Home Renovation II


Richard, are you really restricting yourself to designated planters from now on? :grin:


Yup. If it’s not on the irrigation system it’s not in the yard. I am going to have irrigated pots on two of the patios …


Everything looks great!


Today I had a custom soil mix delivered for the vegetable/herb beds and the 4 massive citrus tree holes. It is:
10 c.y. triple-ground redwood bark
3 c.y. Nitrohumus
7 c.y. washed sand


Damn richard. You are hardcore my friend. When you do something you go all out!


This soil looks really nice. How much did it cost per c.y.? I buy compost from the city, it’s dark and nice, at about $10/c.y., it’s the cheapest I can find here. I use tiller to mix compost and some gypsum into my clay soil for tree plantings. For pots, I use a mixture of compost and Diatomaceous Earth.


Including mixing and delivery it worked out to $57/c.y.

Stan, isn’t there already calcium in your clays? I’d opt for something fibrous to mix with the compost that doesn’t break down so fast – such as sphagnum peat moss or triple-ground redwood bark.

I’ve got those “3rd little pig” genetics!


Wow, that’s expensive!

My soil isn’t calciferous, it’s alluvial deposit clay, we are not far from the San Joaquin river delta. Anyway, I use gypsum mostly to flocculate the clay without affecting the pH.


This is cheap for $10, I got $30, $40 if delivered.

Richard, this is really nice!


I’m afraid that Richard has set the bar so high with his orchard landscaping it might never be topped. Home renovation is also super good but I’m not sure if he or his wife gets the credit for the home.


With delivery, I pay $250 for 20 c.y. (so it amounts to $12.50 per c.y.). It was below $200 a few years back, but they increase the price each year.


I get composted horse manure for free if I pick it up. For delivery, I got charged $80 for a bit more than 8 cu yards. I prefer horse manure to city compost. First one is quality feed through the horse but the latter is crap people dump on the street!


Wow! That’s some nice dreamscaping! Your backyard will be a fruit lover’s paradise! Question – is your house stick built or concrete block construction? I get the impression concrete block construction is more popular in California. When’s the reveal date and big party? Are you going to do a youtube tour? Your climate seems quite dry compared to all the rain we’ve had here in the east, and then some flooding. We’re going to have to kayak on lakes more often, since the swollen rivers can be a hazard (our friend almost drowned a month ago). Our Memorial Day Weekend forecast? Rain, thunderstorms and maybe flooding. Saturday morning and early afternoon may be the only dry period we get!

Our back yard has an ugly retaining wall leaning over – We put shutters on the kitchen windows so we wouldn’t see it! LOL But at the top of the wall I’ve planted a line of raspberry and blackberry bushes. Plus our tiny front yard needs a retaining wall – to accommodate the weeping mulberry I just planted and to give us about 10 feet of space from our sidewalk to where the wall would sit. Project for next year! And you know what? I didn’t realize I already have 2 female white mulberry trees in my yard until after I purchased this weeping mulberry. I was looking at the leaves and fruit and had my “duh!” moment. Although the weeping mulberry has darker berries and the shape is quite ornamental – plus the dwarf size is appropriate for our front yard. I was just deliberating, and deliberating if it would do well in this front spot – and “duh”! That “nuisance” small tree in the front is actually another mulberry tree! And I looked in our yard some more and there are some mulberry saplings – don’t know if they’re male or female trees. I did find a male mulberry tree across the street. Apparently you need both if the berries are going to be viable. If any one is interested (Roanoke, VA), you can have them for free! You dig. One is about 3 feet tall.


Compared to composted green waste and horse manure - yes. However, both break down into clays in a few years time.

For the same mix as mine?

Concrete foundation with 1960’s grade lumber.

No. It’s a disaster waiting to happen in earthquakes, and outlawed for housing in many districts.

We’re moving back in the weekend of June 3rd. I’m planning a series of open houses after that.

For M. rubra but not M. alba.


For compost, I just gave a more accurate number (including delivery) for the compost price I quoted above.


Concrete block (CMU) is not normally used in California residential home construction. It requires a significant amount of rebar in addition to solid grouting of all of the block cells to resist seismic loads. This makes other alternatives much more cost effective. Most homes and apartments up to 4 stories tall are stick built with stucco or lightweight precast exterior panels. The large wood buildings frequently have steel rods (tie downs) embedded in the walls, cast in the foundation and extending continuously to the roof to keep the building in one piece tied to the foundation during an earthquake.

In commercial construction, projects that call for CMU walls are frequently converted to shotcrete for a more cost effective solution. In shotcrete construction, one side of the wall is formed with steel or wood panels and a high pressure nozzle operator shoots a special concrete mix horizontally onto the form panel to make a wall.

Warehouses are frequently designed with “tilt up” panels instead of CMU or brick which is more common in other parts of the country. In tilt up construction the ground floor concrete slab is first cast, then they pour the concrete walls flat on the floor and tilt them up with a crane. This is common for warehouses 2 to 3 stories tall.


I forgot about earthquake proofing buildings. Something we usually don’t do here in the east. Although we did have that earthquake a few years ago – centered in Louisa County, Virginia. It could be felt for hundreds of miles – very widespread. I felt our house shaking and the china cabinet rattling. The Washington Monument (5 hour drive from here) got damaged too. Hopefully we won’t get any more. We’re more likely to have damage from thunderstorms, or more rarely – tornadoes. Although a few have struck nearby – they just don’t hit the mountains too often. We did have a durecho a few years ago which caused a LOT of damage – worse than any snow storm or bad thunderstorm. Last year lightning struck near our house and burned a hole in our CSST pipe (yellow flexible gas line), turning it into a blow torch in our basement. Thankfully we caught it in time, shut the gas off and put the fire out. It did not set the smoke alarms off (gas is clean burning!) but was getting close to burning up a joist holding up the floor. I think once the wood had caught fire, then our alarms would have gone off. We were pretty lucky – it could’ve been much worse. BTW, that CSST is hazardous! It is susceptible to lightning burning a hole in it. Never would have thought it could happen to us. Nevertheless, we got rid of it and switched to black steel gas pipes.


Well – you can tell I’m still learning about mulberries! Easy care but strange trees in some ways. I don’t even know where to get a Red Mulberry tree! I see all the other varieties available at nurseries – some do better in dry climates and others work in the Southeast. I prefer the dwarf varieties so that they don’t shade out my other fruit trees. I’ll bet you’re excited to be closing in on the FINISH date and open house! And then just enjoying your renovated house and orchard. Do you all have a pool in the back yard, too? Or would a pool infringe on the orchard space?


Nope, I have micro perforations in my ear drums from childhood ear infections and so sticking my head underwater just leads to trouble.


Today there is one crew painting the house and another installing synthetic putting green on the miniature golf course. :grinning: