Posts Tagged ‘hardscape’

oops, not gneiss?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

You may or may not find this amusing. Remember how late last year David and I deliberated over the choice of stone for the patios and pond surround? We went with a very light, clean-looking granite…

grey granite closeup

At the time, we just assumed it hailed from somewhere nearby. Perhaps The Granite State, New Hampshire? It could also have come from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and New York, which all have granite quarries.

Igneousramuses, we should have thought to ask.

So would you like to venture where our very affordable granite was born? Go ahead, click to biggify…

our stone is from china, what the?!

CHINA. Doh! It was shipped from the other side of the planet and it’s still more affordable than local granite. How do they do that? Argh.

Will it look fabulous when the patio’s all done? Yup. Will we feel just a little bit guilty for being planet killers? Yup. At least until we polish off the first pitcher of celebratory margaritas. Schistheads.

Here, listen to this with me and maybe we’ll both feel better. (circa 1961 and part of the COMPLETELY GENIUS Ballads for the Age of Science record collection I found for Bix)

number four

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

pile of pond liner

Wednesday morning. 6 a.m.

50% chance of precipitation, which is 50% decent excuse. Pond liner guy shows up and leaves the pond liner and felt in a pile out back. Thanks pond liner guy.

Looks like David and Joe will be installing this themselves.

even readier

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Tuesday the boys from Land Design Associates swung by with yet more stone for the two patios…

arriving with more stone

It waits in the wings, so to speak, until the pond liner is in…

and even more stone

Before they left, they rolled back the thermal blankets…

rolling up blankets

First time in four months that we can see the ground…

clear upper patio, ready to go

Relieved to know it’s still there.

prepping the pond

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

May 2. Much like the robins in springtime, the heavy machinery returns to the garden…

the big machinery arrives

We have machinery here so often that apparently the cat is no longer terrified of it.

Pond liner guy says he needs more sand on the bottom of the pond. And this morning he got more sand on the bottom of the pond. Sand was carted up the hill, as well as the granite slabs that will be used to cap the pond wall…

granite slabs arrive

The boys raked out about an inch of clean sand on the bottom of the pond, curving it slightly up the walls so there will be less of an angle for the rubber liner…

pond prep... AGAIN

That sandy bottom is now like buttah. Buttah!

sand added to the pond bottom

Pond liner guy is expected at about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Shall we open the wagering on his next excuse for not being able to begin?

third time’s a charm

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Pond liner guy shows up again for the third time this week. Now he claims there’s not enough sand in the bottom of the pond and he can’t put in the liner. Again. Why he failed to notice that at the beginning of the week so that someone could prep the pond god only knows. You irk me, pond liner guy.


Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

And double rats. The pond liner dude showed up two days in a row only to claim he can’t put in the liner. Now he says Friday. Or maybe Saturday.

He also says he’s not going to hold up our project. Yup. Not holding it up at all. We’re just putting the entire yard on hold until he can make it happen. And so we return to pond inaction. *sigh*

pond action

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Yep, it’s happening. The pond is finally coming together. Yay! On Friday, the thermal blankets came off and the intake pipe for the skimmer went in. First, the cinder block wall had to be cut…

cutting the wall to make a notch for the intake

Then the pipe got cemented in and left to harden up over the weekend…

the intake to the skimmer gets cemented into place

Today, more cement went in. This baby’s not going anywhere…

more cement

Eventually that pipe will connect to the pond filter and pump. More on that when I have something to show you.

With specifications from the engineer, RI Welding was able to make the steel supports that will hold the two bridges across the pond. In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s a 1/4″ wall of Type 304 stainless steel (whatever that means)…

the steel arrives

This afternoon we decided on the placement of the bridges…

the steel bridge supports get placed

After much noise and cement dust, the walls were notched to hold the steel in place…

the steel supports get their own special notch

Tomorrow, the flexible pond liner will go down with the steel supports right on top of it. With the steel in, you have a pretty good idea of what it’s going to look like when it’s finished…

a hint of pond to come

I wonder if we’ll have a pond and patio ready for celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Probably too much to hope for. But I’ll keep some limes handy anyway. You know, just in case.

how to walk on water?

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

It’s officially the first day of Spring! Which means it’s time to get the outdoor projects moving again. Tomorrow we’re meeting with Jim Egan of Land Design Associates for the first time since early December. Up for discussion: how to get across the koi pond.

Let me refresh your memory. This is where we left off with the pond in December, with walls in and the bottom tamped down…

the pond as we left it

This is the original plan for the pond, with “floating” steps across the water on both sections of the L…

the original plan for the koi pond

They’d look something like this only only slightly staggered and in granite planks rather than concrete…

Singleton Residence, Richard Neutra |

Singleton Residence, Richard Neutra |

But how the heck do you make that a reality? The Neutra pond looks like it has a concrete bottom. In which case it likely has concrete piers underneath the stepping stones for support, like this…

pond | steps on piers

Our pond will have a flexible EPDM liner, so piers won’t work. Intrusions into your liner = leaks.

So if we can’t support the stepping stones from below, we have to support them somehow across the width of the pond. You could attach them to a steel rail bridge, keeping in mind that you want the stones flush with the top of the wall…

pond | steps on rails

But that makes it difficult to stagger the steps as Jim did in the original drawing. There’s also some question about how many rails we’d require to carry the load and what the maximum overhang of the rock could be based on its flexural strength.

Floating steps are my first choice. But if they turn out to be too complicated or too expensive to make, I now have a third approach I could live with. While flipping through the pages of this amazing tome

True Life | Steven Harris Architects

I spied this bridge…

pond: a wooden bridge

As you can see, the wood planks are fixed to steel rails that are inset into the concrete, which in our case would be the granite cap that will top off our cinder block walls. No floating steps but still pretty minimal.

Love that look but the bridge wouldn’t necessarily have to be flush with the top of the wall. It could also rest on top of the stone cap. I’d be okay with that. I guess we’ll see what the consensus is tomorrow.

if only…

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Something occurs to me as I look out over the yard of almost shins-deep, rapidly hardening mud…

wasteland 1

wasteland 2

wasteland 3

Had we chosen the Circle Up landscape layout from among our many choices, the pond and patios would probably be done now. Probably. Maybe. Smaller pond means less digging. Less digging would probably have meant fewer sacrificed plants and less brand-new topsoil carted away — both of which will have to be replaced. Now we can look forward to fabulously mucky, slippery journeys up and down the slope after every snow and rain shower, all winter long. Oh joy.

Curse you, hindsight. Curse you.

patios: day 6

Monday, December 6th, 2010

brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! 23 degrees this morning and it barely reached freezing today. Brisk wind didn’t make it any warmer, that’s for sure. Still, the Land Design Associates crew was here at 8 a.m. with their woolies on.

With temps this low, they couldn’t do anything involving concrete. Installing the flexible pond liner is a no go too as apparently it gets brittle below freezing. That made it a clean-up day instead.

Fill went in around the backside of the pond walls…

day 6 backfill

The floor of the pond was raised up some with base, raked to level, tamped down…

day 6 boys at work

day 6 eod

Piles of soil were leveled out and the yard was graded back to something manageable. Then the pond and patio area were covered in thermal blankets again to keep the ground pliable…

day 6 thermal blankets

The stone pavers can’t go onto the patio until the pond liner is in and the coping around the edge of the pond is installed. Soooooo… looks like we’ll have a wait for the temps to rise before much more can be done up top. There is, however, a chance the lower patio may go in tomorrow.

Shall we  consult the Magic Eight Ball to see what it has to say about that?


Day 5

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1