This past week we hit a major milestone in the front yard. The sidewalk was poured, we back-filled a ton of dirt in the parking strip and we planted our new Paperbark Maples. Last Tuesday we came to the realization that at the rate we were going it would be a month until we got the sidewalk in if we indeed tried to do it ourselves.

Plus, we don’t know how to pour concrete, much less pour it according to city codes, so we’d have to rely on outside help anyway. Weighing the options, we decided to call T & T Concrete to get a quote. T & T did our retaining wall a year or so ago. We definitely recommend them (971-235-6371). Ala, the owner, came by last Thursday morning, said “Ok, I can start today.” I said, “Ok.”

We came home from work and the forms were built.

We came home Friday night and the sidewalk was done.

Now, that’s fast and reliable. It says that on their trucks, fast and reliable.

Saturday morning was all about cleaning out the excess concrete from the dirt and prepping the parking strip for our trees.

As you would expect, there are many online resources regarding the best ways to plant trees. We liked this step-by-step tutorial, and this video:

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Sunday was all about planting the trees. Ooooh look, here’s one now.

Trees are deceptively heavy. Once we figured out where we wanted them, we dug the holes and cut away the containers. You don’t have to cut away the containers, but it sure makes it easy to slide the trees into place.

Oh boy, look at those circling roots. It happens to trees grown in containers.

I took a hand rake and vigorously loosened the dirt and roots and spread them out so they don’t end up girdling the tree. That’s the official term, girdling. It’s a funny word. Next I gently scraped away the soil around the base of the trunk until it started to flare out towards the roots and trimmed any secondary roots that were growing wonky, crossing over the root flare etc. There was a whole segment on This Old House about how important it was to do that.

If you are planning on planting a tree in your life, watch this video.

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Mulch Volcanoes are bad, mmmmkay. To make sure I plant at the right level, not too deep, I laid a piece of wood across the parking strip to make sure the root flare occurred right at the dirt level.

We read many planting guides and some say to stake and tie up the tree to stabilize it and others say don’t do it. We decided to stake it, at least until the late Fall. Better to be safe than sorry.

And there you have it. This is a huge deal for us. It marks the end of an almost 6 month process. We asked our next-door neighbor’s super cute little girl to name the trees and she came up with great ones. The tree on the left, closest to the camera is Alexander and the trere of the right, farthest from the camera, is Flora.

Celebrate good times, c’mon.

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