Sunday, April 27, 2014

Backyard Paver Project and Splash Pad

Where in the heck have I been? Just about everywhere, but in front of the computer.

We've had a lot of pans in the fire these days. And since I'm not the best multi-tasker, it has made me a little bananas. Okay, maybe a lot bananas. Anyway, we're still plugging away at them, and the backyard project is nearing the end. We had our pond removed after 14 years. We LOVED having it and loved the fish, and the beautiful sound of trickling water, but when our first grand baby was born over a year ago, we made the decision that the pond would go in the spring after he turned one. We didn't need the worry of having a pond that would be a danger to the little ones. So, we started thinking about what we wanted instead, and came up with the idea to extend our patio out over where the pond was, and to move the fire pit down to that area, too.

So, these next several photos are what we began with. Keep in mind that these pictures where taken on April 5. I hadn't had the time to clean the yard up from the winter kill, so it's all looking a little drab. The lawn was still pretty grayish from the winter, too.

This photo is looking from our cement patio out towards our pond. You can't see the pond here, but it's just after that horizontal row of rocks along the grass.

And here's a photo of the boulders that lined the stream, which emptied into the pond.

More boulder-lined stream bed...

And this is the opposite end from the pond. We have a driveway in the backyard that goes to a garage outbuilding. So, this section of grass sloped up in a sort of ramp to the driveway.

And this is a closer look at the pond.... looking a little green and full of leaves.

These stairs and brick pathway were laid by my husband. He did a great job with that project!

 A photo from the pond end of the area, looking towards the other end.

So you see, we had our work cut out for us.

We had a couple of companies come and give us bids on removing the pond and rocks, and installing a paver patio. We found one that said he could finish in time for our annual extended family Easter egg hunt, so we gave him the green light and sat back and crossed our fingers. And that was 2-1/2 weeks before Easter. They swore up and down that they would be done, and we didn't have to give them any money beforehand, so I figured they must really know they could hit the deadline.

We needed loads and loads of rocks hauled away before they could even begin removing the pond. After having them all hauled in 14 years ago, it was a little hard to see them all hauled away. That is, until I heard that the workers found a bunch of snakes (their words: a BUNCH) all in the rocks. After I heard that, I had a smile on the whole time they were hauling rocks away. See ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

So, they hauled all the rocks away. It took them several loads in their trailer, and lots of hard work.

This photo is from April 8. Still no change in the yard, and I was starting to feel panicky, but trying to stay optimistic.

Finally, on April 9, they came and started hauling rocks away and moving dirt. This is a photo of the same area as above, the morning after they hauled a bunch of rocks away.

Looking towards what used to be the pond.

The tractor that plucked the rocks out and dropped them into the trailer


The old pond area.

This is about the time that my mom and sister happened to drop by. We weren't home, so they went around back to see the progress on our big project. Needless to say, I think they were dubious about the job being done in time for our Easter egg hunt and barbecue. My mom sent me an email later that night asking if I wanted her to try to do it at her place, bless her heart. I told her, "Oh no. The guys will for sure be done. No problem." All the while, I was hoping that those words wouldn't come back to bite me.

Then, on April 15, we started seeing marked improvement. Four days left til the Easter Egg Hunt. Could they do it?




The spot for the new splash pad!

And on the 18th, the day before our big family Easter gathering, the guys were working til about 10:30 that night...

These are the new stairs and walkway where our old stairs had been.

This is a set of stairs that is right where our waterfall used to be, which dropped right into the pond. The stairs lead to a pathway that follows along where the stream used to be.

Nice beautiful paver wall where the stones used to be. And it's low enough so that you can sit on it, which provides lots of seating.


Since I didn't want a pool in our yard, we decided a splash pad would be safer and easier to maintain. And we're sure the grand kids will love it! The splash pad is in the circular cement area. The outer ring has the splash nozzles, and the inner cement area has a couple more nozzles and a drain.


And there is the sweetest man in the world, picking up something or another that was leftover from the big Easter festivities. The stairs behind him lead up to that driveway that is in our backyard.

Obviously I didn't have time to get plants in before our gathering, but that will come in good time. The yard was all usable, and beautiful, and mostly finished. The splash pad wasn't completely hooked up at the time, but we weren't planning on using it then, anyway.

So, my doubts have been put to rest, and I have a renewed faith in mankind. I was pleased and actually surprised that it was mostly done and usable. The kiddos had fun hunting Easter eggs, and we all had fun eating and visiting on that incredibly lovely, warm day!



And now that that is pretty much buttoned up, I can do the landscaping and we can work on our grandchildren's play area, Limberlost. Fun projects ahead!

Splash pad -- up and running!

By the way... the water pressure on the splash pad can be adjusted to any height. When they first turned it on, it shot up higher than our house, which is pretty high, considering the splash pad is on the basement level, and our house is two more stories above ground! We have it adjusted down to a nice easy-going height so it will be just right for the little ones.

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