It started a week ago. Last Wednesday, after work, Tony took a sledgehammer to our ~40 year old deck, tearing most of the structure apart. The next day we ripped apart the remaining timbers, leaving only the 4×4 support posts, buried in concrete. We took Friday off, and then things got serious on Saturday.
Tony hacked up the defunct deck (though, arguably it had been defunct for quite some time) with an ax, while I excavated the new patio surface, with super professional tools: a shovel and two sleds. Yep. Sleds. Six hours of constant work later, and we were ready to welcome my parents, happy that they would not have to help with that part of the process.
It didn’t take long for the four of us to get to work. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we tried, we could not pry the posts out – even after we hammered at least a foot of exposed concrete off the 4×4′s. A trip to our neighbors’ and some bartering later, and the posts were wrenched forth from the earth. (Thanks again, Gary and Jill! Grill out at our place as soon as your schedule affords you the time!)
Sunday we leveled everything (approximately), Dad and Tony (mostly) built the new stairs, and Mom and I built my new raised beds. I’m sure we did more, because we worked for about twelve hours, but the details have escaped me.
At some point, we changed our mind one more time on the design, and so Mom and I drove to Traverse City at 8:30 Monday morning to the concrete place. Edgers chosen and added to the order, we headed back home and prepared for the stones to arrive. At 2:00 pm, Concrete Services Inc. delivered one box (one cubic yard) of large-ish gravel, two boxes of 1/4-inch scree, one box of pea gravel, two tons of flagstone steppers, one ton of large flagstones, and half a ton of seamface (edgers).
We spread the large gravel in about 10 minutes. About an hour after delivery, we had spread the 1/4-inch scree, and placed most of the edgers. By 6:30 pm, we had placed all the flagstones within the patio. We rounded out the evening by spreading the extra box of scree on the driveway (we didn’t intend for it to be extra), and by cleaning up some.
Yesterday we made another trip to TC to move forward with another project we had been contemplating, but didn’t want to afford. Turns out, we had most of the materials for the future-firepit within the extras from the patio. We worked diligently, but couldn’t quite finish things off before quitting time.
This morning, Tony and I started back in on the firepit at about 8:00 am. After knocking that out – less one edger! – Mom and I planted my herb containers. Dad finished the buffet/wall that hides our ugly basement pipes.
It’s been a whirlwind week, and I have sweated more in the last seven days than any I can remember. I am sure that I have shortchanged everyone involved in this renovation, and I am also sure that I cannot say thank you enough to my parents for their labors (and love!). I am beyond happy with the way it’s turned out. We still have a lamp and post to install, and we’ve got to paint the basement door, but those projects are easy in comparison.
If you’ve made it this far, here are the pictures. I’ve posted a thumbnail gallery, so I recommend opening the first one and clicking through to see the progress. Mission accomplished! And also