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FC: 1571 skyline drive | "courtyard in the making"

1: PROVING THE MYTH WRONG.... I was told by a Master Gardener that a house below street level could never have curb appeal. Four years later she told me I had verified and demonstrated that the myth is incorrect.........so the transformation begins .For almost 2 years I collected native rocks from various places. I kept an orange cone in the back of my truck so when I would see rocks on the side of the road.... I would display the orange cone .....it made me look legal .... I even had a good friend of mine scavenging rocks for me . When I found huge rocks, I would borrow another friends truck and trailer to haul them home. During the time of collecting rocks , I was also buying plants for the raised beds. My yard looked like I had a small nursery with plants still in the pots .When I started to draw and design the landscape, I kept in mind the historical neighborhood that I live in. I made sure that it looked like it had always been there. I am trusting that you enjoy the Collage of pictures that document the transformation of 1571 Skyline Drive "courtyard in the making" . The neighbors have given the house a nickname "The Skyline Drive Estate" . | Keith

2: The courtyard was started in 2009 I thought it was the ugliest house I had ever seen. However, I could see the possibilities of the property. A "diamond in the rough" | Before! 2009 | First winter here ! 2008

3: Before I started the courtyard, I had started to remodel the inside of the house. As you can see, the courtyard is in the back ground

4: During the phase of the courtyard being built, I removed the front off of the house. It totally changed the appearance. The roof line was raised about 7 feet and added an additional 2400 sq ft onto the house. The house also has a full walk out basement. "Weekend Warrior" | 2 | 4

6: What a mess ....the Japanese Maple will be moved 2 more times before it gets to its final home.......

7: At this point, hoping the best is yet to come !!!!!!

9: Composite decking for the starting of the front porch . The vision of the property is still alive ...........no one else can see it but me !

10: Mushrooms growing on a log | Installing under ground drain lines for all the gutters

11: and the rains came !!!

12: the | the | The rock wall and steps begin !!! | I think it was 105 degrees in the shade that summer !

13: It took a few hundred bags of concrete to put in a footing to support the rock retaining wall ... all mixed by hand ....with help of course! | plenty of hydration

14: "A little reminder of the before"

15: After the stone wall was completed.. ....I built forms and poured the concrete top caps. The radius forms were the most challenging.

17: The starting of laying the antique brick courtyard....."which consist of around 3 thousand bricks"....I installed two French drains below the brick to keep surface water from puddling. The base under the brick consist of two inches of a packing stone...."I rented a packer to get it level "....Then i put down a layer of landscaping material to discourage any grass or weeds from growing up through the cracks. The next layer is two inches of sand ......packed .....then a lot of patience and good knee pads.......I chose to lay the brick in a herring bone pattern with no grout joints. After all the bricks were laid.....I again packed them down. I then swept dry cement mixed with sand into the small cracks .......only moss can grow there

18: Laying the antique brick courtyard

20: After all the antique bricks were laid ..... I forgot to mention .....the bricks are from an old building in Fordyce Arkansas . They came from the Municipal Water Building that was built in the early 1900's,..... it was time to start the landscaping and add the sprinkler systems....

21: Being from Tennessee, I have to grow the state flower of Tennessee the Iris

22: My original sketches for the face lift of the house.... | Keith

23: Keith | Keith

24: Framing the front porch and building the concrete caps for the porch columns...

27: Tongue and groove walnut ceiling with Marine varnish

28: I had a sawmill custom make 6 inch wide V groove tongue and groove walnut for the porch ceiling ............love the richness of the color of the walnut after four coats of marine varnish was applied .The varnish is used on boats The columns were built from cypress that i had salvaged from the side of the house ......re-use

29: I hired a contractor to frame the 2400 sq feet addition onto the house. I wanted to do all of the cosmetics myself. I knew that the final look that I wanted to achieve was to resemble a cottage with stone and shake shingles on the walls.I think I nailed it...........

30: Addition in work

31: Starting to lay the stone and shake shingles being applied

33: Moldings around the windows and front doors, are made of concrete....forms were built. As a release agent to get the concrete out of the forms, I used cooking lard. The lard gave the concrete a weathered limestone appearance.

34: Concrete...a poor man's limestone

36: More progress


38: Landscaping going in !!!!!

42: Carlos the tortoise has been here for five years. Can you see him? He has a mate that I named Carla. I see them briefly ever year. They stay hid most of the time. I Even have them on video.

44: Buckeye Bush blooming

49: Hen and chicks | An old log picked up on the side of the road and used as a planter


59: Shades of green | Sprinklers working good

67: Curb appeal

79: Driftwood picked up at the lake

88: Just after sun rise

90: Where Heaven touched earth

92: December 26th 2012

93: Drying Hydrangea blooms for a co-workers Christmas tree

94: I wanted to re-purpose one of my Elephant Ear leaves for a project...."Like i needed another project". ...Really?...I wanted to attempt to make a sink for one of the new bathrooms down stairs.............The Leaf on the right would become my sacrificial leaf...however,.."it was at the end of the growing season".

95: I started out with wet sand and made a mold for my sink. I put a drain through the leaf..... I figured if this didn't work .....I would have a bird bath with a drain....

96: concrete was poured over the leaf and i added fiberglass strips to reinforce the concrete

97: Leaf sink will be installed on a slab of granite with a bamboo style faucet

98: My Bamboo forest

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  • By: james r.
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  • Courtyard in the making
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  • Published: over 5 years ago