home is where the couch is

our first house. her big plans. his hard work.

7:45 PM

The Pit

Posted by Terri |

My son is a firebug. He loves to make fires. I think we've taught him well in that if he's going to be a pyro, he'll be a safe pyroboy. He knows all the rules.
I am a big dreamer. The boy wanted a firepit, so mama thought of a beautiful big firepit area...and of course, the man is doing lots of the work.

I was inspired by a photo on the Lowe's website, but it's no longer there. I had printed it out though and knew what I wanted the firepit area to look like. I looked at it often. For about 2 years.

We chose an area in the yard that is fairly useless. It's a sloped, small area that we've never made use of.

The plan is/was: a retaining wall around three sides of the pit, with one end draining down the slope. The firepit made with rocks that we dug out of the pit and finished off with coping. The flooring of the firepit area is going to be flagstone that we've picked up over the years.

We dug and dug and dug - I don't know how long it took us, but we dug for quite a while. Harvested some rocks and bricks and china doll legs. I think the area we chose was the dumping spot when they built our house 125 years ago.

After digging, the man dug a trench and filled it with gravel and limestone screenings, tamping it down and leveling it meticulously.

We put our first layer of stone around the perimeter and then dug back a bit so that the perforated BIG O pipe would fit behind it. I didn't want the pipe because it took some of my space up and the man wanted it because he didn't want to spend big bucks just for water to damage the structure of the wall so...I won at first and we built it as if the pipe wasn't going to be behind the blocks. Then I gave in and I LET him dig out behind our leveled blocks and put the pipe in. It was very nice of me, I know.

We have to tuck the landscape fabric under the pipe and bring it up just under the coping of the wall. This will ensure that dirt doesn't sneak in and dribble down the blocks and stain them. Sounds like something a toddler would do.

Here we are working on the back wall. It will be a bit higher than the sides because I want to put a garden on the other side of it. I want the pit to be secluded from the house.

Back is done, one side is done and here's the man working on the other side with our severely mutilated rubber hammer. Time for a new one after this project.

We're all done the wall except for fixing some of the coping (the tops). We need to cut some of them and adhesive them down. Some are a bit too long and the wedges are just wonky.

Next steps:

  1. Dig down so that the end of the pipes can drain properly.
  2. Tack up the landscape fabric and backfill behind the walls with gravel.
  3. Plan the garden and plant the plants that I bought before they die.
  4. Level the ground and decide where the firepit is going exactly.
See ALLLL the pictures RIGHT HERE.

    2:56 PM

    The Destruction of the Bloody Pool

    Posted by Terri |

    I know that when we were looking to rip the bloody pool out, I looked all over the web for photos and an idea of how to go about it. And how to go about it as cheap as possible. We don't mind labouring for what we want. We do hate paying exorbitant amounts of money to get it done.

    We bought our house with the bloody pool, it was put in about 10 years before, but none of our family members are pool people. We like beaches. And a yard.
    So, how did we go about it you ask?? Let me tell you. It didn't take as long as we thought it would but it was hard labour.

    This is the bloody pool before. It was the end of the pool season and we let it go green.

    We began by ripping apart the deck and letting the bloody pool drain as much as possible.

    We unscrewed the edges of the bloody pool. I don't know the proper term for them, but it's the white trim along the top. You can see that two sections are already off. We also put the kids to work.

    When you have no water in your pool, the sides then begin to fall away from the walls. I'm sure you know that though. Since we didn't put the bloody pool in, we didn't really have any idea of what was going to be under the liner. We had pulled the liner a teensy bit away from the wall, so we knew there was metal sides of some sorts, but it was all going to be a bit of a surprise...

    We started to rip, I mean, take the liner off of the bloody pool and shop vac up all the extra water so that it wouldn't be so hard to deal with. Nasty green slimy water is not fun to swim in.

    We finally got the liner off and nicely folded. Some guy off of our local freecycle was looking for a pool liner to make a pond with and since we so conveniently had a nice, slimy-pond like liner to give away, he came and got it. Recycling works! Didn't have to pay for disposal...that works with our 'do it for cheap' attitude. The green slimy look on the pool is what happens when you have a leak in your liner and ignore it.

    If we had just tossed dirt in the hole, we may have ended up having a pool of a yard from drainage problems...so my lovely, strong husband pounded holes in the bottom of the bloody pool with a sledgehammer to ensure we didn't have that problem. What a good guy he is.
    (for some reason this photo won't upload the right way up. sorry.)

    Then came all the pipes. We dismantled all the piping around the bloody pool. We had to dig out a lot of sand that had been back filled behind the walls.

    We threw that sand into the pool. Drainage, right?? And we let the kids take a break from work and make some castles. Just like the beach.

    Here we are pondering on how the braces work and how the sides are going to come off. They were welded on the top and cemented at the bottom...

    We decided to use the reciprocating saw to cut them. First we had to dig all the sand out from behind the walls. Next we cut the braces, which had cement holding them in at the bottom. Then we took the saw and just went to town as low as we could go without getting kickback from hitting cement...There's no pictures of us doing that because I am the photographer of the family and I also like destruction, like cutting metal things down. I am proud to say I was busy cutting down the bloody pool sides that day and didn't have time to take photos.

    Once again, thanks to freecycle and a man building an addition, we received some free fill. About 2 1/2 dump trucks full of free fill. In our driveway. For us and others we connived and fed to help us wheelbarrow it into the hole.

    Ahh, the stairs. I think this was one of the harder things about ripping the bloody pool apart. The bottom step was cemented in and it was held down by pipes. Out came the saw and brrp, out it came. Not as easy as it sounds. It was a pain but it's all gone now.

    Then came the work crew। They almost emptied the driveway but one day wasn't quite enough. Thank you to all who helped us that day and other days. Your strong arms and backs were invaluable to us!

    We slowly filled the hole and after a few layers, used a compactor to smoosh it all down. We hoped that by doing that, it would lessen the sinking effect over the years. The dirt that was given to us was pretty high in clay content so even after a few winters it hasn't sunk at all.

    This picture is after the winter in the springtime. We threw a bit of topsoil and compost on the yard, rolled it out and prepared it for some sod.

    And here is where we were teaching the kids about instant gratification.

    And then we were done. We had very negative Nellie's walking by our house telling us we would never get done. Poo on you cause we did it!! Took us two months for a majority of the work to be done and now that we have a lawn - the work will be never ending...

    But we play catch and kick soccer balls around and play badminton on it. We use it more than we ever did with the pool. We used to just watch the neighbours swim in it...

    If you want to see more photos of our pool destruction, you can check them out here.