Slow progress with the patio and a heartfelt thank you

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010


First off, I'd like to thank everyone who commented and emailed me when we lost Errol last week. He was really the best little doggy (and I'm not even a dog person, lol!) We miss him terribly but are so blessed that he was a part of our lives for 7 years.

Now on to other things. I posted previously that we were installing a patio in our backyard. We did fine on the excavation, though it was slow because we did it all by hand.

After our 3 day weekend, we put in a few hours each night when Ed got home from work and finally had the ground cleared out to a depth of 7 inches and the string lines all run and levelled, etc. Ed picked up a rented plate compactor on Friday (the 13th, should have known better!) and when he pulled the cord to start the engine, the cord came off in his hand and the thing was busted. And of course the rental place was closed all weekend long.

So instead of something like this going on

I started looking a little like this

To get on with my story, for around $60, we bought 2 hand tampers from Home Depot and we began the long and painful job of compaction by hand.

All in all, it's not a difficult or skilled process, but for those who don't know, this is an 18'x20' patio with a 3'x8' walkway- which has been dug to 19'x21' to allow for the plastic edging we have to put in. This is the scale drawing I did when we were initally mapping out our plans

Needless to say it took hours to do each layer.

First we compacted the ground. Then we laid a 2" layer of gravel and compacted that.

Then we began our second 2" gravel layer. At which point, we began to realize that the 40 foot tall black cherry tree in our backyard was seriously dropping some cherries into the gravel- a problem not only because it will affect laying the bricks, but a finished patio would wind up covered in cherry stains!

So after talking it over, we decided to call an arborist and have him come check out the tree.

Which turned into this

And this

and this

and also this

and finally this



My yard looks like a warzone and I am about to go outside with a leaf blower to try to get all the cherries into one area so I can get them off of the gravel.

I am beginning to feel like this is the patio that will never get done.

Oh btw, the rental place DID give us our money back, plus a 20% discount on a future rental- which will come in handy when we decide to rent a wet saw for cutting tiles when we redo our bathroom... (don't freak, honey, I'm not saying it's on the to do list -yet- one thing at a time!)

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