Paving Paradise

Treehuggers, be forewarned: This entry will not have you pleased.

Patio_BEFORE_StepsI've not quite tumbled to the depths of my Neighbor to the West, with his Sawzall, BMW and moaning ghost of a California Pepper tree that continues to haunt me to this day. But I am definitely tipping toward hypocrisy with this week's Kill List. The short list of vegetation done-in by a thumbs-down from yours truly includes:

Patio_BEFORE_North- A huge well-established Bird of Paradise cluster
- A 10-foot high, 8-foot wide golden bamboo plant
- A wild rose-laden climbing vine
- A vibrant cluster of Weeping Bamboo
- 20+ pink lady bulbs

and, potentially, worst of all?

- my favorite dwarf minneola tree, laden with fruit and fragrant blossoms

Patio_DURING_Rebar_SouthEastI'm hoping the minneola tree makes it. We tried to move it. I am now watering it in with the fervency of an ER nurse in a code blue situation. Only in slow motion. Because it's a code green.

As the careful reader may note, I am seriously guilt-ridden about the Peterbilt_Cementbotanicide occuring here at Chez Varmint. It isn't for naught that I pay a triple digit water bill and keep our drip lines maintained.

And yet? I cannot wait to have a patio. With a fence. And real steps that aren't booby trapped with jagged bricks that resemble pungee sticks lying in wait to lobotomize my loved ones.

Long story short? We've had 4 yards of concrete hauled away and recycled. We've poured fresh stuff in our upper yard. Covered our upstairs dirt, flower beds, and Patio_DURING_Westgarden areas with a smooth clean frosting of delicious liquid rock. We now have stairs that are uniform and even. And we are already enjoying the Patio_DURING_Stepsmodern benefits of drainage.


- We will have french doors that open to this wide, clean open outside area.

Patio_DURING_NorthEast- We will have a fence and a gate at the top of said fence that - get this - stops toddlers from rolling head-first down treacherous hillsides! 

Patio_AFTER_NorthEast- Our patio area will be re-roofed with a non-fiberglass product; birds will no longer be able to collect it to build their nests; their chicks will no longer suffer itchy rashes as nasty little welcomes to the world. 

- We will be able to have barbecues! Outside! With places to sit and eat together!

- We MAY even get a jacuzzi. (But don't go counting your bubbles before they blow... DEB.)

Patio_AFTER_SouthEastSo, for all those reasons and more, we're not mourning the arboreal tragedy that happened earlier in the week. We're about to have a place to hang out that doesn't have a TV within 10 feet of it, and let's face it: If you don't have a decent outdoor hangout in San Diego, there's really something wrong with you. Patio_AFTER_Steps_EastI mean, what's the point in paying these property taxes if you're not absorbing your fair share of sunshine?

And for the record, I DID set in a vegetable garden in our lower, still delightfully dirty and plant-ridden yard this week. Partly because I love fresh zuchini, tomatoes and squash - but also to ease my guilt.

Patio_AFTER_StepsWe've vowed to keep our lower space green and overgrown with trees, plants, bodacious blossoms, ferns, succulents and, fate permitting, one slightly bewildered minneola tree. Plus? You may even be invited to a party at Chez Varmint, now that we will have a comfortable and semi-safe place to have one. So start readying your drinking arms, kids.  

There are benefits for everyone!


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >