranbboxes that dump into 4" drain pipe that quickly evac's it from the house.
    Then what to do with it?
    I dug a likely 100' trench out to what we call the sump, which is an odd low point out at the street edge of the property. From there, the drain pipe resurfaces, flows into a low area about 20' diameter, and it soaks into a stand of Live Oaks, and my lower lime grove. Its like a small pond, this sump, but, it is so sharply draining, that when we emptied our swimming pool, which quickly dumped 12k gallons of water, it never even puddled, it just went straight into the ground. The sump is an odd anomaly.
     
  20. nj pheonix

    nj pheonix AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,366
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Your workmanship and ingenuity are top notch.
    Me, I would've moved:D
     
    mfrench likes this.

Share This Page