Nick’s 2008 Summer Project

I think Nick secretly dreads when I say: “I have an idea!” Usually that statement is followed by an activity that involves extreme manual labor, a ton of time, and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, no blood or tears yet but definitely a nasty amount of sweat. So what was my idea? A lovely new patio area in our backyard! The back of our house faces west so we have lovely sunset views, but it gets painfully hot and our unshaded back deck and yard are not usable until the sun goes down. In addition, we have poor drainage in parts of our yard so in the spring and after a storm we have a very wet, muddy yard. Now that we have a very active child, I thought it would be nice to have a shaded, brick or cement patio under our wood deck. That way we could use our backyard in the hot summer afternoons or after it rains. I plan to put Xander’s sandbox on the patio and some chairs. It’ll also offer a flat surface for his pool. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Well, the good wife that I am, I suggested we get ‘estimates’ from local contractors. We had several contractors come out to give us a price for pavers, brick, and cement patios. The cheapest estimate was $8,000!! In today’s housing market, that money would be a complete waste so we said ‘no thanks, dudes.’ Instead, Nick got to work. We opted for a patio made of pavers stones. He’s not just setting them on top of the grass. Instead, he’s making the effort to install them correctly (digging down 6+ inches, adding a gravel layer, making slopes etc etc). This summer project has taken up 3 weekends now, and thankfully he has had a ton of help from neighbors and friends. See his progress below.

Back of our house. This is the “before” photo.

We rented this big digger from the local hardware store. Nick felt like a man this day.

The hole. We had piles and piles of dirt. We pawned it off on friends and neighbors.

Next, Nick shovels gravel in the hole with the help of a neighbor. We borrowed his compactor machine to press it down. We’re currently waiting for a second shipment of gravel so Nick can finish this part of the patio-building process!

Stay tuned for more!

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