Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Show & Tell: Outdoor Updates


We have two big outdoor projects we're working on finishing up before winter, a paver patio and fence. The fence goes in tomorrow (woohoo!), and we're slowly working on the paver patio when we have time.

Part of getting ready for those two big project was two little projects. We had that huge 1980's satellite dish in our backyard next to the future paver patio. With a little WD-40 and a breaker bar, I was able to get the screws to come off the metal pole. Once I had the screws off, we lifted the dish off with my father-in-law's tractor. The pole got the same treatment as the other satellite dish pole. Now we have two lamp posts that will light the way to the new paver patio. (Click here on my post on creating a DIY Solar Lamp Post)

The second project we used the tractor for was pulling out these huge poles at the front of the property. When we first moved in there was this set of poles that created a sort of entry. We needed to get the extra poles out before we put our fence in. We finally got them pulled and out and filled in.

The paver patio is pretty much a big hole right now. 

My daughter decided the future patio needed a fire pit. She made a circle of rocks and added some wood. 

I'm looking forward to sharing our awesome fence once we have it in!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

DIY Sunday: Personalized Backyard Swing

Good Day Mate!

Today's project is a pretty simple one. Our photographer posted that she was looking for someone to make her a swing. I couldn't get the task done fast enough for her purposes, but I thought it was a pretty fun idea. I have been working on my woodburning skills, and thought a wooden swing would be a fun way to practice.

Since this was a test run project, I didn't want to buy a bunch of supplies for it. I went through my scrap pile and found a small piece of solid wood paneling I had left over from my DIY desk project. (Click here for the project).

I looked for quotes about children and play. I found this one from Einstein. I love the idea that play and exploring the world is education at its finest. That's one of the of the reasons I love living in the country. Our entire family has spent less time watching tv since we moved out here. I freehanded this design, but I used transfer carbon paper on another woodburning project I did (See my instagram account for that project)

Once I did the wood burning, I stained the board. This was a learning lesson for me. I'll make sure I do a much lighter stain in the future so I don't completely cover the design I painstakingly burned. I finished the board with a couple coats of outdoor varnish. I also learned that instead of just one hole on each side of the board, I really should have done two holes so the swing would be more stable.

The swing is already a popular spot in our yard.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Show & Tell: New Rock Landscaping and Edging


We finished up our big summer project this past week. We have rock! Woot Woot! When we moved in, there was a ton of loose rock all the way around the house. I think it was in an attempt to do some landscaping when the house was put on the market. We thought about removing all the rock. After clearing it from a 5x5 section of the yard, we decided that job really sucked, and we didn't want to do it all the way around the house.

Since the rock was staying, we had to add some edging to keep the rock in one area. It was mayhem every time we mowed. I'm genuinely shocked we didn't have a window taken out from the lawn missiles that went flying.

Using the power of Pinterest, I saw this idea for using two brick pavers to create an edge that was easy to mow right up next to. The edge wasn't terribly hard to put in, and we had that job done after a few nights of hard work. Since we went all the way around our house, the job took around 500 pavers. Since we extended the rock area to create a more uniform look, we needed to put down some landscape fabric. I can say, I would rather lay the edging ten times over than deal with that landscape fabric. It was a hot from the reflection of the black, and I could never get the landscape pins into the fabric since they kept hitting old rock.

Finally, we added in some ornamental grasses that should grow rather tall in the next couple of years. We bought 13 tons of rock and moved it all over to the house during the course of a week. It wasn't a very fun job, but the result was a nice uniform landscaping job around the house. I think next year I might remove that dogwood bush in the front and plant more grasses, but for now, there is quite the improvement. All the pavers and the 13 tons of rock cost us around a $1,000.00. I don't know how much landscaping fabric I ended up using, but probably 5 or 6 rolls. The final expense was the grasses, and I got those 50% off when our nursery was closing for the season.

Check it out!

As you can see, we added quite a bit of rock to the front and back of the house. We thought a more gradual curve would look better (and frankly, it's much easier with the pavers). 

 It's worth spending the extra money and getting both the 3 and 6 foot wide landscaping fabric. I used the 6 foot when the curve swung out and the area was larger, but the 3 foot was nice when the path narrowed. It's easier to have both sizes so you're not trying to make the wrong width fit in the opposite area.