The weekend of our Depave, Josh and I took the Friday before off and worked to pre-cut the concrete, prepare the house and ready our yards for the work. Everyone showed up on a chilly Saturday and we spent the first part of the morning explaining how and why we depave. We were the experts, we then gave everyone a trial on the concrete saw. It was about this time that we started realizing the concrete was thicker then we thought.
We had assumed for about 2-3 inches thick, which is standard for non-structural walkways and driveways. It turned out our concrete had not been poured on an even surface. They poured the concrete unevenly onto rock. In some areas it was 6 inches thick. It was rough. We had to rent a jack hammer and our volunteers diligently worked with pry bars, jack hammers, and sledge hammers to remove the concrete. In many ways it looked less like a workshop and more like a chain gang. We had 30 people working their butts off and we were making progress at a back breaking snail's pace.
The good news, everyone was amazing! Hard working and determined to at least get our driveway strip completed before the end of the day. When they left we were had only removed about 250 sqft of the 1500 sqft we had planned. But the bigger issue was that the slabs of concrete did not come out as slabs. Since we used the jack hammer and sledgehammers, we had made rubble. Josh and I had originally planned to use the nicely cut concrete slabs as stepping stones, we had no use for the rubble. So in the short term we dumped all the concrete on our patio and ordered up a dumpster for us to recycle it. Here is a great picture of our rubble pile at night from the kitchen. We joked our back yard now had a 'derelict" look to it, a la Zoolander. Nothing like turning your backyard into a third world war zone to really spruce up your curb appeal.
On Sunday, we decided to divide and conquer. Josh continued to jack hammer the strip and areas along our patio, while my neighbor Mary and I came out and dug out the drive way strip. We added new soil, planted our ground cover and installed a pea gravel top. I felt a little better by the end of the day. But we had only done about 1/8th of the work we had hoped to achieve. This was the first real 'what were we thinking' project and we knew we had about 4 weekends worth of work to go. Gulp.