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Leveling Up our Maryland Pride

UMD M
For over four years, after removing a large crop of weeds, we had this big round patch of dirt on our front yard.  However, rather than just grass it over, we lived with the eyesore because I had big plans for that circle.  This whole time I have been telling our neighbors, many of which are Terp faculty, staff, alumni, or family, that I planned to replicate the Maryland "M" on our front yard.

Well, 2020 was the year we finally got it done, and just in time for Maryland's Homecoming.  And the best part is it lights up at night!

First Scott (aka Dr. Evil at UMD) created a template that laid out exactly how many bricks I would need to create the M in the front circle.  I got the bricks with three holes in them so that there could be lights in each hole and the whole M would gently glow.  Luckily, our friend and neighbor Reggie, who is an architect, brought up the concern of pooling water when we told him about our idea of using lights, so we changed our initial design to include better drainage.

Making the Maryland M part 1

Using four boards of plywood, we traced the design, I drilled holes where each light would come up (big enough for water to drain through), and then used a staple gun to secure the holiday lighting underneath each board.  It was incredibly empowering to use power tools to this extent! (video) A few red zip ties were also fed through so we could secure segments of brick to the board.  We set the boards on top of the rocks, zip tied bricks into line segments so they wouldn't shift around, and then secured them to the board.  Finally, we filled the M in with red mulch and surrounded it with black mulch.

Making the Maryland M part 1

Behold, our homage to the university that is such an integral part of our lives... from a PhD to the CYC, from a job to a community for our extended family, and from opportunities to awards.  Our Maryland pride runs deep, and now that curbside eyesore of dirt on our lawn finally represents it.  Go Terps! 

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