Before (taken last year or the year before):
No, wait. We need the proper perspective. Here's the before-before. The Beforer:
This was taken in August of 2006, the day we took possession. There was grass growing in the eavestroughs ("gutters" to you non-Canadians). That's a dying rose bush beside the front stoop. The driveway dominated the front yard and there was absolutely no landscaping to speak of. Just a whole lotta grass to mow. Particularly ugly grass (not a lover of lawn, over here).
So, we chopped up the existing front stoop for temporary re-use, replaced the roof, painted the whole kit and kaboodle, started landscaping, ripped up the interior (notice I didn't say "redid the interior" - that project is still pending...ugh), replaced the front door, ripped off the side addition (not visible from this angle), etc.
Here was our status, a few weeks ago - before we started this project:
During, Part II:
During, Part III:
And the Grand Finale:
Yes, it does seem that the bottom step has settled a bit in the intervening weeks and is listing off to the left, but at this point, I really don't care. I'm so exhausted and sore that I can barely type. Do you have any idea how much dirt is in those boxes? Even with the rocks and old chunks of sod we piled in the bottoms, they probably represent 20 wheel-barrow-fulls of dirt. And guess what? Our topsoil here is not very well-suited for this type of planter, so we were advised by an experienced local gardener to use different types of compost instead.
You know what that means? We had to sift it all. In a home-made wooden frame with metal mesh on the bottom, like a giant colander. All 20 wheel-barrow loads. Two shovel-fulls at a time. All told, it took somewhere in the neighbourhood of 14 man-hours to do, over two weekends. My hands and back are killing me.
So, if anyone tells me that they don't like my planters, I will throttle them. Just not right now. I'll wait until I regain sensation in my fingers, first.