Before & After
As much time as we spend in our urban-sized condos in Minneapolis with barely enough space to crank out a yoga routine, Buzzy & I love coming to our cute little Reno house and every time we stay, we choose a project to tackle. This trip, we started by painting the exterior of the house, quickly realizing that by making the house look nicer, our yard looked ten times worse! We wanted to stick with the natural-scape we inherited, staying true to the dry, rocky landscape of the area and also to remain eco-friendly. The west coast is on track for having the worst drought in 500 years, according to a recent Berkeley study, and as scary as that is, the dimishing bee and butterfly population is even scarier, so after seemingly endless research on native plants, I met with Ed at The Garden Shop. We decided to do some butterfly bush along the fence and caryopteris under the bay window, that Ed promised will be covered with bees for up to three months while it blooms. It'll also grow to an almost hedge-like size!
With Buzzy's lower back going out right as we started the plan, I swallowed hard and
accepted the fate that I was on my own. Daunting task, but the hardest part is
getting started. And there's always craigslist when you're in a pinch for help, right?
CB2 having a sale on planters helped me get motivated and soon the plan fell
into place. I learned all I needed to know about irrigation systems, dug the trench
and set the line & spaghetti adapters myself. The rocky landscape here is extremely
stubborn, but somehow I got everything in the ground, saving us $750 in labor.
We went with a basic black fence, which is a temporary fix until we can afford
something really cool. We relocated one side of our handicapped accessible railing,
painted both black to match the fence, then connected them to be one long railing.
The other side being left open creates a sleek, long step from the garage
side. I can't wait to install solar lights running along the length. For now,
spending around $300 vs. the $1870 bid we received for the fence will have to do.
All we have left is to install a matching gate and charcoal-colored soffits. It's difficult
to see from the photos, but charcoal is our accent color.
Bad back, huh? I think he's faking....
Speaking of solar....
Three years ago when we bought the house, I requested a bid to convert to solar after realizing how much sun Reno gets. (300 days/year!) We were not in a position to spend $22,936 on a solar conversion when we didn't even have a couch yet, so we put a pin in it. Through our bike connections, we met Shawn O'Meara of SunWorks. He cut the other guy's bid in half and in addition, right now you can receive a 30% federal tax credit towards a new roof when you convert to solar. With the recent change in Congress, no one knows how long the credit will last and we've been patching our roof twice/year since we bought the house, so the timing is almost too good to be true! I'm beyond excited; Reno is the perfect place for solar. The beauty of the technology is that energy companies are in a sense used as the battery, since you sell what you don't use, which alleviates the need for storage. I feel guilty enough having a big, naughty battery in my Prius..
Some weather came in today from the mountains, but the persistent sun peeks
through every chance it gets. Two more days in Reno, then we head back to
Minneapolis. It'll be so fun to reconnect with friends & family! I'm also excited
to drive up to the cute little reno house next time and appreciate this huge
accomplishment all over again..............
P.S. Thanks to Alex for letting us name our adorable orange bulldog
after "Bob", one of the happiest bundles of joy I've ever met. Much like