Last Sunday, the temperature in the Chicago 'burbs hit sixty degrees for the first time this year which could only mean one thing....it's finally "chainsaw season" here at the farmhouse. The quotes that I got for cutting down the foundation plantings around the the house were averaging $1,000 or more so I decided that this was one of the items on the Phase 2 Construction "to do" list that I could tackle myself.
Armed with an electric chainsaw with a brand new chain (and gloves, glasses and boots) and the knowledge that the landscaping was the original 1950's planting, the demolition went pretty quickly. Yews and arborvitae which had, over the years, grown too tall for their locations had been sheared into...well..."interesting" undulating shapes as well as badly pruned burning bushes, viburnum and buckthorn were cleared to make room for the new addition and to allow for access to the windows which are also being replaced during Phase 2
The stumps will be removed during excavation and re-grading of the lot so the only consideration was to cut them as close to the soil line as possible in order to keep
After about six hours of cutting and hauling the debris to the side yard, the foundation was cleared revealing the rotting shutters, vents and mildew on the limestone window sills and I thought to myself...
"Yay! My house looks like a tear down! and Gosh, I wonder what the neighbors are thinking."
....I spent most of the night Sunday wondering how long it will be before someone throws a rock through the windows.
(I'm kidding, of course...but still...)
Of course, the next order of business was what to do about the seven foot tall, 20 foot long brush pile that filled the basket ball court in the side yard and extended into the lawn.
I looked into renting a chipper ($95 for 3 hours) but by the time I got a ball hitch for the Blazer and had the tail wiring replaced (this vehicle has over 200,000 miles on it so it's not in tip-top shape), it would have ended up costing $250.
Instead, I turned to the Internet and after about 10 minutes, I found Lopez Tree Service. They're local and could be here within 24 hours. They chipped up the brush and hauled it away for $150.
Net savings on this DIY: $850.
Lesson learned: it's not always cheaper to DIY but many times you can save significant amounts of money by DIY'ing part of the project. The most important thing is to know what you can handle and when to "call in the pro's".