Posts Tagged ‘walkway’

Brick Path: Phase II

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

One of the top 10 tips for selling your house is to FINISH undone work.  The big monkey on our back has been finishing our brick walkway up the side of our driveway.  I cannot believe that is has been 1 YEAR since we started the project.  At the time, I had no idea that I was pregnant with baby number 2.  A couple of weeks later, my big project days were over as I wrestled with the first trimester blahs.  The bricks laid in the exact same arrangement for a year, virtually untouched.  With Nana here visiting this week we were able to steal a few hours, while she watched the kiddos, to work together and “dig” into the project.

The hubby stacked all the bricks on the driveway so he could excavate the dirt.  He trucked wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow up to our house so we could use the dirt to get rid of another monkey – a drainage problem caused by soil erosion.

I hopped into the trench and followed behind him doing the fine detail work.  We had cut out the exact width of our brick pattern and the depth of the gravel, sand, and bricks from a piece of wood.  The depth includes 2 inches of gravel, 2 inches of sand, and the bricks.  My job was to use hand tools and the wood guide to make sure the trench was squared off and cleaned out.  I also sat in the trench on a foam pad and compressed the dirt as I went.

It wasn’t too hard to create a firm base.  Most of the trench is made of clay and after a light rain, the soil is almost as hard as cement itself!  Tomorrow, the hubby will be pounding in the metal guide rails and filling in the gravel.  We have another wood template that is 2 inches shorter and we’ll use it as a screed board to level off the rocks.

It was so nice to work with my hubby again.  We are both fixer-uppers.  It’s one of those common bonds that drew us together in the first place.  It’s also very satisfying to do something ourselves and to do it well.  Let’s hope we can keep the momentum going and knock this out before next weekend!

Free Bricks Project: Adding a path to the driveway.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Craigslist.org is an excellent resource for the frugal do-it-yourselfer.  I constantly search under the “Free” category to find things for our various home improvement projects.  One day I saw a post titled, “Free Bricks – All You Can Haul.”

I drove the pickup truck to the address in the post and a demolition company was tearing down a house.  The old professor who had lived there had recently died and his family sold the entire property to a developer.  They had been tearing down the brick walls to expose the “bones” of the house.

I started loading the truck up with bricks, one by one, until I had gathered over 2,000 of them.  Later that same month, I spied another ad for Free Bricks.  This time an old church was being torn down.  Over 3 days, I gathered 3,000 more.

Ever the watchful hawk, I saw that someone was giving away the excess sand from a patio job just to get the pile off his driveway.  I grabbed a shovel and filled the truck up with free sand.  Next came a lady who was tired of her gravel and was giving it away for “free” to whoever wanted to come dig it up.  2 trips later, we had a mountain of rocks in our driveway.

We had all the ingredients for a nice walkway or patio.  We have decided on a walkway on both sides of our driveway and a small patio on the side of our house where we can store our garbage cans.

Here’s what we did today:  Phase 1

We chose a brick pattern from a library book and measured the width of the path.  My husband then cut squares out of the sod to preserve the grass for another location.

Removing the Sod from the Pathway

This is the path cleared out to the depth of one brick.  We will excavate more inches down later so we can add gravel for drainage and sand for a base.

The Staightaway Dug Out

Next, we dry-fit the bricks to see how the pattern would look and to see how many bricks we used.

We Dry Fit the Bricks to See How it Would Look

We had barely dented our stack of bricks and decided to go ahead with the patio for our garbage cans.  We outlined our plan.

We Decided to Go For the Patio

The hard part was trying to figure out how to angle our path pattern 45 degrees.  My  husband loves solving puzzles – he has yet to be stumped by any puzzle that I’ve bought for him! I left him to figure out how to merge the two paths together at the corner.

Figuring Out How to Merge the corners with bricks.

Once we decide on the final layout of our path/patio, we will move all the bricks and finish excavating the earth.   Without the added width of the pathways, we stomp the grass flat when we get in and out of our cars.  Without the patio, we have two ugly garbage cans sitting directly in front of our house in the driveway. I think this will be a nice improvement to our house!

Stay tuned for Phase 2!

Frugal Tip of the Day: Search Craigslist.org often for freebies and be ready to pounce the moment you see the ad.  Most freebies are gone within the hour of the post.  Most people are willing to set up a pickup time convenient to you so you don’t have to drop everything that moment.

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