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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Beauty (Restoration) is in the Eye of The Beholder (Customer)

I love this story (still, work-in-progress) so if you have the time, read on. If not, come back when you do have time.

If you click on and enlarge the image to the left you may notice a huge double gate in the background. But, probably not. There is many, many years of growth between that gate and the camera.

The property owners contacted us about clearing out, to a certain extent, the back half (back forty times two if you understand the Homestead Act of 1862) of their property, which is legally a single property lot, but for all practical purposes, could be two.

I visited with the owners and they wanted me to propose clearing out (Cut Back, Clean Up being our original company tag line) the entire back half. I said, "No", not like the previous ten or so companies or people they had spoken with, but "no" to the idea of proposing the entire project. A project of this size I prefer to break down into several smaller projects for a variety of reasons.

Oh, someone had begun to work on this area, but I could tell they had no plan and left after a few hours the first day (something about a spider bite), never to return.

Well, the owners were looking to have the pool demolished/filled-in and I proposed the first area to be worked be that one necessary for the crew they chose to do so to be able to access and work on the pool and deck area.

This is (was) a beautiful (at some time) 40 by 20 in-ground gunite pool with beautiful tiles and a concrete deck with an upper retaining wall of stone. I could imagine how the entire area once looked, but most of you know the story - pools can be maintenance headaches, expensive and can be a detractor for would-be buyers.

The next photo is that of the area (opposite view from the previous photo) after completing the project.

Many passing-by neighbors on the road along the back property stopped often to tell us they had no idea what was on the other side of that gate. Some didn't even know the property was
occupied. One said he once was able to see the lake looking through the property. Well, the home is on the other side on an entirely different street. Note: The current owners inherited much of this mess.

This is no ooh ahh moment for many of you viewing these images and may ask, "What's the big deal?" or say, "I don't get it."

I get that you may not get it and many of you may have heard me say before in regards to projects like this: The goal may not be to create Brookgreen Gardens or Augusta National, but to get the landscape manageable or simply cleared out, perhaps leaving a few key plants and pruning them or considering what can be done next. Sometimes we have plans for plant beds or new grass or the customer wants to do their own work, but most of this can't even be imagined until work like this is done.

Then came Phase Two. I was trying to define an area for the next project and left of the previous pool and upward toward the rear property line made sense. The property owner said, "Well, there's the little white house." "Wait, what little white house?" Unbeknownst to me, I had no idea where the hell this little white structure was. The growth is so dense you can't see more than fifteen or twenty feet in certain areas. The Germans would have been better of with these masses of growth in both wars instead of the hedge rows in France.

After some exploring, lo and behold, I found a little white house with a front porch and a loft which use to serve as an art studio - plain, buy actually kind of cool.

So, one of the exterior walls of the little white house became one of the borders for the next project area. These projects were becoming little adventures of discovery - again, kind of cool.

This next photo was taken looking toward the direction of the next project. If you click and enlarge the image, and look really, really hard you may be able to see the little white house. Again, I doubt it. In fact, no, nada, zilch.

Oh, the spider-bite victim left this pile of debris behind, as well as several others.

Project complete. Look, a little white (well, blue-gray) house, and the fence! Many a shrub and tree were removed and probably my record for the number of feet of vines taken out or cut back, many of which had become the predominant foliage in the crowns of the trees. Not all vines could be removed from the crowns of some other taller trees, but at least they were severed and will die - not pretty, but now the trees have a better chance. Those remaining trees were pruned to a certain height, mainly for health reasons.

This photo was taken from a different angle, partially because the pool had been filled, but mainly to better show the work which had been done.

If you are not having an ooh ahh moment now, sorry. Damn it! We found the little (now) blue-gray house!

Cut Back, Clean Up is no longer our tag line - we do so much more. But, I still love these projects for some odd reason, not only simply for the results.

Before, on the first day of these types of projects, a guy who used to work with me would say, "Look what kind of mess you've gotten us into this time." Which was so apropos. That's one of the things we do.

The next and current project lies in front of the blue-gray house and who knows what we will find next. Where is Geraldo Rivera?

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