Our Family

Our Family

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Patio Party

Over memorial day weekend, we called upon my dad once again, to assist us in more home improvements.  This time we were tackling the back yard and putting in a patio.  Last summer, if you remember, we renovated our kitchen (see reveal post here).  With that large project, we put in a new back door.
With the new access to the backyard, we wanted to be able to use the yard more often, and ditch the driveway parties.  Let's face it, patio parties are WAY better than driveway parties.  So, our next big home improvement was the installation of a patio.  After planning and ordering all necessary materials, we were ready to begin.  And as I mentioned earlier, my one and only, very talented dad helped us out.  We  started on Friday night and our goal was to get it done by Sunday morning.  We wanted to have time to relax and enjoy our extra day off on Monday to get us rejuvenated for the last couple of weeks of school.

We started with our materials.  4 skids of 104 16-inch pavers, 57 paver base bags, 29 leveling sand bags, 7 8-foot paver edgers, 6 anchor kits for paver edgers, 5 paver locking sand bags and a partridge in a pear tree.  Also, in there were some stones for a rock wall we added to the front yard.
The first step was to mark out where we wanted the patio.  We decided on a rectangle shape that would be about 13 feet by 11 feet.  After marking it out, we started to dig out the sod.  
This was about halfway done with the sod.  We had started out trying to save it so we could use it elsewhere; however, that was too difficult so we ended up just chopping it up and pulling it out.  It was a lot easier on the guys' backs and much faster.  We had a lot of extra sod that we just added to some of our flower beds in hope that the grass would die and it would turn into dirt.
We finished and decided to cover the open dirt with tarps just as it started raining.  It was perfect timing and a great idea.  We were already full of dirt, it would have been much worse if it was all mud.  We used anything we could find to cover the open area: tarps, extra plastic, a shower curtain and even a random grill cover.
 After relaxing the rest of the night, the next step the next morning was to get the rest of the dirt out of the ground so we could start with our layers.  A good idea Dad had was to rent a tiller to break up the dirt.  It would have been very hard with just use a pitch fork.  Saturday morning, Ange and Dad went to Ace to get a tiller.  It happened to be the very last tiller and Dad of course made some jokes with the salesman who started with "Attila the Hun."  Dad followed with "Tiller?  You tiller, you brought her."  And to end the whole exchange, Dad said, "Till we meet again."
Andrew learning from the master once again.
After tilling the soil we had to tamp, tamp and more tamp.  We had to make sure the soil was compact so all the other layers would lay well.  This was the last of the dirt preparation.  After tamping several times, raking and leveling, we were ready for the weed blocker.

Now, to prevent the weeds.  I was sure we would forget the weed blocker, but sure enough, we remembered it.  As our easiest step, it flew by and we were ready for the next step after only about 20 minutes.  We got the heavy-duty professional grade to make sure there will be NO weeds.
The next step was the patio base layer, step 1.  We were rather confused about the order to put our layers in.  The bags were different brands and that didn't help.  So with this layer down, we were ready to tamp again.  This was not as rocky as we thought it should be, but we were convinced the next layer bags were pure sand.  So after laying 29 bags of leveling sand, we were ready to move on.  But not before tamping the whole thing again.  I had borrowed 2 tampers from people at work and boy was that a life saver.  With only one, it would have taken forever.  It was really nice to have two.
Layer #1.
Layer #2

This was our final layer before the pavers.  What we thought was pure sand was sand with rather large river rocks.  We had switched the layers...oops.  We debated about starting over and even moved aside some of our other layer, but decided against it.  Our goal was to finish by that night and we didn't think it would make that big of a difference, so we just stuck with what we had started with.  After a lot of raking and more tamping, we were ready to start the pavers.
Taking a break and being silly...typical Daddy and Daughter Lonis.
Oh yeah, before the pavers, we had to do the paver edger.  It didn't take long, but we were ready to get on with the heavy work.
And we're off....
We had finally started with the pavers.  Oh man, was that hard work.  Since our sand had those river rocks in it, we actually had a hard time laying the pavers.  They were not laying level and we had to re-tamp before every stone.  While dad or Andrew lifted and situated the pavers, I pushed sand in or out from underneath to try to level it.  Boy, we were having a hard time until....

I went to Ace and picked up some play sand.  It was much easier to level with and we didn't have to worry about the rocks getting in the way.
 Phew....we needed a break.  Thanks to our neighbor Kurt, who brought us the champagne of beers: Miller High Life.  It was a much needed break.
After that it was smooth sailing...NOT!!!  It continued to be a lot of heavy, hard work.  The play sand did help a lot, but it still took several ups and downs of the stone to get it level and not wiggly.  Several times, I almost lost a finger as Dad or Andrew would drop a paver before I was done laying or moving sand, so we decided to say "Bombs Away" before the stone would be dropped.  That worked most of the time, except a couple of times as Dad was dropping the stone, he said "Bombs Away" super fast.
6 hours later, we were finally laying the final stone.  It felt so good to be done.
 See how good it looks!!

Oh yeah, on Sunday, we put in a storm door.  After a day and a half of hard, heavy work, we decided to put in our screen door.  I was really excited to get it in, but I knew Dad was exhausted and I told him he didn't have to do it, but he insisted.  And now we couldn't be happier to have it.
Another quick project.  If you haven't realized this yet, my dad really knows how to knock out the projects and get them done quickly.  He makes his list of things we need to do and we just check them off as we go.  

We were done and done.  After 11 hours of back-breaking work we had finished the Patio Project of 2011.  While we compared it to our Kitchen Project of 2010, we only had one day of this hard of work with the kitchen.  If it had been like this every day we probably would not have finished as quickly.  This patio was hard, heavy, body-aching, sore for the next 2 days work.  But as always, we are so happy, excited and proud to have completed it ourselves.  And again as always, we couldn't have done it without Dad.  Thanks Daddy, we love you.
Now a look of it all dressed up and ready to go! 

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