Planting the Front Foundation Shrubs

In addition to helping Sug and me hang the final shutters Charlie started to plant the new shrubs.

The graded foundation area.

First he graded the dirt in the front of the house.

The original plant had 2 boxwood in the back spaced under the shutters and three in front centered on the window.

Together we placed the plants in position considering appropriate distances between the house and the plants and between the plants themselves. Ultimately the plants in back grow larger than the ones in front.

Charlie used a mattock to remove tree roots.

Holes were dug to accommodate the plants.

Holes were dug and watered.

Then Charlie filled the holes with water.

A shovelful of dark, rich compost was added to each hole.

He shoveled some of his well-rotted compost into each hole.

The bushes were planted at the same depth they were in their pots.

The bushes were removed from their pots and the roots separated.  The shrubs were put in their holes and covered with dirt.

Helleri Japanese holly in front; Green Velvet boxwood in back because it will grow taller.

By the end of Saturday the left-hand half of the foundation planting was finished.

The plants still need to be mulched with wood chips.

Together we set up the plants for the right hand side of the yard which Charlie plans to start digging today.

Do you create your own compost?

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New Window, Old Shutter

Now that we have painted and hung all the shutters on the original windows of the house, we need to hang a couple on the newly-built area.

The shutter over the porch roof is just outside the laundry on the old section of the house.

The window over the side porch is original.

The rectangular window between the 2 round windows is on the new addition.

The window next to it, the one in the master closet, is a replacement window with Azek trim which is wider than the vintage trim.

The hinges on the shutters on the old part of the house are mounted at right angles to the face of the house.

I was helped in figuring out the correct mounting technique by OldHouseGuy.com/shutters.  His explanation of shutters both old and new is welcome and informative. His side comments are hilarious.

The old front door shutters were screwed flat to the front of the house.

According to the Old House Guy window shutters began to be installed by screwing the shutter onto the siding NEXT TO, instead of directly on top of window casing, and without the use of hinges.  A no no for sure. We could have used this technique.

We put the screws on from the back of the hinge.

Instead we have decided to hang the shutters on their original hinges but we used an unconventional method since the shutters don’t actually have to close.

We attached the hinge to the window trim with the right side facing the frame and a spacer to offset the thickness of the knuckle.

We hooked the hinges to the shutter the normal way but screwed them to the window frame behind the shutters.

Placing the bottom hinge carefully is important to hanging the new shutter.

The bottom hinge was screwed to the frame by measuring the distance from the bottom of the shutter to the bottom of the hinge. Then the shutter was put in place by inserting the bottom pin.

The right side was applied first.

The top hinge was pinned together then screwed to the window frame while right side toward the window frame on top of a spacer.

The shutter installation was easier as the side of the house shaded over.

Charlie and Sug worked together to get this set of shutters hung.

The top of the house is finished.

We were happy the unconventional hanging method makes the shutter on the new window look like the ones on the original windows.

Have you figured out some creative way to handle a traditional situation?

Two Tasks for Today

Our foundation shrubs arrived via free delivery from the nursery.

We’re going to try to split our human resources today to accomplish two different projects.

We tried a few different layouts.

Charlie is going to start planting up the shrubs in the front yard.

In the end we went with the original plan.

His goal for today is half the planting totally finished.

From the driveway viewpoint the plants are being set well away from the foundation.

Unfortunately it’s not just digging; there are tree roots running through the front yard that have to be mattocked out.

The 2 new windows beyond the porch need shutters to be newly sized and mounted.

I plan to finish up the details on the house shutters.  No doubt Sug will help both of us.

Are you enjoying fall weather?

The Edge of the Driveway

The Japanese plum yew at the corner of the driveway in front of the house is unusual.

The Japanese yew is at the right of the photo.

Charlie was hoping we were going to cut it down or dig it up.

Golden Thread False Cypress

Instead I purchased 3 Golden Thread false cypress plants to enhance the area.

The false cypress is a bright light in the shade of the front yard.

The yew is about 4-feet tall and the false cypress grows to a height of about 3 feet and spreads to about 3.5 feet.

We will spread the plants apart.

We need to be careful to give the plants enough room to grow.

Is it difficult for you to space small plants foreseeing their ultimate size?

Burying, Grading, and Positioning

While Charlie was grading the front yard he unburied a couple of items:

Charlie located the ground wire and posts.

First, our electrical ground wire and posts.

The concrete footer from the old front “porch” had been buried.

Second, the concrete footer from the old front stoop.

The concrete was cleared just so we could plant easily.

He dug up most of the footer then turned his attention to the ground wire.

I suggested he use some old hose to wrap the wire just in case someone decided to dig in the front bed. He totally disagreed with me. He wanted to cover the wire with chards of concrete block.  I thought that would be a mess.

The ground wire is wrapped in garden hose.

Charlie’s disclaimer was that he could easily cut through a garden hose with a shovel. I suggested he give it a try before he dismissed the idea out-of-hand.

Even the bend in the wire was covered.

He discovered that a garden hose is a very difficult item to cut through.  So he slit the hose lengthwise using both a utility knife and my heavy-duty scissors and then wrapped each piece of wire.

Charlie made a sketch of the position of the ground line for future reference.

Bringing wheelbarrows full of dirt from the back yard, he filled in the area and graded the entire front of the house so water would flow away from the foundation and around the house from left to right.

When we remove these shrubs from their pots they will almost disappear.

The plants were also delivered so we quickly placed them in the position of the original plan.  By the weekend I’m sure we will have moved them a dozen times to finalize their placement.

Do you seed or plant in the fall? Or wait until spring?

Resizing a Shutter

All the windows on the front and roadside facades of the house are the same size except the casement window over the kitchen sink.

The bottom window looks out from the kitchen and is smaller than the others.

I would like this window to be adorned with a shutter like the others.

We need ten pairs of 14 total.

Happily we have extra shutters from the original house that we can modify.

The shutters are painted but one pair needs to be cut down.

The question, of course, is how to best do this. I got some great information from Yvonne Pratt at Stone Gable.

The plan is:

  1. Measure the window — shutters cover the window not the window frame.

    Shutters were drawn in on the architect’s original sketch.
  2. Measure the shutters — determine how much needs to be removed.
  3. Cut shutters — carefully mark the top and bottom of the shutters and cut off an equal amount maintain the center rail.
  4. Replace the top and bottom rails — slide the rails in and secure with pocket screws.

    I’m planning to use the Kreg jig to drill the pocket screw holes that will hold the rails to the shutter stiles.
  5. Replace hinges — chisel 4 hinge mortises and attach hinges with screws.

    We have original hinges.
  6. Replace tie-back hardware — screw hardware into bottom rail.

    The tie-back hardware is clearly visible here.

Then we’ll have to figure out how to hang them.

Do you plan out your projects?

Plans for the Bed

We have a Grange sleigh bed.

Our Grange king size sleigh bed

I’ve been storing our king-sized sleigh bed frame behind a loveseat in the conservatory.

There’s the bed in the window behind the loveseat.

I have wanted to give it a finish like the one Andi used to transform this armoire.

I’m planning to cut on the white line.

I’m planning first to cut the footboard down from being a sleigh bed to just a short endboard like this one. I’m not sure the best saw to accomplish this severance — circular, jig, reciprocating.

The bed will look much better with a bedframe.

I hope this project can get finished before Christmas and while the weather is still agreeable.

Have you ever painted your bed?