Last summer was our first as owners of a real live house. So in addition to the many maintenance chores there were a few projects we were interested in doing. They were not big jobs, but it became fairly difficult to fit them in between unpacking, regular maintenance, and tending to a toddler and pregnant wife.
The first project was one that I really wanted to complete. I built a compost bin behind the tool shed as seen here. Nothing fancy with some 2x2's and wire mesh thrown together one afternoon. The labor intensive part was turning it over as often as possible and keeping it moist. There are ways of keeping up a compost heap that require less work, but I tend to like doing manual labor on the weekends. What you see is all the leaves from last winter. I turned it over earlier this spring and it was teaming with nightcrawlers and giving off a fair amount of steam. Hopefully this "batch" will be ready by mid-summer.
This last project took the most time. At some point, our carport was split in two by a fence. Although this means that only the front of the car remains covered (which it really doesn't need to), the other half is now a nice partially covered outdoor space. The problem was that the fence was solid planking on both sides with no gate. They had an opening where they installed a shower curtain. The fence was also six feet tall. That's good if you like privacy, but we prefered that it was more open with a view to the street when standing up.
So I removed all the planks, cut them to about four and a half feet tall, and reinstalled them in a staggered configuration. By staggering them, I had extra boards that I used to cover the new gate. As for the section above the planks, we had planned to install a store-bought criss-cross lattice. Unfortunately the quality of the ones in the store was pretty poor. So we bought individual slats of wood and assembled it by hand. One weekend, I was only able to half finish it with all the horizontals and some of the verticals. We liked it so much, we decided to keep the design. For the latch, I wanted to something really special. Something that functions well and is easy to use with winter gloves. So I assembled this contraption. It works well, but how it works is not always evident to the first time user.
As for this summer, our plans are not too big. Well, at least they may be bigger in scope, but much less in complexity. We are going to extend a deck and add a guardrail that is missing. There is also an area with stepping stones and deteriorating concrete between them. We intend to remove the concrete and replace it with soil and something that grows. We're not sure what yet. All this while juggling the maintenance and two kids.