Sprinkler update... I haven't said much over the past few days, but our sprinkler contractor has been here working steadily away. It's clear at this point that the job was vastly larger than he had estimated (larger in the sense that more labor is required). Much of this has to do with his inexperience with big jobs – most of his jobs, he tells me, have under 30 sprinklers. His previous biggest job had 94. We have 211 sprinklers in our system, plus three drip irrigation lines. Added to that is the complexity of our yard's sectioning and shape: five distinct pieces, each of an irregular shape. Nothing easy about our yard! He's also never worked with anyone who was willing to “buy up” quality and maintainability (that is, I'm happy to spend a big more to get better parts, or to make the things likely to break easier to fix). Generally on the bigger systems, people are more interested in saving money. I'm more concerned about being able to keep all this running by myself, especially as I get older and less capable. On top of all that, while he's got a really good eye for level and grades, he grossly underestimated how much topsoil we'd need to bring in to fix the issues in our yard. We've had almost 500 cubic yards of topsoil delivered so far, and I'd guess we're going to need another 200 to 300 before we're done – so 700 to 800 cubic yards of topsoil in all. That's a lot of dirt!
As I write this, a skid-steer is hard at work in our front yard, finishing the tear-out of the old landscaping along the front of the house and fixing the (relatively minor) grade problems there. That will be finished today, and then the skid-steer will go to work moving some gravel and (lots of) dirt to the remaining low spots in the rest of the yard. We're expecting 10 loads of dirt today and tomorrow, and that's the next work to be done. I'm told that on Saturday the sod will start going in the front yard portions close to the house, and the entire back yard. If that really happens, there will be some serious celebrations in our household!