Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another Installment of What I Do When I'm Not Making Jewelry

At the beginning of the summer, I decided it would be a good idea to finish some of the long-overdue home projects that I had been planning for my house ever since I moved in five years ago. Menards offered zero-interest financing for those who applied for a store credit card so I figured now was my chance.

I wanted to put in a privacy fence and a patio so I spent quite a bit of time sketching out plans and measuring the backyard. I also made a couple trips to Menards, pricing out materials and scouring the flyers to spot any upcoming sales. Luckily, I was able to get some great deals and I had all of my supplies delivered to my house, which is really the only way to do it.

All of my supplies after they were delivered.

We immediately started on the fence and it was a doozy of a project. Digging post holes, mixing cement making sure the posts are level . . . it's enough to drive anyone insane. That said, we finished the project and it looks beautiful. My dad and boyfriend did the majority of the post-hole digging and cement pouring. I mixed my fair share though and did a lot of drilling, hammering and cutting pickets to size. We still haven't made the fence gates yet but the fence itself looks gorgeous! I'm so happy with it.

My boyfriend working on the fence.

After we finished the fence, the only supplies left in our supply area were the four tons of patio pavers and about ten bags of sand. After the grueling work on the fence, we didn't get started right away on the patio. We needed a break. After a while though, I felt like digging out the dirt and getting ready for the patio.
The patio area staked out and after digging down one level.

I staked the patio area and dug the entire space out in one day, I didn't realize there had been a heat advisory issued. Luckily, the next day was signifigantly cooler. I had to dig the entire area out again to get down to the six inch depth I needed for the rock and sand. After digging, I laid weed fabric and back filled the hole with gravel. I raked out the gravel until it was flat and then rolled a lead pipe over the gravel to compact it down. Finally, I filled one end of the hole with sand and used a board to level or screet the sand over 3/4 inch electrical conduit.

Luckily, I had help for the rest of the process. My dad and I carefully laid in the pavers one by one. We started at one end and then moved across the patio. By the third row, my dad had discovered a method for laying in the pavers evenly which made the process move a lot faster. That said, it was still back-breaking work and both of us ended up carrying about 4 tons of pavers that day from one end of the yard to the other. Yikes!

The completed patio, still in need of landscaping, but beautiful nonetheless.
When we finally laid in the last paver, my mom helped out by sweeping some paver-locking sand into the spaces between each paver. The sand really finished off the look of the patio and I was floored by how well it turned out. It still needs quite a bit of landscaping around it, but the patio itself is great! I plan to spend many mornings doing yoga on it and many afternoons and evenings grilling out on it. It was tough, but so worth it.

Close-up you can see the circle pattern I created on my patio.
Now, I'm hopefully done for a while with my home diy projects. I need to turn my focus largely back to jewelry as I have many shows coming up and I am working on finishing my new line. It's a good thing I like projects, because I tend to have about five in the works at any given time. It keeps life interesting though and I'm excited to work on creating things, whether they are for my business or for my home.