Sunday, March 20, 2011

taking the final city hurdle

On Friday we finally passed our last inspection and today, we obtained clearance to get a gas connection. The gas company won't be able to come out until the end of next week, though. And we expect the touch up work to take another 4-6 weeks anyway.
This concludes the construction updates that have been a bit splotchy in the past months. Too many things have been happening at the same time and it was not easy to stay on top of everything. I will make the next post once we move in and will give then irregular updates about the performance of the house and - of course- how it feels to live in it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Once the irrigation pipes were in the ground, we started with the installation of low shrubs and ground cover plants. With saving water in mind, we selected a variety of native and adapted drought tolerant plants -and checked them against the California invasive plants council ( to make sure we don't get anything we would regret later on. The photo shows the ground covers around the Dypsis Decaryi- We used the red paddle plants Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora with lavender and native Pentestemon. In the back you can see blue Agave Americana creating a dramatic contrast to the neighbor's greenery.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Drip by Drip

With completion only a few short weeks away, we’ve now started to install the drip irrigation which will be used in areas where plants don’t have access to the graywater pipes- We are using a mix of desert plants and drought tolerant Mediterranean species to reduce the water demand by landscaping. However, since the graywater pipes are only on the downhill side of the house (and we have landscaping on all 4 sides) we need to provide for additional irrigation. We decided to go with a low flow drip system- Home Depot has a good variety, but one should read about the subject before starting to install. First of all, drip irrigation works at a lower water pressure, so a pressure reducer needs to be put in place. Secondly, a filter needs to be installed as well to avoid the small emitters from getting clogged (emitters are rated in gallons per hour, rather than gallons per minute, as common for regular sprinklers). Care should be taken in laying out the risers (the visible portion of the pipes to which the drip lines will hook up. You have to make sure that you can reach all the plants that will go in after and also avoid having the unsightly black drip pipes in clear sight.
We expect to get our plants this coming weekend and -weather permitting- hope to put the first ones in the ground as well.