Surrounded by Piles

I’m used to being surrounded by piles. As an author and librarian, I’ve always got a stack of something somewhere that needs to be gone through and sorted, or is waiting to be consulted later on. Sure, sometimes the piles are virtual (unread emails or tabs in my browser), but they’re no less real.

Lately, however, I’ve been surrounded by quite a few different types of piles. We’re tackling new territory in home renovation: landscaping. I’ve discovered that this is pretty much a never ending process of getting new piles of stuff dumped in your yard, and then trying to find places to put it all.

Technically, the piles started with the wood pile. We had a big silver maple cut down in our backyard last year, and it was cut and split into a huge wood pile that needed to be stacked. We had to wait for the wood shed to be renovated before we could begin stacking it. In the meantime, Denisa has had plans for a flower bed in front of the house, where our wood porch used to be. It seems like such a straightforward project.

It lies.

First, you need to have a place to plant the flowers. That means dirt. I thought we had dirt there, but apparently it was the Wrong Kind of Dirt, so we needed to have someone come and dig out the bad dirt to leave a spot for the Right Kind of Dirt to go. And what a mound of dirt it was. Put some snow on that thing and you could sled down it. And it had to be moved around to the places where the bad dirt used to be.

Except there wasn’t really a spot for that yet, because what good is a bed without a wall for it to nestle in? Denisa wanted a fieldstone wall, which meant we needed to get some fieldstone, which meant another pile appeared in my yard, this one a big jumble of rocks. All those rocks had to be moved and organized and stacked into a neat wall.

But wait. There’s more. Because I guess you can’t just put dirt down underneath where the rain runoff will be coming from the roof. Never mind the fact that we’d had dirt there before. That was Bad Dirt. Good Dirt needs special attention. It runs away when runoff comes. So we needed to put pea gravel right next to the house to deal with that problem. I thought I could just get some bags of it, but it turns out landscaping is always cheaper by the pile.

So now we had a big pile of pea gravel dumped in our front yard today.

Denisa’s working on the stone wall. The wood is close to being finished. We have to put the pea gravel next to the house, and then we can put the rest of the dirt down. With the leftover dirt and fieldstone, we’re looking to build another bed around the screen house.

I’m about piled out, to be honest. Hopefully today was the last pile to arrive. I dream of a day when all the piles are gone and we just have a normal front yard again. Is that too much to ask?


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