Save The Trees!

Balancing parking with trees

Leaving a wide berth for tree roots

It stopped raining for a day! Since there weren’t other trades on site, Matt the builder, worked on preparing space for parking and material storage

The portion of my property closest to the public road is heavily wooded with tall mature evergreen trees, mostly pine. The under story consists of well-behaved native plants like Salal and Ocean Spray, not so well behaved natives like Honeysuckle, and downright aggressive invaders like blackberries. Pine trees grow in groups where the shade from their upper branches cause the lower branches to wither so that each tall tree is effectively an umbrella of greenery at the top of a long trunk. They protect each other against strong winds as long as a large enough group is left standing. Unfortunately, too many property owners ‘thin’ their trees to improve their view or under a misguided idea they’re helping the remaining tree get more sun. This little island is plagued by downed trees each big wind storm.

For this reason I put green tape around the trunk of each tree I wanted to keep (there were few trees without a green ribbon). The plan was to clear only the under growth and skim off the weeds and topsoil between clumps of trees, being careful to not damage the tree roots. Going back from the driveway about 20′ made a sizable area between the trees for parking and material storage. This left another 30 to 40 feet of undisturbed forest between the new parking area and the property line.

The parking areas was covered with gravel that arrived on the O-early-30 ferry (i.e. any ferry that runs before daylight). This area will remain after the construction for guest parking and turnaround when backing out of the garage which will be erected in the middle of the driveway after the greenhouse/house is done.

Preparing for inspection

The smallest dirt mountain

We thought the foundation guys would be back on Friday but they’re doing a pour on another job so they will be back on Monday and inspection is called for on Tuesday. Covering the huge piles of dirt is not only a good idea to prevent erosion, it is required as a condition of the building permit. My yard is now dotted with black and white mountains for the next month or so.

Siting the rainwater tanks

New water tank location

Building space is at a premium due to all the pre-existing structures on my property. My site plan was drawn based on the information we had at the time, knowing that changes would be made as we got into the actual construction. Today was one of those changes that is actually for the better – changing the location of the rainwater storage tanks.

The plan includes approximately 5,000 gallons of rainwater storage in tanks that fill from gutters on the greenhouse for use as irrigation inside the greenhouse. Given the height difference between the greenhouse gutters, the garage-level to the east, and the greenhouse garden level, the expectation was this could be gravity fed both directions – from the gutters to the tanks and from the tanks to the greenhouse. Once we actually sited the greenhouse on the land, the retaining wall between the garage and greenhouse levels, and the garage, it didn’t leave room for the tanks in the location we’d planned.

On the other hand, the greenhouse fit in the space on this version of the plan so it did not encroach onto the ‘tool shed’ and we don’t need to move that building. That leaves the perfect location for the tanks – they’re still close to the greenhouse downspouts, they’re hidden from 2 directions by the cabins, and they’re hidden from the neighbor’s view by tall and thick brush.

The only downside to the new location is we won’t be able to use gravity feed back from the tanks to the greenhouse. However, we’ll be able to install pumps at, and get power from, the cabin for less money than it was going to cost to move that building. Ultimately that’s a win in my book.

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