This Summer’s Project…

The back yard has been something of a work-in-progress for awhile. The hostas were never Brooke’s favorite, grass wouldn’t grow well close to the house, and it wasn’t really usable space (as in, we didn’t sit there, didn’t throw a ball there, etc.).

Separately, I’ve never been completely satisfied with having my grills up by the garage. They’re fine there, but there are times when we’re entertaining guests and we have to move the car out of the way in order to sit closer to them.

Thus, we had the brilliant idea of putting a patio in that would help solve some problems. We figured it’d be a relatively cheap operation and something we could handle ourselves. We had Lowe’s and Spingwater deliver stuff so there wasn’t a lot of transporting back and forth on our part, aside from a few incidentals we needed to help fill in.

But first, we had to get started…

First, we had to spread things out a bit. We tried to level it as much as we could, but the dirt was pretty clumpy and I wasn’t about to bring Dr. Gault’s tiller over… Still, Brooke spread out the remaining mulch from that spot and worked the dirt around to get a pad started.

Brooke figured out her brick edging system with the storage shed we put up a few months ago, so she put her experience to work with the edging here. She really did a good job with it, leveling each one, digging out the pathway, and stacking where necessary to get them perfect. It took her quite awhile, but got it done! I don’t think her back felt great, though….

In some of the space between where the patio was going to go and the retaining wall, we moved over some of the big rocks we had left over from the porch remodel last year. Mostly, we did this as “filler” so we wouldn’t have to put so much mulch and topsoil down, but while we were at it, we placed some flatter ones around as stepping stones.

Next step, after placing those rocks and adding in some topsoil, was to start laying down the layers under which our pavers would rest. Again, this is the same process Brooke went through in April, albeit on a larger scale. Brooke used the calculator function on Lowe’s website to know how many backs and bricks we’d need and, for the most part, we think we had enough…but honestly, we could have probably used a few more bags to get the layer a bit thicker.

The sand is where we really noticed it, though. The instructions suggested 1″ thick sand and we simply didn’t have anywhere near that. We hemmed and hawed about what to do, I made some phone calls to local stores, Brooke made a trip out to a few to ask around…but in the end, no one in this town had sand for sale. This was possibly due to the flooding of the Missouri River nearby where sandbags were made, but who can say… We even stopped in Moberly on the way back from lunch with Brooke’s parents and their Lowe’s didn’t have anything for us.

So yeah, I ended up getting a few buckets of gravel from Springwater to try and move the edge of the pavers out a bit. Definitely not ideal, but serviceable. After we got that far, we put down the pavers and the plastic edging that should hold them in place.

The pavers are…sadly…not level… But they’re pretty close and the grills roll over the pads effectively, so we’ll see how it goes. We can always pull them up and add some sand underneath as they settle, so we may just go that route when we get some motivation.

For the last addition, we picked up a post from the local hardware store and some concrete to put in a set of hangers for some plants. Brooke applied a nice stain to it. It’s pretty.

The mulch was the last bit to add. Springwater brought 200 cu ft (because we ordered 100 cu ft last year and I conveniently made a note saying we’d need more than that….and we totally did…). That amount was barely enough to cover the back space of the yard and didn’t make it around to the front.

Brooke also picked up a nice wooden plant holder to put a citronella plant in. I’ll report back if it actually does any good…

The plants look good on the hangers, too! Brooke picked up a few more hooks so we can hang a bluetooth speaker and other things if we find a need.

She also added another step just down from the retaining wall that will transition to the walkway I’m in the process of extending. I’ve got one more pad to install, but we’ll see when I get around to it. Maybe this week. Who knows.

Last but not least, I re-edged the front porch to hopefully make those bricks more stable, and then bought another 10 bags of mulch for the front (and I could probably stand to pick up a few mores when i get around to it).

That’s it! The exterior of the house could still use a good spray-down of the siding, but otherwise, I think we’re going to “coast” for a bit while we work the garden (per usual) and get grass seeded where needed.

Now, I just need to pick up some pork chops and brats and break in the new patio!

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