Monday, April 11, 2011

Outside Project.

During this winter, I've had my mind set on fixing up this little patch of yuck next to the back steps. I'm not entirely sure what the previous owners were thinking when they decided to update the other similar areas on the front and side of the house but failed to "update" this area.

The problem area is weird spot. It is partially under this weird overhang part of the house and is along side of the cement walk way. It was this patch of white rocks... which may have been awesome at some point but seems outdated to me now. And that this was the only area that has white rocks and not wood chips around this house.  This area was also prone to weeds and the wonderful white rocks were always spilling out into the yard and didn't even cover up the dirt and weed paper stuff thoroughly anymore.

I wish I would have taken a better before shot, but didn't think until I had already started the destruction... I maybe able to scrounge up some one from right after we bought the house.

Oh, and did I mention it had a partial edge of that plastic edging. Not a big fan of that. Another one of the problems we have is that when the previous owner built the deck, she decided to leave most of the cement stairs there too... and the wonderfully large hunks that she gauged out of the stairs. So, those have always been popping up too. 

My plan was to use bricks to create edging, lay down new weed paper (the real name of this eludes me at the moment), put down some woods chips and then eventually plant some shade plants. We've also had a plan of adding lattice around the deck to hide the ugly of underneath and to keep the dog from going under there and getting wonderfully muddy.

First step was removal. Showed above there. We put all the rocks in bags for now, not really sure what we'll do with those... pulled up the old weed fabric stuff. Ripped out that last chunk of plastic edging and started digging. 

Here is Bill doing some digging and fitting in the bricks. It was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be. Note the snow boots...

More of a bird's eye view to see what's going on...

We fit in the bricks all the way around and then put down the weed fabric. 

We staked down the fabric, pulled the bricks out and tucked the fabric under the bricks to hold it down and to help prevent dirt from getting in and aiding in the growth of pesky weeds.

The final two steps of the day were to cut the brick that would fit up against the house and fill it with the wood chips. I had only purchased one back of wood chips because I didn't think we would need that much, so of course we didn't. We also didn't have a chisel to help cut the brick, so we had to make a second trip to Menards. After some magical first time brick cutting and 1.5 more bags of wood chips, we now have this...

It was a lot easier than we thought it would be. This happened to be one of the most enjoyable house projects so far... It didn't have to get done NOW, it was easy to fix mistakes, and we got to enjoy the wonderful spring weather that we've been anxiously awaiting. 

Now the plan is to do something similar with the other side of the steps because grass has a hard time growing there and then eventually switch out the ugly, mismatched edging on the other sides of the house. Also thrown in will be the lattice, some planting, and something with the not so awesomeness of the stairs and those weird brick things under them and maybe even pavers instead of that cement some day!

As you can see, planning on the other side of the steps has already begun...

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