Friday, August 5, 2016

Digging out the patio

Hey there,

It’s been too long since I’ve really shared much at all.
I’ve been changing tons of stuff in the house decor. And Blake’s been changing all sorts of stuff outside!
You are over-due for an update. 

Today I’m just gonna show you the back yard and talk to you about what we are doing.

But since I feel like I’ve been lacking in contact with you --I actually went all out... and added a little video tour! You get to hear me ramble to you, while I walk you around our yard. Sweet!

So let’s review first. Here’s the best photos I have of our back yard “before”s -- I didn’t really stop to think about how we’d need before photos out there, so they aren’t like great visual aids, but they help. Unfortunately I don’t have any befores from the back of the yard just looking towards the house.  So I’ll try to piece what I have together so you get the idea.

This is the family room window. And when craning to look left you can see the sunroom.

The family room is on the ground level. The sunroom is up a set on a foundation. So there was an awkward step up from a sidewalk onto the deck when exiting the family room. It felt like a tripping hazard. And the sidewalk collected yard debris easily, from the wind blowing it into the valley that it was.

The deck made a straight cut around a LARGE locust tree. (It was dying and we had it removed for safety reasons.)
But the deck angled out harshly from the sunroom. It was a strange feeling layout. Jarring to the eye. But I can see what they were doing. And based on the breaker box, I think there was a hot tub on the non-angled area back in the day -- which would have felt like there was more flow and logic.
tree gone!

These bushes used to be right next to those white chairs (you can see their stumps if you look) and it severed the ablity to walk into the back yard from the side entrance. Not sure what that was about. 

Here is looking from the sunroom towards the family room.

And the deck’s angle-out from the sunroom

Here’s a few random family photos (and a selfie), that are about two years old, with the deck in it.

The yard was crazy over-grown. I think at one point it was very nicely landscaped. But I think over the years it saw little to no care.

So we had to chop down a LOT of stuff.

Last Fall Blake pulled up our deck.

You may have picked up that we were not into it at all. AND we needed to address drainage issues for the yard which affect the family room. So there was no saving it.
Putting the family room on the ground level was not great planning, and when it rains too much, water seeps right under it’s door crack.

So after a lot of thinking, talking to different people and planning we (well mostly Blake, because this stuff doesn’t click with me) came up with a plan.
We decided to have a sunken patio with a sump pump placed in the bottom. This way there is a place to collect the water (that is not our family room) and a pump to take it away from our family room.
As well as we decided to re-grade the yard. The ground wasn’t correctly angled. Yards are intended to let rain water flow towards the property lines, and then to the street. Our yard was aiming the water at --- you guessed it -- our family room.
So while we were digging out the patio, we also just went at most the yard as well to correct that.

So here are the videos where I walk you around. This one is after the deck is gone, but before we do the digging. (I don’t really remember all that I said here. Hopefully it’s not too random and confusing.)
And here is what it looked like after the excavator.

If you don’t really want to/ can't watch the video, here are a few photos.

So here’s the yard after the deck and tree, before the digging:

 Our stunning view we’ve had for some time now. :) It’s exactly like living directly off the ocean -- vacation views 24/7 over here. ;)
And our side yard that started out a weed infested area used to house rotting fireplace wood.
 Then the excavator came -- he was great fun to watch.

And now our view looks like this:
Which I gotta be honest, really does feel much more serene than it used to. It’s just nice to see progress and less chaos -- at least the weeds are currently at bay.

But anyway you can see the deeper rectangle part -- that will be the sunken portion.

You can’t tell in the photos, but in there is a something of a half circle area from under the sunroom door over to the brick wall. That will be an oversized “step”/ level which will be how we transition the heigh difference there.

 But yeah, so now the yard drains the right directions.
 And the side yard has also been scrapped down to drain more appropriately as well. (Blake did that part for us! Yay Blake!)

And we are currently----here:
 I cannot explain it -- I will not try. I’ve left everything in Blake’s capable hands. And I’ve picked out the patio pavers. :)
The above pavers will be the ground level.
The lower picture is how we plan to do the retaining wall areas.

(At least that’s what we’ve got going in our minds thus far) I just really wanted a classic traditional brick look since the house has brick.
We are leaning towards the brick color “autumn mix” instead of the bold red -- our house is red brick -- but not RED brick -- so I think this is a better route. I think the red-red might wind up looking like the family room fireplace red I had to white wash.

Anyway, I’m thinking I’d like it laid in a herring bone pattern.

Maybe an extra thick rectangle border in the sunken part, sorta like this?
Pretend the white floor center part above is herring bone, and you’ll get it better.

As for the sunken part, we are planning built in benches -- not in this style at all -- but the layout concept.

You can see my pinterest random attacks at brainstorming here.

Blake thinks that’s do-able. And I’m doing my best to just trust him. But I do keep panicking. For some reason this patio has me very apprehensive -- I don’t know how to do outdoor things -- inside I’m set -- but outside I’m overwhelmed by inexperience. I’m just hoping I can pull off a good design scheme -- and that it’s one we can actually tackle.

There are a lot of steps left. 
Some landscape fabric, some backfill, some road pack, some sand, some retaining walls, the brick laying, some steps into the sunken part…I have no idea when we will get done. Before it’s too cold is the deadline….

(So you may have guessed we’ve not really addressed the rest of the sunroom right now. This took precedence because it’s actually structural integrity stuff -- keeping the family room from flooding. So once this is done we can go back the the sunroom ceiling and door and fans…)

Anyway -- as I can I’ll try to show you my interior fun as of late. But getting back into regular full time schooling is next up -- so who knows when I’ll get to what on here. Thanks for your love, patience and interest!


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