It may look like there has not been much going on in our residence over the past 2 weeks, the opposite is actually true. We have 2 projects going at the same time: patio and half bathroom downstairs. The half bath is going much slower than planned, painting the cabinets has been compromised by the Texas heat and humidity. It’s either raining, too humid, or too hot to paint so I’ve just been slowly plastering and sanding bathroom walls the last three weekends. But more on that later (not today).
Meanwhile, Dmitry took the initiative and took on project management role for the patio. We purchased Applaro seating from Ikea about 5 weeks ago when they were having a 20% off sale for Family members. Ever since then the furniture set in boxes in Dmitry’s car. And finally the patio saw some action the last two weekends.
Here’s what it looked like before. Our “construction” chairs, random greenery, messy edges, growing weeds.
The other side was even worse with all the “construction” mess and overgrown peppers.
We wanted to start fresh, but we didn’t want to just toss all the plants in the trash so we posted them on Craigslist for $30 and what do you know? Dmitry found a buyer! They even helped dig everything out!
Now that we had a clean slate to work with, it was much easier to proceed.
Originally we wanted to build a stone retainer wall about 6 to 8 inches off the ground, kind of like this. But the more we thought about it, we decided that the stone option would be too costly, too complex, and we would lose some square footage because of the stone’s thickness. So Dmitry came up with a much simpler and cheaper solution to build a retainer wall from 2″ x 6″ boards.
We went to Home Depot and picked up a circular saw (we didn’t have one and bought the cheapest option they had available, which happened to be Ryobi and it did its’ job great), 1/2″ threaded rods, and five 2″ x 6″ boards.
Dmitry prepped further by pulling out the existing rubber wall and transplanting the rest of the plants into buckets. In this process we learned that we have very rich black soil here, which is unusual for Texas that is known for its’ clay and sandy soil.
Worms and other creatures concur about the greatness of our soil.
Now that everything is clean and prepped, Dmitry measured and marked the boards (inside, of course, where the AC is, because it is 110F degrees outside).
And now for cutting, this was pretty much his set up…
He used a smaller board to help him guide the saw straight, but this saw actually has a laser guide on it as well. For the connecting edges of the board (where one boar meets the other), he cut at 45 degree angles to make connections more smooth.
He then marked the spots for the rods and started drilling using a 1/2″ drilling bit. The green tape is to let him know when to stop so he doesn’t drill too deep.
Here’s a cool shot of the saw dust.
Then he inserted the rod and gave it a good twist.
After then it was more of the same: measure, cut, drill, twist…
Then came the install where a little bit of yoga training can be a huge advantage!
Now to the fun part – staining. Originally we wanted to match the fence staining to the Applaro furniture, but our Ikea was out of the Varda stain, so we picked up the closest match we could find at Home Depot. The good thing is that it comes in a huge bucket and we can use it for many more projects. I just used a regular cheap brush to apply the stain.
I applied one coat and let it dry for a couple of hours per instructions, then applied a second coat. You don’t have to do 2 coats, we tested in between and one coat was already water repellent, but we wanted a darker, richer color.
And here is our complete patio border fence! The right side has been stained twice and the left one only once at this point. It’s also a little bit high right now to make it easier to stain, I plan on pushing the fence in the ground a bit more when we are completely done.
Oh yeah, and while Dmitry was cutting the 2″ x 6″ outside, I was inside busy assembling the Applaro furniture. It was a breath to put together, and actually feels very sturdy. Once outside, only a few connecting brackets needed to be secured in place and it started raining. But Dmitry was determined to complete this one and cross it off his list.
It seems to have held up pretty well through its’ first rain. Never mind the dying hanging plant.
Now we just need to pick up some cushions and buy some new plants! I was going to make my own cushions, I have the padding, but after evaluating the cost of exterior fabric, sealant, and my labor I decided that buying ready-made cushions is a better option in this case. And now that we saved nearly $200 by going with wood instead of stone, that money can be invested int he decorative accessories for the patio.
What did you do this weekend? I noticed that most of the outdoor/patio stuff in stores has been put on clearance and mostly sold out, is it really back to school time for everyone? Are we late on our project? Did you get any good deals on outdoor furniture?