What's Happening Now: THE WALL

But wait... there's more!

We thought we were done when we moved in, back in April 2009, except for little details like installing shelving and such.

But, you know, we did intentionally build on a slope, so there was the small (?!!) matter of retaining walls.

Standing in front of our new home

Excavated backyard - February 2009

Fortunately, Dave Monsaas, our excavater, carved some vertical walls in the backyard to help get us started.

Then he hauled up several pallets of "manor stone," which we came to call the "big blocks." They each measure about 17 inches across the face and weigh about 64 pounds (when they haven't been rained on).

We came to know them intimately!

Bringing up a pallet of 'big blocks'

Wall beginnings along the west side of the house - June 2009


We started by using the smaller
22-pound "cottage stones."

By June 2009, we had set up the beginning of a path up the west side of the house, to forestall the flow of very sandy soil down that slope.

Then we set to work on the backyard — the north side of the house — using the big blocks.

We began at the east side, where the elevation was lowest. Now we were working in clay, rather than sand, and it was much slower going.

The photo at the right shows how it looked by September 2009. In the background, you can see the pallets that Dave left on site for us.

Backyard wall in September 2009
Photo collage showing backyard wall in August 2010

When spring 2010 arrived, we resumed work on the wall in the backyard.

We worked hard through the summer.

By August, we had made a lot of headway, and the pallets — each containing 45 big blocks — were gone!

Backyard wall in November 2010

We kept working — bringing home load after load of blocks in our pickup — and, by November, the backyard wall was just about done, including steps and "planter boxes"!

Backyard wall in November 2010

...and we had a little area of lawn.

With all of the convergences and divergences, it seems like a work of art! ...and each section of wall is no more than four feet high.

Convergences and divergences in the backyard wall - November 2010
Front yard - July 2011

In late June 2011, the winter rainy season started letting up a bit, so our neighbor (who has a grader) flattened out our front parking area.

We had eight pallets of big blocks delivered, and started work on — you guessed it — a wall!

At the bottom left of this photo, you can see a muddy slope — which was beginning to form a gully — heading up along the east side of the house.

Frontyard - July 2011

...so — as we were working on the big-block wall — we used smaller blocks to build a stairway, bordered by planter boxes, up this slope.

By the end of August 2011,
we had completed the big-block wall
along the frontyard parking area.

Front yard - Late August 2011
Steps along the driveway

Finally... When guests came to visit, they had a hard time walking up our steep gravel driveway.

So we pushed to complete one last wall project in 2011 and built a set of big-block stairs along the driveway.

Now it's 33 steps to the top of the hill.

We added some yard lights that we had picked up at a garage sale, and the result was gorgeous!

Getting Ready | Well | Milling Wood | Excavation | Concrete
Framing | More Framing | Plumbing | Electrical | Floors | Roofing

What's Happening Now:
Late Oct | Early Nov | Mid-Nov | Late Nov | Early Dec | Late Dec
Early Jan | Late Jan | Early Feb | Late Feb | Early March | Mid-April - Done!