Even so, I have gotten quite a few outdoor projects done. And I will be sharing one of the projects with you right now! I took out the front planter and put in a small patio! Exciting, no!? And as usual, the men folk chipped in when I needed their help. My darling husband and eldest son are real troopers, considering that I have a well deserved reputation of being (ahem!) difficult to work with on home improvement projects. Shocking, I know.
WHAM!!! With small sledgehammer in hand, I busted out the offending brick that enclosed the potential I saw. After I cleared out the rubble, I dug a at least 5 inches of soil out of the planter and tamped it all down with our malfunctioning tamper. As it turned out, according to my tape measure, I dug out too much soil, which meant that I had to put a few inches of it back in. Oh well, according to my doctor, I need the exercise, and there is nothing like hauling a few wheelbarrow fulls of heavy clay soil around to help one loose a few inches off the waistline. But what I mostly lost was my temper, a few times, at least!
I learned that when you want to place deco tiles and glass pebbles into the wet slop of your stepping stone, you M.U.S.T. use a concrete that has very little or no large pieces of aggregate, which of course the inexpensive bag of the run of the mill concrete mix contains. Otherwise, it will be too hard to press the pretty pebbles into the quickly drying concrete. Of course I found this out the HARD way (Pun intended) ! This seemingly simple project alone took me three tries - - THREE, and included several trips to Home Depot and a few frustrating minutes on the interweb in search for a recipe for stepping stone concrete mix. Now that' s more like it! My construction projects are not really "mine" unless there is a heaping helping of agony mixed in!
Anyway, after I finally got the mix right and the stepping stones were dry enough the next day, I was smart enough to get my son to sweep in the special locking sand in between the cracks of the bricks and then wet it all down. Well....that was AFTER I realized that the regular sand I had gotten and had already swept in wasn't going to cut it; something my son was quick to point out - -you know- - the ol' "I told you so" line. And this of course lead to...yep you guessed it, yet another trip to you know where. If you lost count, don't worry, so did I. I truly far exceeded the traditional three trips to Home Depot on this project!
Yes dear reader, I look forward watching my favorite season slowly creep along into view while I sit down in this little oasis of once useless space. The view may not be as lovely as this article's headline image, but after weeks of deplorably hot weather, it will be a welcome sight nonetheless!