Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Concrete Tale

We have lived in this house for 31 years. All of our new houses back then had these little tiny pads outside the garage stepping down into the mud which was our yards. We all wanted patios poured as soon as possible, but there was a concrete shortage. There was a concrete crew running around our neighborhood, and we all tried to catch Benny and ask him to come to our house next.

We were one of the fortunate ones to get a patio poured. It was huge and has served us for many years. Unfortunately, over the years the not-so-wonderful soil we have around here shifted and our patios, sidewalks, driveways, and even garage floors have developed cracks. You can see how much the patio settled - the original pad hasn't moved. The biggest issue, though, was that the water from rain and melted snow was running under the house.

When we decided to go for it and spring the money for a new patio, DC wanted it to be more artistic this time. He had in his mind curves rather than straight lines. He spent many days cutting out bushes that were either beyond their prime or would be in the way of the new design. I wanted to get pictures of him working so hard, digging out the deep, thick roots, but somehow it never happened. Here is an example of the kind of bushes he removed.

It will be interesting to see what he comes up with to fill these now empty spots. This rock has been covered up for years - I didn't even remember it was there.

The first crew arrived last Thursday and rattled the doors and windows and my head for a few hours with their jackhammer. What a hard, hot, difficult job - I wonder how anyone who does this can hear or breathe.

One young guy spent his day moving the chunks of broken concrete from the back yard to the street in front of our house. I had to chuckle when I heard him tell his boss that he now knows this isn't how he wants to spend the rest of his working life! The boss is a wise man - told him that's why you go to school and stay in school.

The next day, the Bobcat arrived, along with the dump truck. The neighborhood boys had a great time watching the truck filling up. I forgot to get a picture of the really full dump truck.

The next morning they arrived with sand and began the next phase - preparing the area for the new patio. DC had drawn his plan on graph paper.

They finished for this day just before a rainstorm started. But it didn't do any harm. When DC got home, he discovered that they had not set it up according to his specs. Fortunately, the owner wanted us to be satisfied, so his guys had to come and re-do the set-up it the next day. DC was able to mark what he wanted in the sand. By the end of that day, it was looking really good, ready for the cement truck early the next morning.

The final morning, the next crew arrived, preparing for the cement arrival. In talking to these guys, I learned that one of them had worked with Benny back in the day when we were trying to get the first patio done - he was 14 years old at that time. Small world.

I can't believe I forgot to get any shots of the cement truck and the guys taking wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of the gooey stuff from the front to the back. DC and Feisty (who was home from school with a cold) spent most of the day sitting in the yard watching the process. It is a grueling job!

Notice the leaves from the wind that blew in that early morning??

I'm guessing that the next thing to happen will be DC enjoying the challenge of creating new beauty around his newly designed patio.


Sharon Lynne said...

Wow! That looks nice! How fun to have a change. I hope it doesn't get all covered up in snow too soon. May you enjoy a beautiful fall with your new patio!

Linds said...

It is HUGE! Wow! You are going to spend many hours out there, Dawn, and I want to see what your husband does in the garden design department round the edges! How exciting! I love gardening!

Linda said...

You did a great job with the pictures Dawn.
It looks fantastic!! It really is roomy and I love the idea of curves instead of straight lines.
It will be a wonderful place to sit and relax and have family celebrations.
Have a blessed sunday Dawn. I hope you're all feeling better.

Needled Mom said...

Oh, wow, looks awesome! You guys are going to enjoy all that wonderful space so much. I can imagine how noisy it must have been. We had a concrete basketball court removed a couple of years ago and that jackhammer went for two days. I think I still hear that noise....and, see the dust!!!!!

I can't wait to see it all planted. Will he do it before winter or wait until spring?

Sammy said...

It looks fabulous! And I love that you captured photos of the process.

Feisty picked a great day to stay home with a cold! They are going to be pouring concrete at our school soon and I am going to be sure that my kindergarteners get to watch. That's a real learning experience right there!

Enjoy your gorgeous new patio!

Grammy and Olivia said...

What a ton of work, but it looks great! I have been behind on everything including blog visiting...just got caught up. Loved all the pictures in your last several posts.

grammy said...

Wow ... what a lot of work. We tore out our wood deck in the front that was rotting. Don't know what or when it is going to get a new look. $$$$ is an issue. Yours looks really great.

Hootin' Anni said...

Oh my gosh....artistic indeed! We've been thinking of redoing ours now that the patio covering is torn out...ours too is cracked and quite discolored. Thinking about tiling it, but that will be for the owners after we're gone...too, too expensive. The design is fabulous. All the hard labor took on a great look!!!

And, to answer your question [about my photo blog, there is a small comment box right at the top of the sidebar...where it says "Comment Here" just click in there, and type away. Don't forget to leave your name, I can't figure out how it links peoples names yet...if at all!]

I and Bud just came in from the back yard - pulling those none-dying weeds. LOL Bit up on my ankles...nasty boogers those mosquitoes, and then, I tried out the camera on a humming bird that was flitting around while we worked. Dunno how it turned out tho, gotta go shower instead of playing around with that camera.

Have a great sunny day. GO BRONCOS!!!! [We have Shannahan's -*Spelling?* old defense coordinator for the Houston Texans...he's head's nice to see a familiar face. LOL]

Mary said...


I absolutely LOVE the symmetrical lines of your new patio. DC did a great job with the design. I'm sure it will look even more lovely when he has it landscaped.

Wishing you a great week.

Morning Glory said...

That looks great!

Nadine said...

Wow that was lots of work, but it looks really nice. Enjoy it.

PEA said...

Oh wow, I love the way it turned out! I wouldn't want to have that kind of job, though, it has to be back breaking work, especially when they have to break up and remove the old concrete. We have patio slabs in the back of the house but I would love to one day remove them and build a nice big deck. Hope you're having a great week, dear Dawn! xoxo

Amy said...

It looks very nice!

Can't wait to see what else your husband comes up with!

nannykim said...

Oh wow!! What a lot of work. We have a big crack in our drive and it extends through our laundry room and into our lower sunroom. It is really bad in the carport. We are thinking of eventually (like next year or so) having someone come and grind it down so it is more even. We have gumbo clay here and things settle quite a bit. I hope it never gets worse in our sun room--ugh.

Looks nice--you will have to show it to us when it is in "use"!

Becky said...

Wow, what a job. That is going to be lovely though. I would be drooling at the chance to work in the yard to create beautiful landscaping. I love love love to get my hands dirty. I wish I lived close enough to help. Your DH could just tell me what to do.

Christa said...

Wow, that was some undertaking. Looks good, can't wait to see the new landscaping. My daughter talked about the shifting soil, and how it affected their look for a house outside of Boulder.
God Bless