Friday, August 28, 2015

I have a new sidewalk!

I guess when I started this blog 4 years ago, I never expected to title one of my posts with this!  HA!

Thanks for following along.  I hope I'm not boring you with too many pictures of my yard.  I'm kind of in love with it though, and maybe it will help someone who is thinking of taking something like this on in the future.

When we decided to move forward with the project, I was scouring Google Images and Pinterest for ideas.  (Again, I say WHAT did we do before the internet?!?)  I came across some pictures of some built in flower planters that I really liked, and they were something like this:

But I like mine much better.  My builder is awesome.  I showed him some pictures of what I liked, but explained exactly what I was looking for.  I might have gotten a bit of a side-eye look from him since it wasn't something he'd ever done before, but I told him I trusted him to make something that looked good.  Turns out he's going to be sending people over to look at them once everything is done, because we are both so happy with how they turned out.  I'll be able to change out the plants in them every year, something I'm really looking forward to!  I think there will be four or five of these on the deck.  There are still a few details we are working out with them.

Moving right along to the next piece of this puzzle - Brick pavers!  Delivery day is always very exciting.

Now, having a hubs that works in this industry, I know he has some strong opinions on picking out materials, and frankly, I would have been 100% overwhelmed if I had walked into his office and looked at a wall of 100 choices.  I left this selection completely up to him.

It's quite the scientific process they have for getting them squared and leveled!  Do not skimp on your landscapers!  Pick one that knows what they are doing.  You will not regret it.  

This wouldn't look NEARLY as awesome if we had tried to do this ourselves.  

Also?  Moving boulders this big by yourself?  No thank you.

Boulders, and pavers, and dirt.  Oh my!

I have to admit, I wasn't too keen on the idea of all of these boulders.  They are kind of expensive, and I didn't really think we needed them.  

They kept taking them off the truck and putting them in my driveway.  More and more and more of them.  I kept seeing dollar signs floating around when they'd leave another one.  They lined both sides of my driveway!

But I should know that these guys are the professionals, and I know they will make it look awesome.  They are not going to live along the sides of my driveway forever, but will surround the side of the deck eventually.

For right now, I'm going to walk on my sidewalk a bunch of times because it's so pretty, and try to keep all of this dirt out of the inside of my house.

The weekend is supposed to be gorgeous, so I plan to get my comfy chairs out on my new deck, and enjoy some coffee, and probably some wine.  Tonight we will go watch the varsity football game, and Andy will play in the JV game on Monday night.  I love warm weather for watching some good fall football!  I still feel it's a little too early for this though, which I snapped the other day on my walk.  Yikes!

More updates to come next week!  Stay tuned!



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Framing and Floor Boards!

The next part of this long process really was exciting, as things started to take shape nicely.

The framing was put up pretty much in one day, and it was nice to be able to see the size in real life, not just in my head anymore.

I think it was about 95 degrees outside when these poor guys were working on this.  I was worried about them overheating, but they assured me they were fine.

When the framing was complete, we were ready for:

Decking materials to be delivered!

I'm sure the neighbors have loved all of the heavy machinery on the street.  Well, it will be worth it in the end, my friends!  

We chose a nice shade of AZEK Decking, which is a composite, maintenance free material that will not have to be painted or stained year after year.  This was one of my biggest pet peeves about the old deck - it was a big job that should have probably been done every year to make it look decent, but one that we certainly didn't keep up on.  This will only need a power washing every now and then.  Much less work than painting and staining, which fits into my lifestyle muuuuuuch better.

The texture and colors on it are really nice, and I think makes it look more like wood than plastic.

Coming along nicely!

It's finally big enough to sit on!  I've been waiting SO long for this!

Dinner and drinks on the new deck (though not close to being finished) was approved by all.  See Sami?  This is why we've been having all these strangers walking around the house so often.  They aren't just there to torment you and make you bark.  They really are doing great!

Next up, flower planters and some more landscaping!  Such an exciting time!



Saturday, August 22, 2015

Deck update #2

Continuing on from the last post...

The yard sat untouched for another very long time.  (are you sensing the theme here?)

Then one day, apparently I had nagged enough and all of the right phone calls had been made.  I believe I was in the kitchen when I heard, "ohhhh emmmm jeeeeee.  omg.  OMG!" come from a certain teenage daughter who was sitting on the couch.  This is what she saw out the front window:

The day had finally arrived, and the people had finally arrived.  Work was really really going to start happening to rebuild my deck.  

I was sort of in shock, and needed to take lots of pictures to make sure I wasn't just dreaming it.

Since the old footings were basically little pieces of wood tapped into the ground a few inches and not secured with anything, we decided to go full out and do everything the right way.  The system we used for the footings this time are called helical piles.  They are basically a huge screw that gets screwed right into the ground.  No digging, no pouring cement around them, and they are probably 10 feet long.  I don't think these suckers are budging.

They had a special attachment on the arm of the bobcat that hooked right on to the end of the helical pile and they screwed them right in!

All the way down to about a foot or two sticking out of the ground for the deck to attach to.

Once the footings were in place, our favorite landscapers, ZR Ziemski Landscaping (Zach, you need a website for me to link to!) came back to do some more prep work. 

They tore out all of my old shrubs that were 20 years old, overgrown, and not really taken care of as they should have been.  I was a little sad to lose my flowering crab apple tree, but it was necessary for the plans we have brewing.

I love seeing all these people working on making my yard look pretty again!

They also routed some downspouts and added some underground drains that will keep the water away from the house and my new landscaping.

Out with the old, in with the new (someday!)

They prepped the new deck spot with good weed barrier (nothin' worse than weeds growing up through your deck, amiright???) and a huge load of rocks so it's nice and pretty.

Hooray for progress!

Ahh, just looks so clean, doesn't it?  Well, I mean if you look past all the dirt.  I just love having all of the weeds out of there, and having it ready for the next steps!

Progress, people! 

More to come...



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

There is nothing fast about getting a new deck.

I don't know if you remember way back to THIS post about the water troubles I had in my yard, but it was not a happy time on the Hooper homestead.  Water is good for you to drink, it is fun to swim in, and it keeps us clean, but it is not good when it saturates your clay filled yard, seeps into your basement, and makes your deck heave.

We were able to waterproof the basement back then (you probably shouldn't look at the date to see just how long ago it was), but unfortunately the funds were not there to fix the deck, which had heaved so much that the hot tub had become unusable.  Also, when they had to dig up the ground around the house, they had to cut out part of the deck so they could get to the house.  So my deck was left to look like this after the project was done:

So the deck looked like this for a long, long time.  I decided it was cruel to make the neighbors look at it like that for another year, so we pulled it down.  Demo is fun, but still a lot of work.

My boys like using power tools, I think.

Maybe we just waited so long to pull it down until Andy was strong enough to help with hauling the wood away?  Sure, I'll go with that story.

It sure looked different from inside the kitchen without that big wall up!

Almost all down!  It was a big project to get it all down and taken away, but we did it.

Then our favorite landscapers came and knocked the posts out for us, which were way shorter than we were told they were, and filled in with some dirt to prep for the new deck to come!

And this is how it sat for a very, very long time.  Sorry neighbors, but it's better than looking at the old, falling down deck, right?

I am happy to report that big things are finally happening on this very spot right now, so I finally feel like it's time to blog about it, so you didn't have to wait years for an update.  Stay tuned, friends!