Earlier this summer the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation’s Executive Committee approved a proposal to make improvements to the Casa de la Guerra courtyard including pruning the Coast Live Oak and Mission Olive trees, and stabilizing the courtyard surface to reduce dust and increase durability to make the venue more event-friendly. At the end of August Eduardo contracted with Quality Tree Care to prune the oak and olive trees. The canopy of the oak tree had become thick and shaggy with low-hanging branches that obscured the view of the central wing porch roof from the street. The crew from Quality thinned the top of the tree and pruned the bottom of the tree above the roof line restoring the view of the Casa roofline. The olive tree was also pruned. Both trees look much happier and healthier already.
The first week in September I ordered 45 tons of decomposed granite from Santa Barbara Sand and Topsoil 45 gallons of PolyPavement soil stabilizer for the new courtyard surface. After some minimal hand-grading to shave high spots and fill low spots in the courtyard, Kenney Construction Incorporated (KCI) arrived at the site to load the decomposed granite over the wall and into the courtyard. Using a swinger truck with a large hopper and high-speed conveyor belt, KCI shot the granite into the courtyard eliminating hundreds of wheelbarrow trips from the street.
As soon as the granite was all delivered, Eduardo, Isidro Ruiz, and I began spreading a three-inch thick layer of the material across the site with rakes and wheelbarrows. Once all the decomposed granite was distributed evenly across the site a vibrating compactor/roller and a vibra-plate were used to compact the material before applying three coats of the PolyPavement soil stabilizer. Now that the project is complete, the Casa courtyard is dust-free. The hardened surface is permeable to water and should last for years with periodic maintenance.
Michael Imwalle is the archaeologist at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation.