Thursday, March 22, 2012

We must be crazy putting in a paver patio in the snow!

We will never admit when we've bitten off more than we can chew.  Note that I said admit.  That doesn't mean that we've never had to tear down one of our projects and re-do it when we figured out the correct way.  Or, the serious moment of buyer's remorse when we entered our newly purchased home and realized it was merely a set of stringers and logs on the water.

Yes, we've definitely taken on our share of challenges.  And what doesn't kill you, is likely to grow your property value.

This is the latest project: a paver patio and set of stairs for our sloped 1/4 acre desert backyard.  We were planning on hiring out the work using some of the cash from the sale of our houseboat.  But after a $4,000 bid for the stairs alone, we retreated and decided to do the work ourselves.  Ok, so my husband decided to do the work himself.

Here are the pictures from beginning to now:

The Stairs to the Patio.  I didn't know how we were going to tackle this.  It's just a hillside made of lava rock with no way down to the bottom.

Days later, this is the only progress made trying to "carve" steps out of the hillside.

It was about this time that I was screaming, "What the ---- have you done to our yard!"
Bring in the heavy machinery!  With an excavator that we rented, we were able to dig a pathway down too the bottom in a matter of hours.  Now for the steps...
Using some old railroad ties, concrete blocks, used all-thread from my husband's work, and make-shift scaffolding from two car jacks, my husband has managed to build two stairs in two days.
Each step requires drilling through the railroad tie, and sometimes the lava rock below, and holding into place with foot-long all-thread.

All the meanwhile, work on the paver patio begins.  We were worried that the snow would prevent us from excavating, but thanks to an expert friend, we plowed through the excavation and gravel laying in two days.
Day two of the excavation and the site was leveled, gravel was down and compacted.  We ended up having to make our patio two levels because the ground was too uneven and too much dirt would have to be excavated to make it a single level.  The step down was finished, and we were ready for pavers on Sunday.  Then it snowed until Thursday.

After the ground was compacted, my husband spray painted the dimensions of the patio out so we could get a visual.  It's actually much smaller than anticipated!  Yeah!  Less money!

A view of the patio and where the staircase will come down.

All compacted and ready to go--pre-snow.
My husband decided to add a ramp to one side of the patio stairs so we could move things easier, like lawn equipment.
Waiting for pavers...
Thursday (Day 7 since excavation).  Snow is finally melting enough to install pavers (on the right side of the picture).

Patio install begins.  This is the easy part!
Stay tuned for updates on how the project is going.  Hoping to have it close to done by the end of the month!  Given it ever stops snowing!

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