Our exterior renovation has more steps than a So You Think You Can Dance routine. And I am back to show you another one. We started with formulating a plan, then committing tree murder, performing a little bush-whacking and finally commissioning Yard Dude Eric to execute dirt relocation. So what are we up to now?
We’re up to the wall.
A wall made from stone. Just like my abs. Yeah. Right.
Actually the stone was pulled from underground when Eric the Yard Dude was grading our slope. As he dug ditches for the sprinkler system (insert heel kick of joy here) lots and lots of rocks were pulled outta the ground and set aside for the stacked stone wall.
And not only did Eric the Yard Dude pull out the valuable (about $450 worth) of rock outta the ground and set it aside, he also prepped the area for my boyfriend to hone his dry stacked stone wall building skills. This wall was going to be established on the left hand side of the yard. And it needed to slightly curve. Curvy lines are easier on the eyes…just ask Catherine Zeta Jones. She seems to get good feedback for hers.
Anyhoo…You can see below how the yard drops off about 3 feet to the leveled out area. That lower leveled area would be our lawn. The curvy s-shaped wall would hold back the upper soil and a gardening bed as well as hold up our driveway. Those are handy 🙂
After work one day, I came home to this:
Jeremy had been working really hard to use our free resource to create the wall. You can see he took creative license and placed some stones facing outward…which actually worked out great because they took up more surface area. And it adds interest. If I were OCD I probably would have complained that they weren’t all unified. But alas, I am not. And alas, I don’t care. And alas, I am a lass…just threw that in for fun.
Okay – now my boyfriend did consult with fellow redneck Eric before doing the wall. Eric even helped him get started. And this is what he learned:
The wall needs to start slightly below the level of the yard…so dig down a bit. Some sites recommend that you lay landscaping paper and gravel for drainage purposes but we didn’t. We are rebels like that. After you dig down a little, lay one of your biggest stones for the base. After that, you must mix and match stones to find what creates a solid and level layer. If you can, overlap the edges of the stones as you stack. Every two levels or so, anchor the wall with a stone that is long and skinny and juts into the hill. Backfill as you go. Use smaller rocks to shim a stone if it happens to wobble. Try to the get the creases to NOT line up. Always place a big flat rock on top for the capstone. The height of a dry stacked stone wall should be no higher than 3 – 3.5 feet….otherwise they can be like Michael Jackson’s drug record…a little unstable.
He was completely annoyed that I was taking a photo. You might say that I was “driving him up the wall’…heehee! And he was filthy. Just the way I like him 🙂
As he was coming to an end of our free stone, I got a shot in progress. You can see how that hunk of burnin love was backfilling as he found the stone with the right fit.
And here is an after shot…ready for sod.
The wall isn’t 100% complete. We still need a little more stone to finish it out. But for now it works.
You might be wondering what we did if we found a stone that didn’t quite fit the bill. Well, we gathered them up and dumped them over on the opposite side of the yard. You see, we live on a hill next to a little creek. And so all the rainwater runs down our yard into the wee stream. With all that runoff we need to form a little drainage bed so that the water has a place to go without creating a sloppy muddy mess. Thus a stone bed for thou. and thus. and thee. and for shalt.
And because pictures speak a gazoogle words…here is our yard B.C. (before curbappeal):
and here is the front yard D.A. (during alterations):
Next jazzy step – sod. And everyone loves a little grass…I sure do. So stay tuned because this front yard renovation is far from over. In the mean time…tell me…
What makes you wanna bang your head against a stone wall?
Is it hearing that a dancer got on the hot tamale train? Is it your hubbies addiction to Call of Duty 4? Is it reading blogs about yard renos? Do tell…