Landscape Diary

Just two days after getting our plants in, a major windstorm decided to show itself. The plants weathered the storm without problem. The waterfall didn’t fare so well. Unfortunately, the shredded bark mulch that we liked so much because it wasn’t “barky” is fairly lightweight and the wind simply blew it everywhere – into the lawn, into the waterfall, everywhere but the flowerbeds. In addition, the electrician came over yesterday to fix the outside electrical outlet. To test the outlet he plugged in the waterfall which made the situation even worse and turned the collecting pond into a mulchy, sludgy, mess.


Note the mulch blown out of the flowerbeds near where Caroline is standing

I would have liked to get the waterfall cleaned out before our sushi party yesterday but didn’t have enough time so our guests got to look at the mulch-filled water. We designated today as waterfall cleaning day but the question was – how to clean out the waterfall? I first thought of blowing the mulch out but realized that it would just spread it around and not really get it out of the cracks and crevices. Then I thought – why not suck it out with a vacuum? A quick trip to Home Depot to purchase a powerful shop vac (who doesn’t need a wet/dry shop vac around?) and I started vacuuming away.


The shop vac worked out better than I could have hoped. It was so powerful that it could suck up the stones out of the streambed. Even though it worked well, it still took the better part of the afternoon to clean the stream. The biggest pain was moving all the rocks so I could vacuum underneath them and then having to rebuild the stream afterwards. After a while I got tired and decided to take a break by planting the Rocky Mountain Maple bush/tree we had bought but failed to plant last week. The other hard part was restoring the stream bed to its original shape once I was done vacuuming. While restoring the stream bed I took the time to put in a big flat stone cap on the top of the waterfall. Let us know if you like it better than the previous open-pond look on top.


In the end we had a fairly clean waterfall and I left it powered through a timer so it comes on in the morning and off at night. Unfortunately, later in the afternoon the wind picked up again and I could already see mulch being blown into the stream. Obviously the combination of lightweight mulch and waterfall was a mistake. The question is which of the two was the mistake? For now I’m going with the mulch being a mistake (it’s also blown into the lawn as well as the stream) but if you asked Nancy she would probably say the waterfall was the mistake.


  1. Oh no, how disappointing and a huge pain to clean out. On the bright side, you did get a cool new shop vac. I’m adding a shop vac to my birthday wish list.

  2. I missed this post earlier this week. I think this waterfall/stream is going to be fodder for some pretty funny (laughing at you not with you…wait that wasn’t right) stories. Poor Nancy.

  3. Confession: Sometimes I back-date posts because I was too tired to post on the day of but I still want it to look like we are posting every day (or nearly every day).

    Do you use an RSS reader to check for updates? If so, does it pick up the new posts even if they are backdated?

  4. I just check your site whenever I’m wasting time on the internet. So…once a day? Every other day?

    Yeah, I’m a stalker.

    I would love to use an RSS reader to check for updates, but I don’t even know what that means. How would i set that up?

  5. This is hilarious! I’m glad you can be chagrined with good humor and I’ll bet you are glad to get your money’s worth out of that power sucking-mulch vacuum. Like I told Kelly, everybody has the home decorating/landscaping mistakes in their portfolio. Even with your mistakes, you guys are way ahead of the general public when it comes to landscaping. I would have never, ever thought about the wind blowing the mulch into the beautiful fountain.

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