Biggest project yet

You might want to grab some popcorn or coffee before you sit down to read this one.  It will take a little bit to get through it.

I have to wonder sometimes why I take on such huge projects.  I get these visions but somehow the part that is omitted is the amount of work that goes into it.  That is what happened with my backyard.  I knew I wanted something that was maintenance free, where I go just sit and be able to relax.  As you know, I can’t do that inside since I have many projects on the go in there. The first project was to replace the old deck.  It wasn’t very big 10 x 6 feet so that was going to be an easy project to do on the long weekend in May.

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The deck was pretty rotten, actually so much so that it was growing mushrooms.  The paint the previous owners had put was peeling away and the railings made it look like a playpen. It had to go!

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I removed all the old boards and railing.  Thankfully the supports were still in good shape and I didn’t have to replace them.  The deck is the same size but without the railings and having stairs right across the front it looks so much bigger.

922981_453314334752882_788713604_nI saw one day on the internet a freecycle group for my area, someone was giving away a garden swing.  I have always wanted one, my parents had one when we were growing up and I always found it relaxing to sit on it.  I can still picture my sister out back on it reading a book on my parents.  While I was at the house for the swing and a couple of patio stones so that I could have the swing sit on something other than grass, I was asked if I would like to have the interlock brick.  I couldn’t believe my ears, interlock brick!  This was more than I could have visioned for my yard.  Of course I said yes!  I was going to have to remove their brick patio and transport it in my car which is a Mazda3.  I am pretty stubborn so that is what I started to do.  I soon realized that it was going to take a zillion trips in my car to get all that brick to my place.  Luckily I had a friend who was willing to lend me his pickup truck to move all these bricks.  It took 5 loads with the truck and that was after I had already done 4 loads with the car.  You can just imagine how many bricks there were.

247067_453308271420155_1016198326_nAlmost 300 sq ft of interlock bricks.  Well, it sat in the yard for a few weeks while I checked around for prices to have someone install it for me.  Like I said in the beginning the vision always leaves out the amount of work to get to the finished product.  I couldn’t believe the cost to have someone install this for me.  It was upwards of $5000.  I knew there was no way I could enjoy my backyard as much if I payed someone to install it.  I thought about it a lot as I knew my back was in for a rough go but I also knew that once it was finished I would sit back and enjoy it that much more if I did it myself.

945291_460068020744180_526006899_nThe start of the job was to remove around 40 patio stones.  I did that a bit at a time, thankfully my Dad had given me his old trolley and I didn’t have to carry or walk them to where they needed to be out of the way.  One by one they all got moved.

600922_460405517377097_1447839348_nLuckily on Saturday morning my friend, Joanne show up and we started digging.  I couldn’t believe how much digging there was to do.  I remember at point saying to her that a vegetable garden looks good right about now.   A few hours after that her husband Paul and Rob showed up and my son, Garrick crawled out of bed.  This was about 1:30 in the afternoon by that point Joanne and I had the geotech laid down and were just about to start to fill the wheelbarrow with loads of stone.

424732_461895177228131_91688971_nWhen it was delivered it sure didn’t look like it was enough to do what I needed it to do…wrong again!  As the loads came to the back we raked it out to be pretty even.

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Paul was so focused on having everything level, actually I think that is the only part of the patio that is level.

401840_461895853894730_1825168554_nRob was the roller, that big thing was full of water and not light by any means.  He was such a sport to come help.

294281_461896173894698_659854905_nAfter enough of the bricks were laid it was time to think about feeding the help.  Rob was kind enough to do all the cooking,  Good thing because there are not many things in life I am afraid of but the BBQ is high on the list.

580393_461896317228017_1352797104_nAfter we ate, we got back to work for a few more hours.  When we finally stopped it was around 8:30 in the evening.  A good 10 hours work was done.  The next day I got up and started again, I was pretty adamant about getting this thing done.  I was tired of looking at the pile of bricks at the back of the yard.  Rob showed up again and we worked till the patio was finished.  It felt so good to know that at least that part of the work was done.

_MG_5188I’ll skip ahead a bit now.  I went out and bought some pressure treated 4 x4 x 10 to frame the whole thing in with.  I was also lucky enough to have a ton of perennials given to me.  I probably planted 30 perennials.

_MG_5201I had a rather weathered wood bench that I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to keep or not.  In the end I did keep it and painted with ASCP in Florence.  I love how it pops.

_MG_5200The look was starting to come together.  Once I had everything planted I started working on the cobblestone path to the side of the house.  I always liked the look of cobblestone and I had enough bricks left to be able to do this.  Picked up around 10 bags of red cedar mulch and spread that around.  I am hoping that helps control any weeds that try and take over.

I know this next part is full of pictures but after all that work I wanted to take a picture from every angle.

_MG_5199_MG_5203This is now my oasis.  It is like having an additional living space in the summer.

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My favourite place to sit and relax is the swing.  I had this old end table that was sitting outside beside the house.  The top of it was damaged beyond repair so I took some of the boards from the old deck and nailed them to the damaged top and now I have a perfect little table for my swing. Beside the swing I put an old ladder and added some plants that I bought at the distressed section at Lowe’s.

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I love sitting out back with my coffee before I go to work and look forward to coming home and relaxing in my paradise which was a labour of love.

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Of course without the help of these friends I would still be working on it.  Rob and Paul have been friends for years and to see them enjoy the deck and the yard is an awesome thing…

I can’t thank Joanne, Paul, Rob and Garrick enough for their help in getting my yard from nothing to a paradise!

Till our next patio time, cheers!

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