I have discovered that if I do a few small things in the garden each day, I can feel a sense of accomplishment without feeling completely undone physically. I’m back to my morning ritual of weeding while I have a cup of coffee. (It’s not going to clear every weed in every bed, but you’d be surprised at how much weeding you can do in the time it takes to drink just one cup of coffee!)
I figured if it worked for weeding, I could apply it to the patio project, too. Every day, I’ve gone out and turned over a few more shovelfuls of soil—preparation for getting rid of grass and dandelions. And, while I was shoveling, I was thinking about where to "start" with the outline of the patio. (I'm going to use 4x4 cedar as edging and some permeable "decking" I found at IKEA!) Originally, I thought it made sense to start at the corner by the compost bins, but I ended up thinking it was best to start with the "step" from the driveway to the patio.
So, the other night, I removed part of the old retaining wall between the driveway and the raspberry patch/patio area. (It really wasn’t much of a retaining wall – two blocks high – one of which was mostly submerged.) But, I wanted to do something that would tie in with the new patio, and crumbling block didn’t cut it. I also wanted more of a formal -- and level -- step between the driveway and the patio. The previous owners used the wall as a step from the lawn to the driveway and over time, it not only heaved, but eroded and crumbled, creating a dangerous transition -- especially in winter. I thought about replacing the wall with stone or block, but that's both expensive and time consuming. So, I decided on 6x6 cedar timbers, which I thought would work well with the 4x4 cedar edging for the patio.
Today, at lunch, I ran to the lumber yard and got a length of 6x6 cedar and some sand. I had hoped they could make the cuts I wanted in the lumber, but they said the saw wouldn’t take 6x6. So, after work, I cut the cedar the old fashioned way – using the circular saw on all four sides and the hand saw for the leftover bit in the middle. Then, I dug out some soil to make room for some 16 x 16 pavers. I put in the sand, tamped it down, and edged it with the cedar.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to tweak this a little bit before I drive the rebar through the cedar to anchor it. The height is just a bit off, which means I’d need a lot more sand for the patio space than I’d originally planned. So, I’ll tinker with it and see what evolves. In the meantime, the step to the driveway is a whole lot better than it used to be. And, I’m one step closer to getting the patio project finished!