Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Deck in a Weekend

Take two days of dry weather (and add in a little sun) and you can have a 6x12 foot deck. At least we could! Justin poured the footings last Thursday so we could get a jump on the hammerin' and nailin' for the weekend. On Saturday, we got the full substructure in place. On Sunday, Justin spent the morning meticulously cutting the holes for the handrail posts in the decking while I planted a vegetable garden in the front yard (yeah!!). After lunch, we got on with the fun and fast part of installing deck boards. And by 5PM, we were sitting on our deck enjoying a beer.
Here I am pounding in a Simpson hanger.
And the finished product. (Yeah, yeah, we know we're missing a few things like railings and stairs)

Justin took his new smoker (a 30th birthday gift from yours truly) for a trial run and made dinner while we assembled the deck: smoked pork butt.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oh, my aching body...

Well, our backyard now looks like an archeological dig site, although the only discoveries were giant blocks of concrete and a pile of broken bricks.

Two out of three of us were up by 8am ready to carve up the backyard with heavy machinery. I was in bed, trying to sleep in a few more minutes and wishing I'd had one fewer glasses of wine on Saturday night. Dan, our equipment operator and friend of Justin's mother, graciously volunteered to run the equipment. And Justin, eager to get some full body exercise stood in as the dirt schlepper, ferrying a 1/2 yard of dirt at a time to a dirt broker a few miles south. Ultimately, I pulled weeds and separated out rocks that we can use for our drainage project.

Here you see the patio space and pathway to the garage excavated along with a drainage trench along the house.

Here's our giant pile of dirt...only 2-3 yards found a new home so far. We're going to use the other 12 yards for a bmx jump :)

Dan's going to try to come back to finish up...we had so much extra dirt that maneuverability was too limited to dig out the pathway to the alley.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Staked out

Today, we got home from work and staked out our backyard. We're really visualizing a patio and path back here! Sometime before Sunday, we'll be raking the gravel off to the side to repurpose in a drainage trench. Then, this upcoming weekend, we are going to break out the heavy machinery and move some dirt to get the foundation for our new hardscape started. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Here today, gone tomorrow

Well, our giant pile of rubble is packed up and ready to be hauled away. We got super, super lucky and found some folks via craigslist to come take the large pieces of concrete. It was a win win because now we don't have to pay for disposal/recycling and they get some free material to build their retaining walls. Justin ordered up a dumpster for the smaller scraps and we filled it up in quick time and still had a mini pile remaining. The pile wasn't large enough to warrant using a dumpster so we decided to take a trip to the dump with it. We also filled up our yard waste bin with so many weeds that we can barely move it. We are hoping that it is not too heavy to collect.

We have a lot of small pebbles and gravel that was under the slab of concrete and we are hoping that when we install our drainage trench and french drain, we will be able to reuse this material for that. If you look closely in the picture above you can see the contour of the filled-in trench where Justin installed water and electricity to the garage last weekend. I want to have an easy option for irrigating my vegetable beds when we put this yard back together and thought that a spigot off the garage was a better option than drawing water from the spigot on the house. And, despite being wired up inside of the garage, the previous owner never actually pulled power from the panel to power the garage. So, Justin's got the conduit in place to allow for us to actually wire the garage to a real power source, not just thin air.