Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Cap, A Wall, An Arbor, A Path, and Back Pain

September 2012

To start off, I have explain that for about three months I did not take one picture of any of the work we did.  It was kind of like I blacked out.  Now I find that I only have pictures of our current progress which means there will be several entries and weeks of efforts shown in each picture.  They were also taken in wet, gray, sad Portland winter.  I apologize and promise to never do this again.

Since Josh had worked hard for weeks putting up the beds, I took on filling the beds with dirt-oooo so much dirt. I think it was about 3-4 yards of topsoil even with the 2 yards of native soil we already had on site. I put the first two yards in, then promptly hurt my back and actually had to ask Josh to finish up for me.  Fail.

While this was going on we had to tackle the area between the porch and the garage.  We needed to put up a fence to keep the dog in the back yard. At first we had designed a nice open railed fence to connect from the end of the raised bed to the garage.  However, we soon realized that this would mean anytime we mowed our lawn we would have to take the mower through the porch to get to the backyard.  Which was not going to work with our outdoor cozy room feeling.  I searched around and then my parents bought us an arbor/gate from Plow and Hearth for my birthday.  Yay!

Do I think we could have built an arbor/gate? Yes. Did I want to try and build one-- not really.  I put the arbor together- not so bad.  And we set it tight to garage giving us a kind of hidden path/entry into the backyard.  Our favorite cedar tree lent a secret garden air.  I liked it.  However, we now had about 3 feet from the raised bed to the arbor.  It seemed silly to design and make a fence that would only be 3 feet long.  We instead decided to build a wall, similar to the raised bed to wrap around the tree and connect to the arbor.  It's pretty formidable but would look a little less chaotic. Josh was now an expert and quickly built this and started working on the cap while I started brainstorming our path ideas. 

We had kept out some of the best concrete pieces from our depave to use as pavers.  I thought we should build a little path from the arbor out to the yard, then use the same pathway to connect the porch doors to the driveway, and then another pathway from the porch to the garage.  I am pretty honest about the fact that I am average at a lot of things.  I am a solid B at a variety of hobbies, tasks, mental capabilities.  There is one real thing I excel at: puzzles.  Honestly, tetris is my jam.  So I spent two whole days arranging the pavers (concrete chunks) to: fit close together, use a variety of sizes, keep straight edges were we needed them (along the driveway, the fence line, and the garage) and allow organic edges where it was not required.  It had to look thoughtful and at the same time random. It was on.  This is, of course, where I hurt my back.  Lifting, at times 60 lbs concrete pieces over and over again was a recipe for pain.  After I laid out the pieces they stayed that way for a few weeks before I could muster up the courage to mortar them in.

The good news was it was laid out and Josh had finished the cap, wall, and even built the half wall to close in the small area up against the house.  The space was really starting to look finished.