Monday, September 12, 2011

Backyard weekend progress

If you were the pot, I'd be the glue; If you were the glue, I'd be the pot? I don't know which one I am but I do know HELP IS GOOD.

In my experience, there are the idea people and then the finisher people. People who start a project partnered with people who finish the project. People that get ideas and start the job and people who do the lifting and labour. Or maybe just the project people paired with supporters. My sister has a husband who does a lot of the work around the house. She starts, he finishes. My brother has a girlfriend who does a lot of DIY stuff. He helps with other jobs (lawn cutting, maintenance stuff) and she does the painting and patio building and other stuff.  And friends, they have partners who seem to compliment their strengths and weaknesses. It reminds me of the song All I want is you.

I am definitely the idea person and I definitely like to do some kinds of manual labour, but I am not partnered with someone who likes to do the other parts of the job.  Sometimes jobs are more fun when there is a group of people working on it.

I have written about my backyard and attempts at making a patio several times. BUT this time, I am confident the project will happen!

This was plan I rendering. It includes a paver patio and deck.

This is Plan I drawing:

This is what my backyard looked like in the spring, after some digging and idea revolution. The drawings and idea for a paver patio came AFTER I started digging.  We had even hauled away the dirt and grass piles, but I still needed to dig out the concrete (that is under the piles).
May 30,2011

Summer things happened and by Sept my back yard became overgrown and the ideas faded:

Sept 10, 2011
The halt in the plan also had to do with design ideas. I LOVE red brick patios with little grass and moss growing through the cracks.  But my house is surrounded by limestone walls. I was conflicted about what material to use.  And the hot summer. Hot hot summer equals hard hard undiggable earth.  And then came the overgrowth.

I became re-motivated when I read this blog post @ Design Sponge and spotted Jess's crushed gravel area.

I did a couple google searches and found some pea gravel patio instructions that I was cool with and came up with Plan II (same idea, but more rocks and pea gravel. This rendering doesn't include the deck I want to eventually build):

Along with new inspiration and motivation, the rain has also made the earth easier to dig again.  So back outside to clear away the overgrowth. After an hour work this (saturday) morning (and lifting the screen up for the window shot) the backyard looks more like it did in the spring, albeit the long grass. Yep, it got so long my reel  mower will not cut it. Whats a girl to do.
Sept 10,2011

Small pile of concrete.

Buh bye elephant head, I am sure I will see you ALLLLLLL over next year.

My perch, the skateboard.

While I was pulling out the overgrowth and thinking about all the grass I have to dig out again I wondered if I should let the winter do the work for me and start next spring. And then I remembered how our nanny's boyfriend is out of work. And how he is also 20 years younger then me and probably FULL of energy.  I also decided that my time could be better used going to this community yard sale in search of a wheel barrow and rake. And buying the pea gravel. I really, really want to get to the next stage of patio building. After all this will be my third time doing the digging part. I decided to call her and see if he was interested.

The story of limestone supply and patio idea revolution
While clearing the back yard in the spring I discovered a pile of leftover limestone. I dug up a few and decided that maybe I can find enough rocks to build my patio.

I also have this pile of limestone type rocks from the alcove area that we cleared out

AND We have this lovely "quarry" nearby.   I discovered this clay hill area when I was pregnant with my son, back in 2002.  Mounds and hills and mountains of clay that appear to be quite moon like to a youngster.  We hadn't gone hiking there for a few years, but recently we just took my brother and girlfriend for a walk.  Although some of the hills have been flattened and filled in with gravel we did find one portion of the clay hills and bike track. (I do not live in NH, "Live Free or Die"; I live in a state that has many rules and laws and tends to clear away fun and "prevent disaster").

AND we discovered the quarry!  We each grabbed a rock to carry home, but my dog was not able to walk and the baby had had enough, so two stones were left behind in order to carry the invalids. (choices, eh)

I was determined to go back and collect a few more limestone rocks. And a bucket of smaller rocks. And that is just what we did this afternoon. A friend and I put the boys bikes into the car and off to the clay hills & quarry we go.

I have many pictures of the boys biking adventure but forgot to take a picture of the quarry.

Lucy also enjoyed the clay and spent most of her time rolling around on it.

My collection of limestone and Lucy's collection of little rocks.

Yep, I need to make about, er, 40 more trips. I'll remember to take a picture of the quarry on one of those trips.

Back to backyard
Ego lost and I called Sunday morning and Nanny and her boyfriend came to help. And let me tell you, working with a group of people on something like this is HUGE. It's fun, its motivating and so much more gets done.

Hulking boyfriend machete away the grass and cracked up and carried concrete to front of house. Chaz hauled away the piles of grass and elephant ears. Nanny played with Lucy.
Sept 11, 2011

And I cleared the grass off of the concrete blocks, pulled out the small pieces of concrete. Collected and tossed the good stones in a bucket. (I am determined to collect and reuse rocks for the majority of this patio; it just seems odd to pay for rocks.) And went in search of sledge hammer.
Our tools.

After 2.5 hours the back yard looked like this.

With just one fatality, a broken pot.

I have grand plans to finish the patio this time!  Hopefully next weekend! During the week I can haul away some barrows of dirt (or maybe I will leave that to my associate) and level the area.  Get the weed stopper stuff, sand and pea gravel.  And lay my pattern of lime stone. Eventually I will cut down that tree. IT's a bad tree, pushing against the foundation.

"If you were a wink, I'd be a nod
If you were a seed, well I'd be a pod.
If you were the floor, I'd wanna be the rug."
~Barry Louis Polisar


  1. love this song- which I listened to as I read your post- and love the progress- you CAN do it and I look forward to seeing your progress!

  2. You're getting there! Don't give up. Good company and the Juno soundtrack can make even the most painful job fun. I can't wait to see the finished backyard!

    Did I understand correctly? Your grandmother's boyfriend is 20 years younger than you? That's an amazing age difference!

  3. @Stephanie!, that is funny! I guess some people do call their grandma nanny, but I meant nanny as in Mary Poppins, The Nanny, sort of thing. (i.e. babysitter)


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