Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Never Ending Patio Project...Part 1

So I'm finally back to writing posts, after a petition was sent around to get me back. Apparently a certain someone thought my posts were boring or too "lawyerly." So, why not post a really dry and boring post about bricks?! Actually the real reason for it being dry is that there is nothing funny about having to redo the patio 10 times (ok more like 3). The darn thing would just not turn out level.

Ever since we had seen the house I kept talking about wanting to redo the patio. So as soon as we were able to get in the house (despite the fact that we didn't actually own it yet) we rippped up the patio. Since we are on a budget, we decided we could reuse the bricks. As you can see below there was a slight issue with grass growing up between the bricks. As my allergies can attest, pretty much anything can grow anywhere in in the Central Valley.

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The bricks that were at the edges came up really, really easily. All you had to do was watch out for any supersized bugs, but luckily my wife would warn me with some subtle shrieks.

Anyways, the grass was really growing between the bricks. You can even see the pattern of where the bricks were. It kinda looks like a fun maze for all of those giant pincher-bugs! We could have even left the grass and just let it fill in for a full grass yard.

The grass that had grown up between the bricks was actually worse than the pictures. The roots of the grass had connected underneath all the bricks, which made digging up the dirt a little tougher than it should have been.

Once all the bricks were up, I attempted to shovel out the sand that was there, but discovered that there was a hard layer of clay underneath it, so I had to modify my plan and level out the sand we already had at a slight angle away from the house.

After a bit of tamping, it was time to start putting the bricks back in.

Putting the bricks back felt like it took forever. Each brick required some sifting and the use of a rubber mallet to set them in the sand and to line them up. The biggest issue was I failed to think about buying knee pads like the kinds that tilers (or gardeners) use to save my knees.

After what felt like 40 years, I finally got to the point we wanted to end the patio. Its about 3 rows shorter than before. The shortened length may or may not have been due to an overwhelming amount of rubber mallet-ing.

It looks a lot better than before! It still needs to be framed out if we want to keep it as it is, but I'm not quite happy with the way the last 6 rows turned out. Because of that and the rain we have been getting in June, we have not finished it yet. I found some patio forms that are supposed to help space out the brick to maintain uniform spacing, which I think will go a long way towards helping make the patio look awesome! So stay tuned for part 2, when it finally stops raining. And by part 2...I mean when I pull out all of that work that we did and re-lay the bricks into the forms.

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