THESE DAYS, I’M FACED WITH CHOICES I couldn’t have predicted a few months back, when I lived in a brownstone in Brooklyn.
They’re fun choices, not matters of life and death. Still, they are perplexing. For example:
- Fencing: how high? I’d like it six feet high across the front of the property, for a feeling of seclusion, but East Hampton says no more than 4 feet, and I dare not break the rules – they’re pretty fascist around here when it comes to fencing. It will be cedar, to match the house. But what kind of design – plain or cute?
Above: The McKinley from Wayside Fence: Rather whimsical, with those little cut-outs, but they’re not really going to be seen (they’ll be hidden behind my ‘mixed hedgerow,’ which is in the pre-pre-planning stages), so do I want to bother with that little detail?
- What kind of gate across the driveway-to-come? Big enough to drive through, or merely to walk through? When it comes to deer fencing on the other three sides of the lot, I *am* planning to break the rules. Nothing short of 8′ will keep those big bucks out. But that’s wire and in the woods, less likely to attract official attention (I hope no Town people read my blog). I’ve had two fencing guys here — both scoffed at the idea of applying for permits of any kind — and one estimate so far for the deer portion: $4,200 for 470 linear feet. Is that good or bad? To be determined.
- Driveway: how big? What shape? I’m now thinking ‘parking court’ rather than driveway. I don’t absolutely need to drive up to the front door, so why not keep the car(s) tucked out of sight on the other side of my planned gate? I looked up standard driveway measurements: for two cars, a simple 25’x25′ square should do (got one estimate for about $2,000, including excavating 5″ deep and a layer of crushed concrete). I already know what kind of surface I want: gray/beige 3/4″ gravel — larger than pea gravel, which is squishy to walk on. Then there’s the edging question. I don’t want brick or cobblestone. Too urban. Steel would be functional, unobtrusive, and keep the stones from ‘migrating,’ but I could save a grand by skipping it. Would it be so terrible if a few stones migrated into the road or my forsythia hedge?
- Fireplace. Since I’ve now decided to stay here in the boondocks for the winter, a fireplace has become a must. Not a wood burning stove; this will be strictly for atmosphere and a bit of extra warmth. I’m ordering a Malm Zircon freestanding fireplace in white, left, from Design Within Reach. The decisions here are size — 30″ or 34″ wide? — and location. Which of two corners in my living room? Also to be determined.
- Tree removal is underway and going well. Decisions here have already been made (and these were life or death decisions, for the trees), with the wise counsel of Eric Ernst of Montauk, known as “Tree Man.” He and his son Ethan, 19, are out there buzzing their chainsaws as I type. Soon, my yard will be less five or six diseased, struggling, leaning, or unfortunately placed trees (and I will have lots of firewood and wood chips for mulch). A white oak that overhung the yard oppressively is gone already, as is a front-yard pine that got no light. Now its neighbor, a blue Atlas cedar, has a fighting chance.