Matt’s Birthday Gift To Me This Year

Tomorrow, June 21st, is my birthday. Matt and I generally don’t do much for our birthdays for obvious reasons (you know…Matt being housebound for 13 years and all). So generally, our birthdays are just a relaxing day at home where the birthday person gets to choose the restaurant(s) and movie(s) for the day. Our birthdays are very low key.

As far as gifts go, Matt and I both stopped asking each other what birthday gift we want many years ago because there was rarely anything that either of us wanted that would be a great gift idea. Since we couldn’t go on trips or do anything outside of the house, all I ever wanted was additional money in my monthly house project budget to put towards whatever project I was working on at the time. 😀 So that kind of became the norm over the years. It’s boring, but it worked for me.

But this year was different. This year, I knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday. I wanted a consultation with a landscape designer who can do a CAD drawing showing our one-acre lot completely designed with landscaping, hardscaping, lighting placement, etc. Y’all know what I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about those amazing drawings that look like this…

Y’all know that I’ve been ruminating on some outdoor ideas lately. I’ve become a bit obsessive about some of them, like figuring out how to have a water feature in the tiny “courtyard” area outside of the breakfast room (sitting room) windows. The more I look at those ideas that I posted about the other day, the more I love either the sculptural fountain idea…

through facebook

…or the idea of ​​a sugar kettle fountain, as long as I can incorporate a platform of some sort where birds can stand in shallow water to drink and bathe.

I’ve also been obsessively looking at driveway ideas. I’m so glad that I posted about my consideration of aa chip seal driveway, because I knew that y’all would have some great input! And I wasn’t disappointed. After reading your experiences with chip seal driveways and streets that some of you have had, it has made me reconsider. It was especially those experiences regarding the asphalt getting soft and/or bubbling in the really hot weather that made me think perhaps there was a better idea for our driveway.

So at this very moment, I’m considering a gravel driveway. I love the idea of ​​having a permeable driveway (that means no standing puddles of water after rainstorms). And if I have it installed using those hard plastic grids that keep the gravel in place, and use small enough gravel to fill in those grids, the driveway will be wheelchair accessible. Here’s a video showing one brand of grid called Core used for a driveway, and you can see how a wheelchair and bicycle easily go over the gravel.

And here’s a very quick video showing how it’s installed.

I do love the charm of a gravel driveway, but I never thought it would be accessible for Matt. But after spending quite a bit of time over the last week researching these various types of grid products used to make gravel driveways more durable and long-lasting (the grid keeps the gravel from being displaced), and seeing that they also make them wheelchair accessible , it seems like a great option.

And then I’ve also tossed around the idea lately of incorporating my own walking track on our one-acre lot.

Gravel may be a great idea for that project as well if I can use those grids to keep it in place.

So those are the things I’ve discussed on the blog, plus I’ve been gathering general ideas for landscaping to narrow down things that I do like and things that I know for sure I don’t like. For example, I know that on either side of our front sidewalk that goes from the front porch to the street, I’d love planting beds on either side that look something like the left side of this sidewalk.

And I’ve also learned that I really like flower beds to be lined somehow so that there is a clear separation between the bed and the grass. In other words, something like this…

So while I have all of these random ideas floating around in my head, I have no idea how to put them all together into one cohesive plan using plants that will do well in my area, or that will thrive under our huge oak tree in the front yard.

I need someone to help me. And after spending about two hours yesterday looking at the picture galleries and reading the customer reviews of all of the landscape designers in the area, I’m pretty sure I’ve found my person. I’ve already been in touch with him, and I’ll be setting up an appointment for sometime hopefully next week.

I’m so excited to see what he comes up with!! I’m hoping he can take my jumbled mess of ideas and come up with something really great that I can spend the next couple of years incorporating one project at a time.

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