It’s been an absolutely beautiful weekend here, after a dry but slightly chilly end of week; all of that was much appreciated, however, after the rain from last weekend prompted some jostling of plans. (We had been intending to pour the concrete footings for the deck extension last weekend, but the rain (which was much needed and therefore will be spared the full force of my wrath *smile*) delayed that.)
Note: I’m beat, so this post may be lacking in poetic phrasing and.. yeah, all that. While the tone may not convey it, I’m rather terribly excited and happy with everything we’ve accomplished! Since this one has lots of pictures, I’ll throw a jump in here for those using a feed reader.
Dad came down Tuesday morning to start digging for the footings, at which time he confirmed once again that my back yard is made of Hate(tm). Dad sunk two approximately 10-inch diameter holes into solid clay, a feat for which I’m eternally grateful (both that it’s done and that I wasn’t the one doing the digging!). He also discovered that the people who installed the rather fort-like fence around half of the back yard were a little.. overzealous. The uprights are a full 12-feet and have some sort of cross bracing secured to the bottoms.. we ended up cutting the one by the new deck footing below the ground and burying it since we couldn’t get it out.
Wednesday we poured concrete and Thursday and Friday, dad began removing the pieces of fencing and other bits that weren’t in the new plans for the deck:
For point of comparison, here’s a photo of the back patio from when I bought the house:
In case it’s not immediately obvious, yes there was a six foot tall fence around two sides of the 8×8 “deck” out the back door. Dad removed the fencing from the frong (which is where we’ll be extending the deck – another 8×8 foot section) and dropped the fencing on the neighbors side so that it’s about hip-height when standing on the deck now.
While the deck is the main event this week, it’s in danger of being upstaged by what I think is the most visibly impressive of the changes so far, especially compared to the photo above, (and the one that makes me sigh great big deep sighs of satisfaction and contentment). Behold the pergola:
With some help from a good friend Friday afternoon, we set up the pieces of the pergola that dad had pre-cut like Lincoln Logs in about 2 hours. It is, quite simply, gorgeous and a truly lovely addition to the patio. Even though it’s very open, it breaks up the sun throughout the day and makes what used to be an uninviting concrete slab a rather comfortable and beautiful gathering space. The photo below is the sky taken Friday evening from one of the Adirondack chairs on the patio; the last set of braces was not yet in place, but the pergola was functionally complete (and lovely).
Saturday dawned bright and beautiful, if a little chilly in the wind during the morning. It was a perfect day, however, to make lots of progress without it being too hot. We spent the morning and early afternoon moving the stairs on the deck to their new home:
And taking delivery of 7 cubic yards of pulverized black dirt:
.. which is destined to raise the level of soil in the raised garden beds. I’d spent the last couple of weeks clearing them of the deadfall from last year (during which they were rather terribly neglected), and the last part of this past week weeding and tilling them in preparation for the new soil:
I worked on cutting a new garden bed in the back yard, while dad finished the last bits of bracing on the pergola in the late afternoon. We rounded out the day with a trip to pick up the lumber for the deck, with hopes of finding some additional bits for the garden.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find most of the bits for the garden, so we ran around some again this morning and picked up bird seed for the feeders as well as a lovely geranium and some snap dragons for the front yard:
I think they go rather well with the phlox, vinca and daffodils that are already blooming and should add a nice splash of color throughout the summer.
Dad spent the afternoon tilling some sand into the new bed I cut in the back yard:
.. which is now all ready for the strawberries and asparagus to arrive (hopefully this week). I’m going to pause for a moment here to reiterate that the back yard is made of Hate(tm), so the tilling was quite a job. But knowing that there’s about 8-10 square feet less of the grass that eats things that I’ll have to mow made cutting the sod by hand worth it! Dad also tilled sand into the side bed by the patio:
.. where I plan to eventually plant wine grapes that will vine up over the pergola. For now, though, I have four hanging planters at the corners of the pergola that have moonflower planted in them as of tonight:
I found it somewhat fitting to cap the evening by watching the moon rise up through the pergola while sitting on the deck steps. *smile*