we’re halfway there!

Livin’ on a prayer.

I say we’re ‘halfway there’ about our summer project, because we still have the pergola and fence to finish next summer, but we’ve finished the bulk of the work with the deck and patio.  (I suppose it’s more accurate to say we’re 2/3 of the way finished, since this was the second summer of what will be a three-summer project.)  Good gracious.

After our trip to France this year, Andrew finished the deck by building the stairs and installing gorgeous lights on each step and on the patio walls.  Then, we got to work on the patio.  But first, how’s this for a before and after?!


AFTER (approx. Aug 2016, finished deck and patio started):

Close-up of deck:

(Brazilian Teak wood for stairs, floor and railings from Advantage Lumber, white Trex post sleeves over pressure-treated lumber, cedar slats we painted white for the skirting around the deck)

AFTER (12/1/16: finished deck and patio):

(Patio is Richcliff Stones in a mix of Pebble Taupe and Dawn Mist from Unilock in Buffalo)

Progress shots:

Planting the raised bed with hydrangea and hostas:

Area for patio covered in landscaping fabric:

Gravel delivered:

After spreading and leveling the gravel, Andrew did the same with a layer of sand, and then began putting the pavers down for the patio!  We got a great deal on some really high quality stones that someone returned, so we ended up with a mix of grey and brownish stones.  Andrew chose a black border to go around the outside of the patio and where the pergola stands.

We were blessed with some beautiful weather (and a free weekend thanks to a change in travel plans), so Andrew and I teamed up to spread the special polymer-sand that forms the grout between the stones.  It’s a spread-sweep-rinse process that took two afternoons.

Finally!  A quick shot after hosing down the last area of grout on the patio.

summer project

a.k.a. What’s taking over our lives.

Seriously.  We’re losing our marbles, one 2×4 at a time over here.  I’ve had just about as much landscaping as I can take (see previous post), and I still have one. final. bed.  DOn’t get me wrong; I’m super excited to pick up our MAGNOLIA tree/shrub thing, but after that, I’m DONE.  No more planting for me this summer.

Andrew, I’m sure is just as frustrated as I am…  In true house-project fashion, everything takes way longer than you think (especially when you have not one but TWO engineers working on your projects), and EVERY option must be explored.  Andrew’s dad is the planner, Andrew is the do-er….and I think it takes three times as long.

Our existing deck and patio were pretty sad; the deck looked pretty worse for wear, and weeds had all but taken over whatever ‘patio’ we had.

  Shortly after returning from our France trip, in a fit of extreme motivation, I took up all our concrete pavers.  And all the flagstone.  BY MY SELF.  Seriously, the entire time I was lifting and rolling those giant pieces of concrete into piles, all I could think was ‘Is this a crossfit workout, or what?!’
  Between the paver removal and all my landscaping efforts, I might have sustained permanent wrist damage.  For real.

Andrew also completed deck demo, right down to (and including) the existing concrete supports.  Note the rusty bilco doors to the left (uncovered when we took the deck down); instead of simply replacing them and calling it a day, Andrew and his dad took a month to, essentially, make a roof for it.  No wonder this project is behind schedule; our totally unused, UNSEEN cellar entrance has a fancy schmancy roof.  End rant.

  Once all the pavers were up (squares got sold, flagstone is STILL in our garage…), a friend came over with his tractor to dig up and level the area for our new patio.
  Andrew even broke out his grandfather’s old survey equipment to ENSURE the ground was level. Our tractor friend got a good chuckle.  A few days later, we had someone come dig all the holes we needed, 20-something in all. So glad we hired THAT ONE out.

Nine new concrete supports for the deck as well as beams and joists, fence posts in and (in the foreground) our trench for the french drain.

Andrew and I spent the better part of Labor Day weekend digging out a giant trench for a french drain.  Seriously hard work.  Wrists are still sore a week later.

Inside the trench, we lined it with the black landscaping fabric, then inserted perforated tubes and filled the space with gravel.  We then folded over the fabric and covered it with soil.

 This weekend is pretty rainy, so we’re taking a bit of a break and binge-watching the newest season of Longmire on Netflix.