Oh Pati-o

On Sunday I spent an hour and a half writing a post and uploading pictures of our finished patio project. Then it froze while I was uploading a picture, I navigated away from the page (which I have done before without consequence), came back, and it was gone. All gone. No words, no pictures, nothing. I was so annoyed. It didn’t autosave like it should have and it hasn’t magically shown up in my drafts. I really don’t feel like writing it all over again, although Stephen says I should, so I present to you a story in pictures. With a few words.

Because I have to tell you about the bricks. The 3 TONS of bricks. That we hauled ourselves. With help from Tina and Steve. I found them on good ol’ craigslist, they were being sold in pallets of 600 bricks for $210 and were reclaimed from an old tobacco company in Kentucky. The people selling them are based out of Charlotte, and make a living buying demolished buildings, taking the materials, cleaning them up, and reselling them. I calculated that we would need 2 pallets for the size patio we wanted. We rented a u-haul utility trailer, hooked it up to Miss Rev (my Escape, which has towed a full 6’x12′ trailer before with no problems) and went to pick up our 1200 bricks, cash in hand. We arrived at the warehouse, the guy (let’s call him Craig, I don’t remember his name) looked at Miss Rev, looked at the trailer, and said, “You know how much these pallets weigh, right?” Turns out, as I said before, they weighed 3000 lbs EACH. 6000 lbs TOTAL. THREE TONS. Each pallet weighed only 50 lbs less than my car! Not to mention, the trailer was only rated for 1660 lbs. This was going to be an issue. Craig was willing to give it a shot and tried to load one of the pallets onto the trailer. As he was trying to shove the pallet farther in with the forklift, so it was centered over the axle, the front of the trailer started to rise into the air…and the rear tires of my car started to rise into the air….at least 6 inches into the air…clearly, this was not going to work. I wish I had a picture of that.

We ended up unpacking the pallet and loading it brick-by-brick into the trailer, so they were evenly distributed over the floor. We got about 2/3 of the pallet in and drove home to get some water and call in the reinforcements – our friends Tina and Steve. Not to be confused with Tori and Stephen. Which we were for a while. Mainly by little old ladies at church. They came, we loaded bricks, went home, unloaded, went back, loaded more bricks, went home, unloaded, and then made dinner. And then we had a pile of 1200 bricks in our backyard. And it began…

This is our old patio. It was not attractive. Or big enough. And hurt your feet if you walked on it barefoot.

Prepping the foundation. Note the pile of bricks.

Laying bricks. We went with a herringbone pattern.

Then we had to stop for a few weeks because it got hot, but the doggies appreciated the sandbox we made for them.

Almost done, need to finish the edge.

Edging done, last step is to brush sand into the joints.

Done!

Another angle.

Close up of the herringbone pattern. I love how no two bricks are the same.

We even have bricks left over for future landscaping projects!

Corbin says thanks for reading!

Wielding our green thumbs

Saturday we woke up after sleeping through a night of severe thunderstorms, which apparently produced a tornado in east Charlotte. We initially thought it was going to rain all day, and so planned on starting the final coat of paint on the stairs (a project that started in December…) After looking at the radar though, it appeared that the line of storms was going to stay southeast of us, and felt a trip to a nursery down the road was called for. Our front flower beds have been in desperate need of some love, and Saturday turned out to be the perfect day to do some landscaping. At Sugar Creek Garden Center we got three “Sparkling Plum” loropetalum, a dozen “Fancy Knickers” dianthus (that name makes me giggle), and a bag of organic fertilizer. The loropetalum shrubs would be planted in a row in front of our porch, with the dianthus in front of them. That would take care of the front bed, but we still wanted to do something down by the street, where there is one larger shrub already with an empty bed at its base. So at Home Depot we got 5 “Georgia Blue” speedwell, garden soil and mulch. A quick lunch, and we were ready to spend the rest of the day transplanting lilyturf, digging, planting, fertilizing, and mulching. Our front landscaping went from this:

To this:

The coneflowers and sage that we planted at the height of summer seem to be making a remarkable comeback.

Grow baby sage, grow!

Come on, coneflower!

The dark purple of the loropetalum looks great with our shutters, and the dianthus has a spikey-looking light green foliage, which really pops against the darker shrubs. I am also excited about cutting the dianthus once they bloom, so I can have fresh flowers in the house, grown in our very own garden!

*On another note, we now have a nephew! Stephen’s sister and brother-in-law gave birth to baby Beckett Saturday morning. It was kind of a surprise, because she was scheduled for a C-section this Thursday, the 8th. Apparently Beckett did not want to wait any longer. It was an exciting text message to wake up to!*