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A Little Houdini Action

July 8, 2010

Chris and I found a new, creative way to use these in our house.

Oh…did I say “in” the house?  I meant “for” the house.  And just when you thought that we were tree-hugging, nutty enough to hang something like this above the fire place.

(Photo credit to

Anyway, we are seriously some mad magicians around this place.  Instead of making a GAH-orgeous wreath like this to hang in our humble abode, we performed same Harry Houdini action and turned those cans into this:

(image credit:

That is absolutely correct. Thanks to that amazing CRV (California Return Value–for those of you non-Californians), if you save your Diet Coke cans for at least six months, and drink about a 24 pack a week, you too could earn the cold hard cash that will allow you to do amazing projects on your house. Hah!

So what did we do with it?  I’m so glad you asked!

Look at this disaster of a front yard.  H.O.L.Y. COW.  Seriously.  Yikes.  We are THOSE neighbors.  Of course, we never thought we would be, but trust me when I tell you that this front yard actually looks better than it did when we moved in.  I know.  But still.

How does it get to this point?  One word.  Sprinklers.  Well, really two words. NO sprinklers!  We have this master plan where we are going to build a short retaining wall right at the sidewalk, and then another one at the back of that dirt pile.  Then, dun, dun, dun…reality set in.  That’s expensive–and we have an HOA.  After a brief (literally 5 minute discussion) with my neighbor about the HOA approval, the neighbor signature approval process, the city project approval plan, and everything else, I was convinced that this was SOOOOOOO not happening.  At least not while my other half is still working long days and going to school too.  This is also because my mad skills are more related to doing what he tells me with the tools as opposed to actually installing a sprinkling system myself.

My other skill is problem solving, which I proceeded to do. I was convinced that we could run a hose along the side of the yard (hidden by the concrete wall and fence on the left hand side there) and attach it to a soaker hose in the front flower bed, which we would bury under mulch.  Remember those bricks that used to line the front flagstone patio?  Since we had saved them, I thought what the heck?  Why not use them to frame this new flower bed I was envisioning?

And of course, being supportive and brilliant, my husband saw the wisdom in my brilliant idea. 🙂  And so, we set to work without further ado.  (Well, minus the 1 hour trip that was bagging the cans and getting our money to spend on the project!).

So, first we had to dig out the soil to frame in the flower bed.  Not too hard, but that pick axe that my mother-in-law had promised would come in handy sure as heck did.

Next, we needed to break up the soil so that we could mix in some rich soil.

Then, after we mixed in some fresh dirt, it was time to get a-planting!  You’ll notice the plants are sparsely planted.  As brilliant as my husband thought the idea was, he also said, “if we can keep these alive, maybe we’ll get more.”  ‘Nuff said.  He has a valid point, given our history with keeping plants alive.

After we planted the plants, we laid out the soaker hose, with the soaker hose lying above the plants so that the water would drain down (as opposed to running the hose “underneath” the plants on the hill).

Then, we realized that the hose might move a bit once there was water running through it.  Crumb…what to do, what to do?  We were pretty proud with the eventual solution, which looked something like this:

We then placed them over the soaker hose with each end going deep into the dirt so that the hose couldn’t budge.  If you look closely, you can see the wires holding the hose in place.

And then, it was time for mulch, a sign (thanks to Chris’ sister!), and a completed look!  And while eventually we would like to pull out those green plants that seem to be taking up so much room, that’s another day, another dollar!  We are so pleased with the difference that it has made.  We’ve actually had THREE neighbors stop by to tell us how great it looks. What do you think?  Are we just like Houdini?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    July 9, 2010 4:39 am

    One word – AWESOME!

    No, really, I can’t believe the difference that made -it looks beautiful. Way to use problem solving skills, creativity, and that all importrant team work!

    • July 9, 2010 7:18 am

      Thanks, Momma! We really are so excited about it–and I’ve been doing a good job remembering to water it!

  2. Barb Pond permalink
    July 9, 2010 8:18 am

    Wow—the front looks like it was professionally done—way to go you two:) Isn’t it fun being home owners–well, most of the time unless pipes break etc. Can’t wait to visit and see all those plants in bloom—great job!

  3. July 9, 2010 1:00 pm

    Very pretty! It’s amazing what a little creativity and hard work will do. My kids are reaping the benefits of our recycling program here. It’s their job to collect and separate our bottles and cans. When they do the work they get to keep the money.

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