Monday, November 26, 2012

Patio foundation with pea gravel and decomposed granite

 Brick Patio Foundation project:

Instead of resting like my cat, I worked on my patio's sub base.

I removed about 6" of soil where the patio is going to be. Used that soil to build berms for my two cactus/succulent islands. A garden hoe is a must to spread the decomposed granite around.  This is the first rough estimate layer.


Then landscape fabric, a couple inches of pea gravel, and a couple of inches of decomposed granite. I used 1" pvc pipes and a 2x4 to screed the DG. There is a slight slope away from the house. I dropped the level 1" every 8 ft. The longest part of the patio goes 16 feet back adjacent to the north wall.

My plan is to use a herring bone pattern with the bricks with the arrow shapes pointed towards the south east corner of the yard. That will draw the eye towards that corner of the yard.  I use a low end Gorilla dump cart that has "no flat" tires.  I think that is much easier than pushing a wheelbarrow around because you don't have to lift the weight nor balance the load as much.  The brick patio will be nicely shaded during the summer when the sun angle is more overhead.

I watered the sub base and tamped it down.  It's a great feeling to see the patio coming so close to done.

I use drip irrigation, and will leave the lines above the patio for easy maintenance.  I plan to use only solar lights, and if I need a power outlet back here, I'll just use an extension cord so no need for under patio electricity or irrigation.  I'll save myself future headaches by keeping it simple there.

For long portions of the patio, I duct taped two sections of pipe together. You can see the wooden stakes I used to calculate and mark the slope away from the house here.  It feels so good to see a flat surface after so much hard labor work.  :)

Here is a photo of the 2x4 lumber I used to screed the DG to make it the proper level.  I can hardly wait to get the bricks laid.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Best sand box ever! :)

We finally did it!  These photos were taken at the crack of noon.  My wife and I moved 15 tons of 3/8" pea gravel from our driveway into the backyard and it looks amazing.  I was so excited to see it today for the first time in day light that I didn't even bother to run around to trim off excess pieces of landscape fabric around some edges or tidy up the mounds of extra gravel before photographing.  What can I say.  I'm a gardener, not a perfectionist.  I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

My desert roses have been in bloom since early June, and they're still going.

Here's what it looked like before the metamorphosis.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Backyard building materials

Materials cost

This is what our back yard currently looks like.

A couple of years ago, I had a slightly different plan for the yard.  I asked a landscape designer and builder for an estimate of how much it would cost to execute.  He said he would charge me $30,000 to do it all.  Needless to say, that was not an option.

Our yard is approximately 50' x 50'.  The perimeter has already been planted and mulched.  I asked for enough gravel to cover 40' x 40' area with 2" of gravel.  I bought everything at National Building Supply in Sylmar, CA.

3/8" pea gravel - 15 tons x $21 = $315

Decomposed granite - 8 scoops x $15 = $120

LB 3 Rivers Rock - 1,700 lbs (1 pallet) x $0.18 = $306

Delivery $75

Terra cotta brown charcoal bricks $1.30 per sq. ft. (normally $1.90) x 400 sq. ft. = $520
2nd Delivery $45.  Not the red ones, the neutral ones.  I just put them next to common red bricks for comparison.

Grand Total $1,381

The only thing I need in addition is a few 1" pvc pipes, and an edging to hammer down around the outside perimeter.  Oh yeah, and it will also cost me blood, sweat, and pain; the labor of love.