Completing vision took years of labor, countless dollars

James Spoerl took a look at the scruffy, barren hillside in his yard and a vision pertained to him - balconies rising the slope, rounded stairs meandering up, a gazebo set down at the top.

Making that vision a truth took him and his partner, Donna, 10 years. It required 4,469 landscaping blocks, 1,211 bags of concrete and 39 stairs. It took a great deal of sweat, lots of idea and more than a pinch of perseverance.

" I'm not going to quit in the middle of anything ... however it was a long period of time," states James, who began the task in 1995. "It was 10 years of tough labor. I felt like an Egyptian haulin' those blocks."

Those hours of carrying 80-pound blocks up the hill to construct maintaining walls and jackhammering through sandstone finally paid off.

Instead of a barren hillside, they have a backyard sanctuary. 9 terraced levels rise up the hill with garden beds that hold their raspberry spot, rows of petunias, lilies, irises, roses, peonies, a cornucopia of veggies and herbs, and a water fountain.

The walls and actions are softened by curves, and the walkways are separated by halfmoons of sprouting plants.

" All we do now is sit here and enjoy our garden grow," James says.

In the morning they get breakfast and stroll up the 39 steps they made of put concrete, to wind up at the gazebo they made of wood and con- crete pillars.

" This is the top of our world," James says as he beings in the gazebo. "This is where we live when we're off work."

There's no view from their back patio area, but from the gazebo, they see over the tops of their next-door neighbors' homes, past their northeastern Colorado Springs advancement, to a huge, undisturbed view of the mountains that stretches from Cheyenne Mountain to the Air Force Academy.

As if breakfast with the mountains weren't payoff enough, the Spoerls' lawn has actually likewise won a reward from Backyard Living magazine. For handling the hill and winning, they captured the "Extreme Gardening" classification in the publication's Landscape Challenge Contest.

The Spoerls' backyard will be included in the September/October concern of Backyard Living, which hits newsstands Aug. 29.

" We're happy of (our garden), however for somebody else to say This is gorgeous' felt really nice," Donna says.

" What really caught our attention about the Spoerls' backyard change was its sheer size," says Backyard Living Managing Editor Rachael Liska. "It only takes one planning to understand this isn't your average balcony garden. It genuinely embodies the creative, can-do spirit of our readers."

this page The Spoerls are not contractors and have never ever tried a task like this prior to. With a little assistance from buddies, they did all the work themselves, however the blocks alone cost countless dollars. Now that it's done, they state it was certainly worth the time and the cash.

" There were no strategies, whatsoever, other than exactly what's in my mind," James states. "It was a vision from God."


Tips from James and Donna Spoerl

1. Do it right the very first time. When you construct keeping walls, make the bottom row perfectly level, put plastic behind the blocks to hold the dirt, and position a pipeline behind the plastic to carry away excess water. You don't wish to begin over in a few years.

It's crucial to break up the hardscape, or else those walls and stairs will resemble a fortress rather of a garden. James' only remorse is making the most affordable level of steps square. These actions soften the garden and make it more inviting.

3. Hide pipes and sprinkler heads. Spoerl installed wooden posts - drilled through the center to enable the water hoses - with sprinkler heads atop the posts. Not just does this hide the pipes, the sprinklers attain much better coverage since they're higher.

4. Develop nooks and crannies. Aim to make your yard landscaping develop separate areas, allowing you various views and various moods. The Spoerls have the back patio area at ground level, a bench about halfway up, small hideouts on various levels and the gazebo at the top.

5. Amend the soil before you plant. Colorado soil will not produce much without aid from loams and fertilizers, so remember this step or your garden will be doomed.

6. Accept the hill. A hill is not a handicap but a chance for a terrific garden with a view.

The Spoerls' backyard has 9 terraced levels filled with raspberries, petunias, lilies, irises, roses, peonies, veggies, herbs and a fountain.

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