Getting Closer….

…but digging continues.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of where we were last time and where we are now with the digging:

 

I (Kristin) had a lot of fun playing with the images today so that I could really show you what we worked on this weekend.  Here’s an image that summarizes our efforts from this past weekend:

Digging area 1.  We concentrated in this area and managed to push back a long way (maybe 10 feet?).  The dirt was not nearly as rocky as some of the other areas and so it went relatively fast.  The back area is now “done” in that we can’t dig up the pathway up the hill since we still use it.  Our plan for that is to actually dig out a trench, install the retaining wall, then move the dirt from the path over the retaining wall. (Literally, throw it over the wall, since the wall will have to be built a little bit high anyway.)

Digging area 2.  We noticed a while back that this area was not rounded back into the hill enough.  We put off fixing it until this weekend, when we realized the time had come.  We were dreading it.  It is a deceptively significant amount of dirt – partially because it’s about 4 feet high and partially because it is so rocky (so. very. rocky.).  We got about half way through that section this weekend and hope to have a chance to finish it up next weekend.  Here’s hoping.

So what are our next steps?  More digging, of course!  Here’s a fun image on where we need to concentrate our efforts:

Even though it isn’t the perfect way to show you what our next steps are, we used this picture because we love it.  It’s a new angle that really shows you how much dirt we’ve moved this, dare we say it?, year.  That’s a LOT of dirt.

Anyway, our next steps:

  1. Finish rounding out the edge.  Did we mention it was rocky?  We’re looking forward to finishing it off, but not looking forward to actually doing the work.
  2. There is a low stone wall here, which creates a bottleneck behind the garage/greenhouse.  We’re going to widen that pathway by pulling out a small potion of the wall.  We’re hoping we can reuse the materials to create a wall around the air conditioner, which is currently located in the middle of the patio.  Don’t worry, we know we have to put a gate in or something so that we can access the unit.
  3. The pre-existing flagstone pathway behind the greenhouse is improperly graded (i.e. it funnels all of the water from the backyard into our porch, which might be partially to blame for our leak, discussed in more details here.  Our plan is to pull up the flagstone that’s there (we hope to reuse it) and flatten out this area to make sure all of the water coming off the hill is directed away from the house.
  4. Once all the digging is done, we are going to throw a party start staking the area and installing string to identify proper grading.  We’ll probbably have to do more digging at this point to level everything out.  You can see why we want to keep that path up the hill around as long as possible.
  5. Retaining wall!!!  We will dig (yes, dig more) a small trench along the edge of the patio and install a cement block retaining wall.  We want to use cement block because it’s the strongest option and, well, it’ll be holding up a mountain.  We don’t want it to look, well, terrible, so we’ll face the cement block wall with stone to make it look like the preexisting walls.  We want to make the whole area look like it’s been there forever.
  6. Our final step will be to install the flagstone across the whole patio.  Again, we want to stay true to the flagstone that is already there and make the patio look like it has been there as long as the other wall/patio.

Of course we’ll keep you updated on our step-by-step progress.  We still have a long way to go!

P.S.  We posted about a fun play “date” on our family blog today (here).  Make sure you check out the webpage or sign up for posts-by-email on our family page if you want to see pictures of our family activities.

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