Friday, September 4, 2009

Serious LABOUR Days

The spouse decided since I was on vacation this weekend, it would be a good time to tackle the patio project in the back yard. Obviously our ideas of "vacation" differ.

Previous owners of this home had laid pieces of slate in various locations around the yard, with no apparent reason. We have been diligently digging them all up for the past two years and have amassed quite a pile.

The area we have been using as a "recreational" spot needed something other then dirt so I came up with the brilliant idea of putting all the slate there as a 15 x 15 foot flagstone patio. I don't think my brilliant idea included me actually doing all the labour.

We also have a nasty dip in the backyard that needs some serious fill in an attempt to try to level it. I fear the pitch of the slope is so bad we will never actually get it level, but we could lose the gully. In order to do this the steps leading up to the backyard have to be raised another 7 inches. Here I am starting the excavation around the step so I can add a riser and then back fill the whole thing with the dirt that has to be removed from the patio area.

Our driveway now contains a pile consisting of 2.5 yards of 3/4 stone, which will be the bed for the patio, and a pile of 2 yards of sand which will go on top of the gravel, then the flagstone on top of that with masonry sand between the grooves.

So the plan looks like this: remove the dirt from the patio area to a depth of 5 inches. Level and tamp the area with a slope of 1/4 inch per foot. Put a vertical 2x6 pressure treated wood border around the area. Load in the gravel to a depth of 3 inches for drainage. Tamp and level the 3/4 gravel with a stone dust mix. Cover the gravel with 2 inches of sand. Tamp and level that, the whole time keeping the proper slope. Set the flagstones in the sand ONE BY ONE until the area is filled. Tamp this lightly to level, then fill the crevices with masonry sand, moisten with a hose and one last tamping to set everything in place.

Oh and I also have to tamp the dirt I put into the gully to pack it down so it doesn't wash away and add a two pieces of slab, each 2 inches thick and 3 feet long by 1 foot wide to the top of the steps for the new landing.

We have rented a 18" vibrating tamper for the weekend. We also HOPE to have use of a skid steer to move the sand and gravel from the driveway AROUND the house to the back yard. If not, my poor old wheel barrow is in for a rough weekend. All the rest of the work gets done by the always ready helper - Manual Labour.

Oh wait... that's MY name in Spanish. Wish me luck.

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