September 28, 2011

The Patio: Finished

Here are just the few remaining pictures of the finished patio I’ve been telling you about over the last week.

The concrete is dry. The drain in front of the garage door appears to work (which is great since we’ve had lots of rain this week). The grill is in place (and chained down). And we love the curves along the edge of the patio by the grass (well, mostly dirt, but soon-to-be-grass).

So, what’s next? Oh, so much!  Here are just a few items to tackle…

And the good news is that we’ve actually gotten started on 3 of the items already! 

  1. The pile of junk has been relocated to either behind the garage or the other side of the porch (for now).
  2. The whole grassy area beside the patio and porch has been dug up, re-graded, and re-seeded to match the level of the patio.
  3. Joey is in the process of building new cedar steps over the concrete ones.

Deets and pics to come!

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September 26, 2011

The Patio: Pouring Concrete

Today I get to give you yet another update of our patio-in-progress. For me, pouring the concrete was the most interesting part of the process. I was zero help to everyone (except when it came to taking pictures), but friends, family, and even our neighbors pitched in to make the manual labor lighter.

The cement truck arrived around 8am on this particular Saturday (nothing like waking up bright and early on the weekend). I'm so thankful for this truck. Hand mixing bags of cement and water would be no fun for anyone, and it would take 10 times longer. So, thank you, Mr. Cement man, for bringing us pre-mixed cement.

The chute started at the back and worked the cement toward the front. Most of the guys had big rubber boots on so that they could sludge through the cement and spread it around.

The chute moved from side to side to keep things even. Just a little at a time was needed.

This little tool below was rented at a local hardware store. They called it the "jitterbug" (aka concrete tamper). You push/shake it down on the wet concrete and it helps push the rocky part of the concrete toward the bottom and allow the creamy, smooth part of the concrete to work its way to the top. Interesting device, huh?!

As we went along, the men worked a long 2X4 board - cut exactly to the width of the patio - along the forms on the side to help level out the concrete so that we had an even surface. This pushed extra concrete to the front to fill in the next section.

Then the truck would pour more cement, and we'd go through the same process again...

... until eventually the whole area was filled with cement. At this point, the forms that were set up around the edges of the patio were taken out and the smoothing process began.

This was done using a tool called a "boat float" (where do they come up with these names?). It had attachable handles to make it as long as you needed it to be.

Remember the drain Joey installed in front of the garage door? He put tape over the drain to protect it and then scraped the concrete off the top. The tape was removed later.

Joey also decided he wanted to chain our grill to the ground (ain't nobody takin' no nothing from us). So, he walked on the smooth surface to put some eye-bolts into the fresh concrete. Amazing how within just a few minutes of time, you can almost walk on the concrete without sinking in. This stuff forms fast.

He did leave a few footprints behind that had to be smoothed out by the boat float again.

A concrete edger was used along the edges (duh) of the patio to give them a finished and slanted look. This will help rain water run of the edges and leave a clean break between the patio and the driveway/yard/garage.

The final step was sweeping the top of the concrete. This will leave those little groove lines that help hide imperfections and provide traction when the patio gets wet. The broom had attachable handles in order for it to reach to the other side of the patio. I always wondered how the reached so far...

That completed our concrete pouring party. Total time? 4 hours. Not too bad I'd say.

Joey blocked the area off to be sure no one walked on the patio over the next 24 hours. He took the hose to wet the surface a couple times throughout the day. That prevents the top of the concrete from drying too quickly before the cement underneath dries.

Total cost of this project was about $600. We could have saved a little moolah by hand mixing the cement ourselves. But all the guys may have lost their minds in the process. And sometimes time is money (this would have taken much longer than 4 hours).

I have a few more pictures to come showing the dried, finished looking patio, along with a few other improvements we're making to this part of the yard. But what do you think of the patio so far? Harder than you thought it would be? Easier than you thought? Learn anything new? Pin It

September 21, 2011

The Patio: Shapes and Forms

Monday, I shared with you the process of destroying the wheelchair ramp and concrete walkway off the back porch of the house in order to make way for our new patio. Today, I want to show you the next step in the patio process.

However, I will warn you now, Joey did the majority of this work during a point in time when I was not home. Hence, there are very few pictures of the process - mostly just "after" pictures - but you're super smart. I'm sure you'll get the right idea...

So, with just dirt and the old concrete steps remaining, we had to decide exactly what shape this new patio would take so that Joey could set up boards (aka forms) around the perimeter to hold in the concrete.

We knew we wanted the patio to fill in the space between the porch and the garage, but the question was how far out to take it into the tiny back/side yard of the house? And how do we make it meet up with the driveway so that we can walk from the back porch to the driveway without cutting through the grass? And Do we want the sides nice and straight? Or kinda curvy?

Well, we went with kinda curvy along the grass line. Something like this below. It gives the patio a softer shape and should look more interesting in the end.

