9/14: back to concrete reality

Having just been on two almost back-to-back cruises, we are now back to reality. Since my husband had one more week of leave (vacation), there was a job in the back yard that has been awaiting his attention for some time.

Every now and then a paver comes loose on the bluestone steps, and the idea is to wait until there are a few to do, so that you’re not mixing up silly little amounts of mortar. Suddenly there are eight or nine that have come adrift and it becomes a big job!

Anyway, it’s done now, and looking good. It entailed him chipping off the old mortar, then painting Bondcrete on for extra adherence before cementing the pavers in place with a mix of both mortar and Bondcrete. I managed to Bondcrete three pavers and one step before losing interest and letting him do the rest. My generosity in these matters is legendary.

a chip off the old block

dabbing on Bondcrete

applying Bondcrete and mortar

It left me free to do some necessary weeding of some garden beds. We definitely make a good team, as you can see by the results.

repaired bluestone steps

251/366: easy weeding

I love it when a project is completed and the purpose for its completion is fulfilled. Such is the case of the area of garden where I put pavers and pebbles to permanently cut down on weeds. It’s funny though; you sometimes write a post that you are really pleased with, as in the case of that previous one, and yet you only get one like on it, which goes to show that the effort you put into a post cannot always be measured by the reception it gets.

That was four months ago, and by now it would have been chockers with weeds, had I not done this project. As it is, I merely plucked out a handful of weeds and the job was done.

Now that’s what I call a successful result. Not only is it rather attractive, but useful as well, just as I try to be!

162/366: a fitting finish

With the fabulous new pergola built, more pattern-paved concrete was the next step.

The sleeper retained beds were extended by adding a row of curved bluestones to create a pleasing and lasting effect. It’s always a good idea to make a path as wide as you can, along which two people can easily walk side by side.

The base colour concrete was laid, and then powders of different colours were spread across it to make a nice mix. Marigold was one of the powders used, while continuing the burgundy theme. Then the concrete was pressed into the pattern of paving, creating a great look with an easy-care finish.

The gumboots look hysterical, but at least they provide protection from the wet concrete.

Finally, the royal cat seal of approval is a fitting finish.

161/366: fab new pergola

My trips down Memory Lane are becoming a little more frequent lately. In Winter I spend less time in the garden, so it is fitting to remember past achievements.

Loving the pattern-paved concrete in the driveway, we decided to create an outdoor living area far superior to the patio and pergola we originally started with, although they served us well for over ten years.

We hired professionals to erect the trussed structure, which has become a fabulous outdoor entertaining area, and leads off from the family room right through to the garage, and has housed 21st birthday parties, along with 50th celebrations (or was that commiserations?).

Once painted, the next step would be the concrete.

Money well spent, once again.

160/366: two-fold task

Many of the projects in my garden involve at least two stages. This is due partly to the fact that I like to recycle, so sometimes one idea has to wait until another is ready to come to fruition. Then I can rearrange and reuse, two of my favourite pursuits.

The pavers used down the laundry side by Dimension Landscaping in yesterday’s post, pay the professionals, were from the original patio my husband laid in 1985. (See practically perfect patio.)

A plan for a newer, better pergola area than the one we had before was taking shape, which necessitated lifting the pavers.

One of the attractions of stone and pavers is that they can be reused in a different area.

159/366: pay the professionals

Although I am a firm believer in the DIY stakes (Do It Yourself for the uninitiated), there are times when it is a sage choice to employ the professionals.

Take for example, the laundry or “dead” side of the house. For years it was sadly neglected, and seemed an insurmountable task to organise. We had our washing line out the back before the extension, and then on the patio after that.

One day we bit the bullet. Friends had recently had their landscaping professionally done, so we joined them in hiring the services of David from Dimension Landscaping.

Isn’t it funny though, that I cannot seem to find a single Before photo of the area. I think I was so embarrassed about it being a jungle that I couldn’t bring myself to capture it on film.

The results speak for themselves. Where did the pavers come from? Find out tomorrow.

130/366: mission accomplished

Further to 96/366: planning a project, I am pleased to announce that it was a successful mission. A few sessions were required to complete the task, as I had to dig out where the pavers would go, try to make them fairly level and square, plant the mondo grass and add the river pebbles. Ah, the satisfaction that comes with a completed project is sublime!

102/366: another project completed

A sense of achievement prevails with task completion. This time we enlarged the area near the washline and eradicated the mulch. Guess what I used to do this? River pebbles, of course. We laid the extra row of pavers on a bed of concrete, after chipping away the outer edge of the previous row.

I had fun using the level and tapping the pavers down so that they were even.

Now the concrete has set really well, so today I finished off the project with those lovely river pebbles and a couple of chairs from the patio that have seen better days.

101/366: two stage task

I had a lesson in concreting from my husband a couple of weeks ago. To extend the paved area one extra run of pavers near the washing line, it necessitated laying them on a bed of ready mix concrete. Somehow I think me being the “apprentice” just meant that I ran and fetched everything.

He showed me how to mix it, but I was quite happy for him to do that part of the labouring. It was similar to making a cake as far as I could see, but on a larger scale.

That stage done, the next step was to wait for the concrete to set for a week or so before completing the project. This was to avoid possibly standing on the pavers too soon and moving them.

96/366: planning a project

Rather than rushing headlong into a project, it is generally a good idea to have the seed of an idea, let it germinate and grow and evolve into something workable.

In this case I am going to use some new square grey pavers, in addition to some offcuts of pavers I already had – a mixture of old and new. Then I will add some river pebbles, again helping protect the path from an overflow of mulch.

Planting some dwarf mondo grass in between the pebbles and pavers is the main part I need to work out, since I have temporarily laid out the pavers where I want them to go.

Now I just need to decide the best placement of the dwarf mondo grass, and see if I need to purchase any more to complete the project. Sounds like a good activity over the Easter break.