So after much leveling finally got to start shoveling stone. This is how it looks after an hour of work this morning. It needs a lot of cleaning up, but it’s definitely starting to resemble something and looking sharp.

On a sad note while hammering in edging this weekend my trusty rubber mallet splintered in two. It was both a gardening and cooking tool as I had used it to flatten many a chicken breast and pork chop. It will be missed. 

We went out to Julie’s parent’s land in Evant this weekend. We managed to secure some free river rock, that just requires us to load it into a trailer, and then our neighbor is driving it over to our house. That loading is quite a lot of work, though. We’re probably a little over halfway through and that first picture is how much we’ve done. A lot more work than we were expecting. But Julie and the girls helped.

While in Evant we picked up a bunch of yucca and cactus. Not much variety out there. Obviously grazing has left pretty much only stuff that cows and deer don’t eat. But we brought some back to pot and get ready for the front yard.

This week I’m focusing on leveling the path. I’m work mornings and nights. This project was bigger than I expected. Gotta rent a sod cutter and buy some decomposed granite for this weekend. 

So in the spirit of doing landscaping projects, I noticed yesterday that there was a massive dead branch in one tree in the backyard. Last night we had a rainstorm and that tree basically appears to have exploded. It fell apart. So we spent today scrambling to find someone to cut it down. And worrying about the cost. And I moved almost a ton of pavers today. At the end I was cleaning up. We had one extra paver and it completely fell apart while I was attempting to lift it. Lovely cut and bruise on my middle finger. Fun day. But we got a bunch of grass out. We got all the pavers moved. We got some free river rock lined up. Tomorrow I have to level the pavers and move out some more grass.

Spent the morning pulling back out the existing brick border and concrete pavers. I think those pavers were cast in place. They’re super heavy and weighted oddly. The second picture is my boneyard after putting everything back there. The majority of the pavers and yellow bricks on the left came out of the front yard this morning.
This afternoon we’re going to try to get the landscape fabric and new pavers down and start pulling out grass. 

One of the big issues I had with this conversion is that there are very few examples of entire front yard conversions. Most xeric designs involve turf with bordering xeric flowerbeds. Very few are a large standard suburban lot with no grass. And most of those are in Arizona and look a bit spare. So this plan is very much an experiment.

At this point we are still very open to conversion ideas. Feel free to attach any photos or ideas you find inspiring in the comments.