Wednesday, June 12, 2013


or also known as

"The Time I Made Murray Attempt a Huge DIY Project and We Almost Stabbed Each Other With Shovels"

So you may remember me talking about redoing my side porch area over A YEAR AGO! Here are some before pics of way back when:

Looking from the stoop onto the "landing"

From the corner 

You may recall there were bricks under the layer of stupid river rocks. 

And random square pavers hidden under there as well. 

The side porch is TINY. How am I expected to grill, have a place to put my drink, and tell stories whilst waving my arms around with a spatula in this small space? 

The whole incident with the pavers I initially bought thing happened, and time passed.. grass grew. 

In a haste one night last summer, I cut off the railing to the porch to open it up. I also bought the awesome green patio furniture, but where to put it? It sat on the river rock for a bit, but I shoved it onto the porch while I cleared out for the new pavers I purchased.. last August. 

And this is where they sat. For months and months. 

I did remove the bricks at that time all by myself. It was pretty miserable. I also don't have a wheelbarrow, so I carried a few by hand and stacked them up in the backyard. I also scooped up river rock, scoop by scoop with my shovel, and walked it into the backyard.

The dirt and rock came up over the landing you see above (with the row of red brick). I needed it to be a couple inches lower so the pavers would be level with that. 

Enter Murray! He told me he would come up one weekend and help me get my yard in order. I think he was picturing us trimming some hedges and pulling weeds out of the flower beds.. Oh no, no. When someone offers manual labor, I know exactly what outdoor project I'd like to conquer. I asked if he would help lay the pavers. SURE! he said. How enthusiastic in the beginning.. 

Before we start, this isn't going to be a tutorial. You should know by now that I like to cut corners. I most certainly did that here, and I don't want to advise anyone to do this the rachel-way since this isn't like a piece of furniture you could repaint if you messed it up. 


I forgot to take a before picture. Wah wahhh. Just scroll three pictures up and that's pretty much what it looked like when we started. Grass and stupid river rock. I had a shovel and rake and Murray's sister let us borrow some tools to double our dirt-moving ability (thanks, Lauren!).  We started as soon as Murray got in town on Friday, ya know because there were a couple of hours of sunlight left. 

We got to work scraping the dirt from the fence gate towards the back yard. Words like "impossible" and "forever" were thrown around (not by this optimist though :D). Sweat was pouring and dirt was a' flyin, along with some commentary from Negative Nancy (mur mur). After a couple hours, we admitted defeat for the day. Sweet little Murray apologized for being ornery, and we decided we were just hungry and tired. 

Sweaty, red-faced me. EEK!

Here's what it looked like as soon as we walked out Saturday. It doesn't look like much, but we moved so much dirt and grass and roots!

It looked promising as we started! We even pinky-promised there would be no bitching.. yeah right. 

So. We didn't check to see if it was level. We just eyeballed it (not recommended). It didn't turn out bad for this job, I just don't want to tell you this is the way to go. Instead of waiting until the entire area was level (to us), we decided I would start laying pavers while Murray continued to level out the ground. I started next to the step and went to the right towards the fence before coming down with them. 

I literally would sit a paver down, see if it was level with the stoop/landing, shake it back and forth to see if it moved, and would lay the next if it passed all those requirements. If it moved, I would put some dirt under it. The river rock actually helped stabilize the pavers. I also had some leveling sand to help. You can see I went with a herringbone pattern! EEE!

While I did this, Murray cleaned out the area on the side of the porch. There was stuff grown up about a foot. EEK! A gardener, I am not. 

This is about where we got on Saturday, below (of course this was taken on Sunday), and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?! 

I ran out of effing pavers. Between Murray getting heated over the stupid river rock and me getting pissed about the lack of pavers, we pretty much worked in silence (so much for the pinky-promise). We worked until we finished laying all the ones we had, then we went to the store to buy more.

Surprise, surprise, they didn't carry them anymore at Southeastern Salvage. Onto Home Depot! And guess what? They didn't have them either! I was considering framing out the whole thing with 16"x16" square pavers.. that would've been a pain. Before doing that, I checked Lowe's. Miracle of miracles they had them!!! We drove there and loaded up the car with 50 more pavers. If I remember correctly, I bought 150 the first time. 

After all the houlabaloo, we treated ourselves to Mexican food and a pitcher of beer before finishing up on Sunday.

And do you know what we did Sunday morning? Pinky-promised to no bitching on the final day. Hardy-har-har. 

 You can see with the herringbone pattern, there are spots that need squares. Since Lowe's nor HD had 8" square pavers, I needed to cut these in half. To the cut pavers, you have to have a special saw blade. A diamond blade. Guess who didn't have one to fit my saw? Lowe's. So we made a trip to HD before we got to work on Sunday. They didn't have the exact size I needed for my saw (drats). It takes a 5.5" blade and they had 7" and 10" and then a smaller 4.5". I have a 10" miter saw, but that blade was $50! I decided to try the smaller one, which was about $9. It worked! 

It was SUPER messy, and a bit of a pain because I had to make a cut, then flip over the paver and make another cut to split it. 

But that was ok! It looked fantastic as the holes were filled in (that's what she said). 

For some reason, Mur dog was already peeved about something, and we hadn't eaten lunch so I was hungry-rachel ornery. The pink-promise lasted all of 3 minutes on Sunday.

I did slap on a smile for a cheesy sawing picture!

Well wouldn't you know, it rained on us THREE TIMES on Sunday. The first couple of times were sprinkles, so it wasn't a huge deal, although it did warrant Swearing Herring to make an appearance. We finished laying the pavers, and they just barely made it to the edge of the porch. We filled in some of the bigger cracks with the dirt and river rock before covering it with paver filler (I forgot what it was called, but it was little chipped up grayish sand and small rocks). It looked fantastic with the color of the pavers.

We had about 2 rows left at the back when it started monsooning on us. I tried to push as much filler in as possible before having to go inside. I'm sure all the experts would be telling me it was a bad idea to continue in the rain, but oh well! 

It looked terrible at first because all the rocks and sand washed over all the pavers, but I went out there after the rain stopped and hosed it off. EEE! Here's a picture at dusk haha. 

I felt like a kid on Christmas on Monday morning, and I giddily went out there to get some shots in the sunlight!

EEEE! Yes, the fence gate is still broken from when I took it apart, hence the sheet of wood.. oops. 

The pavers I had were stacked up for months in the yard, unlike the new ones from Lowe's. You can see the color difference with the ones on the bottom left of the picture below, and also the square ones cut along the fence. Meehhh. 

But I love it! 

The rain carried the filler rocks to the corner. I need to get out there and pour more on top since some spots were skimped during the monsoon.

Next up is cleaning and styling the porch! 

Don't you know I went out there in the afternoon for different lighting! haha! 

And look! Since the sun dried out the pavers, the discoloration was less noticeable! WOO! I also moved the loveseat out there haha. I need to grab a couple more pavers since there was a little space left. I originally wanted to wrap the pavers around the side of the porch about 2-3 extra feet, and I may end up doing that later on in the summer. 

So this is the thorn in my side: There was a random concrete drain here, but there is no spout pouring water into it, nor is there water dripping from the roof into this spot. It was also poured around the post to the porch, so it wasn't going anywhere. Rather than getting a jackhammer, I decided I would put a lovely planter on top of it. 

Do you remember the mood board I made a while ago? 

I can't wait to get started on projects! 

Let's recap, shall we?



We love it, ma!! 


Sorry for the lack of progress pics. I didn't want to handle the camera with muddy gloves, nor did I want to stop the progress we were making.


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