So we have an enormous cypress tree in front of our house. Though I grew up with cypress trees in my backyard growing up, and so am generally fond of them, this one has to go: it’s affecting the retaining walls of the bed up front, it has all sorts of power lines currently running through it, and, aesthetically speaking, it’s completely out-of-scale for the house. We’re planning on replacing it with something a little nicer and more modest, like an olive tree, in its place.
However, the tree was planted when the house was built, back in '39, and we would like to keep some part of the trunk and recycle it in some way to commemorate it. This might mean turning it into a modest sculpture or art piece. Or maybe creating some wooden path steps for our back yard (which is rather immense and which is undergoing a full landscaping overhaul). Or maybe…?
So, Dopers, if you had a big chunk of Italian cypress (anywhere from 4-15 ft, depending on how much we tell the arborist to save) that you had at your disposal to “create” something unique, what would you do? We don’t have a ton of money to spend on such an endeavor, but if a particular idea strikes our fancy, we feel it will be well worth the effort and expense (since this is the house we’re going to grow old in).
Keep it? Ouch, that’s a shame that a grand old tree like that no longer has a place. There’s no way to make it fit better by raising the canopy, expanding the limits of the retaining wall, etc? Having watched the two Italian Cypress I planted grow ever so slowly, I’d love to have such a monster in the yard.
Have *you * ever tried wearing cypress? Yes, it holds up well, but it gets itchy after awhile, and stiff as a board! Did I mention that it gets itchy? No termites or anything, but the wood against your skin. Definate chafing.
My little brother had to cut down an old maple tree. He was able to save a fairly straight 8 foot piece of the trunk. He cut it lenghwise down the middle and made a bench out of it. He also cut a couple slabs from the stump and made a couple matching tables.
If the cypress was in the back, it would be a no brainer, but right now it looks like an incredibly tall green furry missle silo that dwarfs the house. We could live with the retaining walls, but we’re not crazy about all the unreroutable wires that are running through it.
I should note that the tree is very tall, but the trunk is not very wide (neither is the bed it’s planted in, though). So wardrobes and other furniture is out. The totem pole is the most intriguing (it would look really cool in the back), but it couldn’t be one with the wings or other elements that jut out. But who would carve it? We might commission someone, because I certainly don’t have the tools or creative instincts to try such a thing.
I think we’re probably going to end up creating something simple (discs, platforms, squares, etc.) that we can incorporate into our landscaping overhaul in the back. That’ll be huge, and we’re trying our best to recycle everything we dig up and redistribute it to save resources and money.
Thanks for the suggestions, though. Keep up the ideas (since we’ve certainly not ruled anything out yet).
Disks would certainly work well as stepping stones. Isn’t shredded cypress used as a natural insecticide too? If you’re having the stump or any parts ground up you might be able to incorperate the material into beds around the foundation of your home.
Well, we’ve decided to take two of the longer parts of the trunk and convert them into log benches that will face the new fire pit we’ll be constructing. And the smaller portions we’ll cut into smaller cross-sections and use them as stepping “stones” throughout the backyard.
The house looks great–better than we expected. Thanks for all the suggestions!
You will extend the life of your stepping stones by placing them on top of pea gravel. It would not hurt to treat the part that comes in contact with the ground. Cypress is resistant to rot and bugs but eventually will succumb.
Yeah, we were definitely going to treat the stepping stone portions, but hadn’t gotten down to those details yet.
Thanks for the advice–we haven’t decided on the surface style/type of the backyard walking areas either. There are already stone steps there that we like (the elevation difference between the front and back ends of the backyard is six feet), but some new masonry work is going to need to be done. We’re extending the back “porch” area as well as creating a new BBQ pit, so brick, sandstone, or something a little warmer was the general plan (our house is already in a Mediterranean style).