Patio (Part 2)

  About halfway through, the Patio Project is another project started late in the summer with intention of being a single pager, two month project. Instead it is a two pager, six month project. Not unlike the Front Rock Wall, I may not finish on schedule (Sep 2010). Given its October when Part 2 starts, I expect I'm a bit behind. To catch up on Part 1, click on Patio Part 1 or skip ahead to see the finishing touches in Patio Part 3.

  Click for a Larger Image Here's where we left off - September 4. This work was simply more screeding and rock laying. Tomorrow I hope to finish laying slate out on the screeded main patio and then build the first layer of rock border in front.

  A day later. Most of the slate is laid (the easy part) and the base of the sidewalk wall is down and concreted in. Concrete is like home-made rocks, but with exact fit. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Progress as of September 6. This is same view as one in the Courtyard Drain System page, last year. It shows that we have affected the space. In fact, we have affected Space by moving so much rock weight here, that the Earth rotates differently as a result in the shift of gravitational density.

  September 18th. The rock saw. Its a wet saw cause it takes water in that plastic tray and shoots it at the blade in the green thing. It only works after I take it apart and reconnect the hose to the blade nozzle so it stops shooting water directly on the operator instead of the blade. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image The edges of the patio after I finish with the day and half rental of the saw. Note the nice new green wheelbarrow (so I can have gravel in one and dirt in another. Or concrete in one and mortar in the other. Or dirt mixing for plants in one and me using the other). Note all the work left to do on the border walls.

  Another week later, September 26. This shows the progess on the sidewalk wall (to right), the triangle border (in foreground), and the house wall (to left). Also made some progress on half the fence wall (in background). Still have to get the slate for the patio walks through the fence and leading to the sidewalk Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Here we are in October (10/2). The triangle border rocks are mortared and the house wall is started (concreted). Note the authentic Roman fountain pond (upside down plastic thing at top of picture). This will have the authentic Roman column section fountain in it (the Chinese mill wheel further to the top).

  A closer look at the roman fountain upside down. I did a lot of reengineering of this spot from its orginal layout (see Part 1). This version simply has rocks laying around the edge instead of continuing the garage wall behind and paving the area around the authentic fountain. Not only is this design a bit less intrusive, it is less permanent (should we hate it) and way less work. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image October 17. We've turned our attention to more layers on the west side (pointy side, next to the house). The adjacent south side is just mangled rock randomization.

  October 24. Its slow going along the west side. Seems I didn't make the foundation perimetering the slate wide enough back in Part 1. Somehow, we have to fit at least two rows of nine inch average wide rocks in a space about 14". Its a puzzle. The clear lane to the right of the wall is where I'll put the top layer while mudding the bottoms. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image When I finished the north side over by the water feature, I kind of lost track of what rocks went where, when I took them off. So I took pictures so I could reconstruct. Note the channel on the left for drainage. Its industrial strength drainage compared to the little pipes just visibile under the drain channel.

  Wide shot of the west side under construction. This picture shows the east side mostly complete. Only have the north east corner (bottom right) to finish. Then, I have to backfill (which I am dreading since I have to get the Dump Truck started, probably $1500 - $2000). Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Detail of the north east corner. See the loose rocks? I haven't done final selection. Also notice the finished north east wall - closest to us. Probably the nicest external vertical face. No problem - I plan to cover it with gravel as I backfill the water tank.

  October 30. I have sunken the water pool a few inches into its final place - that's so I can get rid of the pile of stone dust in the drive way before winter. Note I've set my pallet of stones (not wood pallet - artistic pallet (maybe its pallette) on the patio so I can see them all. They get less muddy like this. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Final top row of stones on the west wall. Did this today as Ma and Junior were at the Rally for Sanity (the John Stewart thing). Went and got mortar so I could finish that layer and the underlayers for the south west and north west stub walls.

  One day after the Rally to Restore Santity. The west wall is glued down, leaving an open alley where the rocks had been readied for glue. The wall got wider and wider as it went up, making it much easier, though shaped in reverse. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image The northwest wall segment complete on November 6. Note the drain. It's kind of flat so water may drain onto the patio instead of the other way around. Its also a little higher than it should be by eye, but level with the northeast section. This gives little kids a place to sit.

  Home stretch on November 7, the day the walls were done! This is the point of the patio - the southwest wall. Its all laid out and mostly glued. Note the glue in the wheeled mortar carier. Also, note the nice rubber gloves that let me grab dimes from the floor and keep my hands supple and soft while working with mortar. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image November 14 a week later. Once all the walls are done, the rest of the work goes fast. Here you see completed walkways, all slated in and cut. The gate also has a little cut so the pipe that holds the gate lock will fit. What's more I've already started on dry stacking the rocks around the pool.

  Closer view of the three foot walkway leading to the Front Walks. Here you can see the gate spike going into the hole in the slate. There's also the green wheel barrow which moves stone dust. It goes into the dry stacked pool cavity around the plastic pool. If it was green and blue with fishes on it, the little kids sitting on the high wall could play in it. But its not. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image On the other side is the four foot walk to the garage walkway. This pattern is different from 1) the one I made using some of the left over pieces and 2) the pattern that the slate people provided, since I had to use a 12x18 in the walkway above. So I made this pattern myself.

  November 20: The Dump Truck, back from its most recent repair, is back on the job. Here it offloads its first of two 10,000lb loads into an excavated section. This excavation removed dirt that had been backhoe trodden, gravel dumped, pallet rested, and concrete waste mixed. That dirt had to go, so it went on the dump truck, down to the fill area and was replaced with this nice, rich brown soil. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Two and one half loads of fill. I figure there's about 20,000lbs of moist dirt here (two loads). See the rock dust on the edge of the rock walls? That dust replaces the boards that held the gravel from the fill while we built up the patio.

  Fill is complete. In fact, today, November 21, the patio is complete. We even have the grill and the painted red table on the patio. And look - its Buster the dog. He likes to sleep on the cold slate or the warm dirt. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image The view of the little pool with fill around it. In the Spring, there will be another layer of rocks over the lip of the pool so you can't tell its plastic. Lucky its not green and blue with yellow fishes on it - it would be a dead giveaway! In the background is the Dump Truck, the Earthforce EF-3, and the G-Cart.

  View from the east looking northwest. This is uphill. The near end of the patio is sunken into the fill, excentuating its skilled creator's ability to sense the level on a hill. You can also see the big rock and the drain that made this all possible. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image View looking south. Here you can see the relative juxtaposition of the various wall heights relative to the patio surface. You can also see Buster and the equipment. You can also see the Pergola and Circle that was the first Earthforce EF-3 project.

  For those of you who want to have audio accompaniment and don't to wear your mouse roller, arrow keys, or fingers, here is a YouTube version of the patio saga, from beginning to end.

  To catch up on Part 1, click below:

Patio Part 1