May 2, 2018. I, Charley (architect), and Michael Parkey (landscape architect) met with multiple contractors at Tumble Moon in Saint Jo. It was a very long hard day. One of the contractors was the son of my general contractor, who has been undergoing extensive treatment for some serious illnesses. The son had been brought into the company to take care of things while his dad took care of his health. He had not met any of us and had to be filled in and brought up to speed which included going over the building of the side-door deck and steps and of course, the front porch’s elaborate system of steps and terraces. This was at least the third time, and hopefully the last, going over all this. I had construction documents drawn up to give Jacob, the general contractor’s son. He’s an engineer, so this was helpful.
The fifth and final site plan concept. The wood steps down from the porch have to end in a wood landing because the landing will be about 2′ above the slope below. This is too much grade change for the lower steps. From that landing down to the parking area are formed concrete steps with stone veneer applied to the top surface. There are two identical runs of steps (4 risers and 3 treads) and one 4′ x 4′ landing. We may not need the retaining wall you see near the bottom of the slope, because the lower steps are now going to be formed concrete.
Michael Parkey, the landscape architect, is currently tweaking this concept, and the final site plan should be ready for me to show you in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.
Here’s the progress as of Thursday, June 29. All the cabinetry had been installed, and the carpenter was informed on how to proceed with the trim work. The painter applied floor stain samples and interior paint colors for our approval. Unfortunately the floor stain was not at all what it was suppose to be, but the selected interior wall, ceiling, and window/door trim colors were perfect. The design and materials for the front steps and the descent down to the driveway were finalized, and one final site survey was done. I know I’m forgetting several somethings, but the following photographs should illustrate how far things have progressed.
My landscape architect’s accompanying letter:
Attached are three sketches for the driveway, parking, and porch steps.
There are two major problems that we are trying to solve. The first is the elevation change from the finish floor height (FF) of the house (assumed to be 100.0′) and the garage and parking area. The difference is about 10 feet. The second is the tight maneuvering space for cars between the garage and the house.
Last week we all met at Tumble Moon to go over wood floor options, exterior colors, and interior paint, tile, and countertop colors. And most importantly to work out the site’s grading and how to develop the approach to the front of the house, which I will cover in a future post.
My Giant Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’) is in full bloom and would have continued this wonderful show for another two weeks if a nor’easter hadn’t blown in. When I snapped the photo this afternoon around two o’clock, it was 71 degrees outside, then two hours later it was 55 degrees, and now six hours later, it’s 27 degrees. Their beauty will not survive. Our Texas weather extremes can be devastating to us gardeners.
Giant Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’) started sending up its bloom stalks in November, but the flowers didn’t start to unfurl until the very end of November. These Giant Leopard clumps have doubled in size since they were planted in the spring of 2014, so I’m kind of worried at just how big of a mass they will be next year. The University Park code enforcement lady loves to torment those who dare to plant something other than grass.
I finally decided on a name for my new piece of heaven, Tumble Moon. It’s the name of a Texas Dude ranch in an old campy film called Lightning Strikes Twice (1951). It seems that all the other name combinations that might describe my property’s uniqueness were already spoken for by multiple apartment complexes.
Shot over a two week period, these images are being posted just in time for Earth Day. It’s taken three years of hard work, patience, trial and error, and I have often wondered if it was in the stars for my gardens to become fully realized. Finally, there are results. This spring has rewarded me with loads of foliage and blooms. There are still areas (I call them “death gaps”) where additional and/or new replacements are required, but on the whole it’s reassuring that I haven’t wasted so much time, effort and money. In late June, I’ll photograph the gardens in their entirety, but in the meantime while the plants are filling in, here are photos of individual bloomers.
Should you meander down my alley, this is what you would see. With just a fancy lace chain link fence dividing my back garden from the alley, there’s nothing to obstruct this view. The following photographs were taken at the beginning of July when all plants were looking their best and blooming with one exception, my Texas Lilac Vitex. It had the unfortunate luck of blooming profusely four weeks prior when we had weeks of clouds and rain. Click on the link below for more views of my back garden.
Landscape Architect: Michael Parkey