Fresh off my stunning failure as a Halloween costume maker, I decided to return to the world of home improvement where I am more comfortable if not more skilled.
We have one small corner of our yard that was poorly positioned to receive sun and where overhanging eucalyptus trees created a dank environment not conducive to growing grass.
Unfortunately, this blighted little piece of the great outdoors was Max’s favorite spot to relieve himself. For most of the year this meant that the Bark Beast would go put, do his business, back-kick mightily to assert urinary dominance and return proudly but with absolutely filthy paws.
The Alpha Japanese Female had been on my derrière for some time to rectify this problem. I was starting to feel like Forrest Gump from her recurrent chewing on my buttocks.
I toyed with the notion of installing
fake grass artificial turf but realized that there are only two possible strategies with a faux lawn: pay a fortune for a beautiful, professional job or “do-it-yourself” and metamorphose that dreadful piece of backyard into the local laughingstock of landscaping.
thrifty frugal economical provident cheap I would typically opt for the second choice but I received withering glares and mumbled maledictions each time I suggested that approach to the AJF. An alternative was needed so I decided to simply hardscape the space.
Pro tip: concrete is always your amigo when looking for a cheap cost effective, permanent solution.
It was a fun little project. First was grubbing the existing grass, then extracting and capping the sprinkler lines and plumbing new drip irrigation lines. Then came installing an underground drain (“dog pee outfall” in technical terms) forming my design, putting in the substrate and compacting that material and then finally pouring concrete and finishing.
In a couple of days the “patio extension” as we now call it, was done and dry and the pebbles were added as a semi-permeable surface for Max’s liquid contributions to the ecology which exit the property via the aforementioned drain.
I had the help of a couple of young Tongan guys who had done some work for me a while back. Here’s a hint if you ever need concrete work done: hire a Tongan or a Samoan guy. I don’t know exactly why but these Pacific Island folks are quite skilled in this type of construction. In Hawaii it is a well known fact that Tongans are the absolute masters of rock wall building.
My helpers were men of great intentions and strength but there was one small problem: they really liked their weed. Yep. Satan’s lettuce. Pakalolo. Devil’s asparagus. Ganja. Doña Juanita. Mind you, recreational herb is legal in California and I’m not judgey.
Naturally, there was no indulging permitted at Chez Maxwell but each time I rode in their truck to pick up materials from El Big Box I remembered the term “contact high”
we some people talked about in college. Empty Doritos bags all over the floorboards and I don’t think we got above 30 miles per hour for the whole trip to Home Depot. Pink Floyd on the radio. You get the point.
Their recreational habit tended to make their work schedules both malleable and unpredictable. We needed to compact the concrete underlayment with a heavy and thunderous compactor machine. We scheduled this very noisy task for late morning me but the Tonga Toker Twins were johnny-at-the-rat-hole early arriving at 5:30 am and essentially waking the entire neighborhood before 6:00. Even now neighbors spit on the ground and present forked fingers when they spot me.
Obviously we still need to decorate, add planters and other frou-frou stuff as directed by the AJF. In the center hole we intend to plant a Japanese maple tree of the type whose leaves turn brilliant red and gold in the Fall. We’ll do that during the colder part of the year.
The big question was whether the Malt would accept a hardscape for his constitutionals. The answer was positive and fast coming and I planted a flag at the site of his inaugural micturation.
Then I went online to Amazon and ordered a small rectangle of
fake grass artificial turf to place on the pebbles. For old times’ sake.
Categories: The Dog From Rancho Cucaracha