Landscape Project

Hey Cottagers! Welcome to autumn fix up the cottage week…well not exactly, but it has been a busy week around the old camp as the landscaping renovations really took off in a big way.

You will recall from my last post….you did read my last post…right? that I had ordered six loads of ground from a local trucking contractor that lead to some discussion about a little more fill and some work to fix up the property a bit and perhaps build a boat launch.

Well….that is all done and it is exactly what I have dreamed of for years. I am more than a little pleased with the results of this landscape project, so much so that I am sitting up in the middle of the night writing about it so you will be able to read it when you get up in the morning.

Our property was always somewhat low, that is it was a bit boggy in places, and just low, almost below the lake in places. That meant that a good deal of the property was not very usable, for anything, so filling it was always a priority, and over the years we have filled quite a bit.
This project is probably the last in terms of fill and landscaping. I still have a strip about 30 feet wide which runs from the road to the lake. I intend to leave that alone, let the trees and bushes grow there at will, they make a good windbreak and they give us and the neighbors some privacy from each other.

Anyway…back to the story… you recall I ordered six loads of ground etc etc…so after some consulation about some additional work we got underway with a skidsteer, small excavator loader and a dump truck or two.

The guys really know their business and did a fantastic job, careful not to disturb the lake, and careful not to disturb the trees whenever possible. The rocks we used came right from our vacant lot which is predominately all rock anyway, small boulders, bigger than a man can handle but just right for an excavator and a skilled operator.

That, along with another guy who knows how to guide the equipment operator on placing the rocks in the right place, and you have what I suppose some would call a “seawall” although that’s not exactly how I describe it. I think it’s a work of art in some ways.

I am completely enamored with Kabota excavators…they are so versatile in the hands of a knowledgable operator.

Along the way they also constructed a boat ramp which is going to be perfect, whether for a pontoon boat if we decide to buy one, or my buddy Doug’s speedboat and even pulling the wharf in and out of the water.

It’s just the right angle to make backing a trailer in quite easy and it’s a good straight pull to tug a boat out of the water. Here is a picture of the completed boat launch. It is actually quite a bit steeper than it looks in the picture, but not so steep that pulling a boat out will be a problem.

They just finished the job and Wendy and I started spreading grass seed on the new topsoil. The only negative I can see out of this is that I will have more grass to cut.

We even got the contractor to put together a few big rocks for an outdoor fireplace. Perfect for those summer evenings enjoying a campfire with friends.

I intend to plant some natural foliage along the shoreline as well to #1 help keep the soil together and #2 to keep as much of the natural look as possible to the shoreline and landscape. .
Of course it will never look completely natural because of the rocks being placed as a wall, but they are rocks from the landscape and look like they belong there.

 I do admit, I agonized over the decision to do this, mainly because I knew it would take away from the natural look a bit, but the tradeoff was worth it. The shoreline looks much better in my opinion, and we needed a decent place to launch a boat. We have that now……

If you are considering doing something like this, here are a couple of things I learned. First, leave as many trees as you can, they look good when the job is done, add shade and some shelter, as well as a place for birds and wildlife.

Also, look for a reputable contractor who can show you a similar project that he has completed. Make sure he uses clean fill and stays back from the water. No rocks or fill should go in the water. Ask him to use existing boulders and not to build the wall too high. Make sure he keeps the slope low to avoid any unnecessary runoff during rainstorms. Check with your local legal folks to make sure you are allowed to do whatever it is you intend to do in terms of working around a shoreline.

I will be posting some more pics of this project on the Cottage Chronicles Photo Blog in the near future. I also have some other cottage projects on the go that I will be posting here soon. I’ve recently figured out a pretty cool system for a veranda deck railing, and I am in the middle of raising a shed to level it and perhaps even move it to a new position on the property.

I’ll be writing about them both soon so stay tuned….oh yes I am also re-siding the exterior of the cottage so that will probably be a post or two as well and we have an old labrador dog who is dropping by the cottage daily for a visit too I will show you some pics soon…..Yup…I am busy.

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