The rest of the patio is pretty square with it wrapping around between the porch and garage. The forms are taken out once the concrete is poured. So, Joey put them in place just to get the right shape. Then he filled in the area with gravel for a foundation. The gravel was delivered to the house in a big truck (I missed that part). Here's a nice action shot of Joey raking the gravel around (clearly my camera doesn't do "action" shots)...

Joey also decided to put a drain in front of the entrance to the garage - just to make sure rain water didn't pool in that area and leak under the door or something. Tubes coming out from the sides of the drain will just run under the concrete and into the yard. Free water system for our grass!

Once all the gravel was spread around, Joey laid out orange wire mesh over the whole surface. It came in a big roll and he just cut it to size and laid it down.

Below you can see some of the curvy-ness of the forms leading to the driveway along with wire mesh over the gravel...

Next up? Pouring concrete. This was the fun action part that I actually got to see in person (yeah, I was no help) and take pictures of the process (which I'm sure the men working greatly appreciated)! Stay tuned. Pin It

September 19, 2011

The Patio: Destruction First

One of those days turned into one of those weeks. Last week went from bad to worse and ended with me in bed all weekend due to a cold/sinus infection. Thankfully, the Lord has given us a brand new week. I'm feeling 90% better and work wasn't too bad today (for a Monday).

AND I may actually have some time/energy to put into the ol' blog this week. We have some catching up to do after being MIA for 7 days. This week we're getting down and dirty with a whole lotta patio-pouring info.

However, a story wouldn't be a story without a beginning. So, let's start at the beginning today, shall we?!

I'm bringing you back to June 2010 - when we bought the house. First thing to go? The wheelchair ramp off the porch in back of the house. I'm sure I blogged about it way back then.

With a little help from friends and family, Joey had the thing de-constructed and the wood stacked and ready for the dump within the first week we purchased the house.

What did that leave us with? A pile of dirt, weeds, and set of old concrete steps and a walkway to the garage/driveway. Not a pretty scene.

A year later, not much has changed. Joey did grind up the dirt and smooth it out to make it look a bit respectable, but knowing we eventually wanted to put in a patio, no other investment was made to the area for the past year (yes, you can feel sorry for our neighbors on the other side of the fence who got to look at dirt every day for a year).

Here's a little shot of the walkway going from the porch to the driveway. Pretty bad condition, right? I think it crumbled more and more every time we walked on it. The grass on the other side of it looks pretty bad too. The wheelchair ramp ended with some concrete and Joey removed that last year. A patch of dirt is what's leftover.

Here's another shot of the terrible looking area, including the sunken concrete steps and pile of wood and junk in the corner. What's good looking? Joey with a jackhammer - ready to tear it all up.

Joey rented the jackhammer about 2 weeks ago from the local hardware store for $30, and within 30 minutes, had all the concrete broken to pieces. He was pleased with its efficient display of power.

Joey then picked up all the chunks of concrete by hand (note: wear work gloves for this unless you want blisters) and hauled it to the dump. You can also see in the picture below how many weeds grew into the dirt area over the past year.

Joey did not bother removing the concrete steps. He left them alone for us to use for the time being. We have other plans on what to do with those (soon to come).

So, just like that (1 year and 3 months later), the destruction was completed, and it was time to get to work prepping the space for the new patio. More on that process tomorrow! Pin It

September 12, 2011

One Of Those Days

Welp, I was hoping to spend my evening typing up for you a nice little ditty of a post on our new patio that was poured this weekend, but I had one of those terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day type days. And my brain is so fuzzy that I don't even know that I could put 2 sentences together to explain to you all what took place on Saturday during the patio process (I don't even know if any of what I just said made sense). So, you can look forward to posts about the patio in the next few days.

In the meantime, feel free to stare at the beautiful roses my thoughtful husband bought for me today (*insert big grin*)...

...and I'll be leafing through my new Ballard Designs mag - which also arrived today...

...and dreaming up ways to implement the pretty designs in our house...

...and then I will be heading to bed early.

Thanks for your patience on the house-updates. Seriously, what would I do without you?! Pin It

September 8, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Football?

The NFL kicks off its 2011 season tonight, and may I just say that I'm super excited?! As you may know, I'm an extreme Packer fan, but I love professional football in general and would watch just about any game. And this year is my first year that I'm participating in a Fantasy Football league. So, I'm excited to be part of that bandwagon as well (*insert fist pump*).

Now Joey, being a Chicago Bears fan and all, doesn't truly appreciate my cheesehead spirit. Nor my purposely-selected green and gold outfits (I did wear a green sweater to work today). Nor my Packers memorabilia. But somehow, we manage to get along during the football season and make the best of our rivalry (although we sit on opposite sides of the room during head-to-head games). Anyhoo...

In honor of football, I thought it'd be fun to share with you a few rooms that are designed to reflect our Teams' colors without being man-cave-ish. I love rooms that are inspired by things we love (like sports), but do it in a nice and subtle way.

Green and Gold/Yellow:

Navy/Blue and Orange:

Which color scheme do you prefer?

As for tonight, GO PACK GO!

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