Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Backyard Transformation!

Our backyard has recently gone through a major transition.  Upon moving in, a two foot concrete patio extended off the back of the house and the yard was stalks of alien Philadelphia weed that were taller than corn, taller than me.  Immediately the huzz sawed them down...using a hand saw no less and I attempted to dig up the roots which only created a ghastly dirt hole in the center of the yard.  The entire ordeal was eventually covered up by a super sketchy contractor who installed pavers while simultaneously wrecking the foundation of our house by the back entry.

Before!  Big Dirt Pile.
Since then, and since the wedding, it's been our primary project to get the yard spiffy enough for barbecuing and gardening.  Our first project involved building garden beds--similar to how I did them before.  I really wanted to bring the  boxes from our old place into our new backyard but they apparently have started to disintegrate.  It took one day to build two custom sized garden beds, and a couple days to fill them with dirt.  Bags of garden soil are ridiculously heavy.  We needed 18!

Veggie Box

Flower Box

There are a ton of tutorials for building these yourself but essentially you need to know how tall to make them depending on how deep the roots of your plants should go.  The veggie box (L shaped) is twice the depth of the flower box.  Other than that it's a series of ensuring square corners and screwing wood into little corner pieces that you can see above.

We also spent a long time painting the dingy concrete wall with outdoor paint.  I cut it in with a brush and huzz used the roller.  It was a post work activity that I zoned out doing.  We shared this job but worked individually...which was odd but it worked for us.

I knew I wanted to attempt to build something with all the tools I registered for from the wedding (clearly not a normal bride) and the first project was our Farmhouse Table.  We used free plans from Ana White that were so easy to follow.

Ana White's plan sheet gives you your shopping list, your cut list, and then step by step instructions throughout the whole project.  She makes it so that you're not buying excess wood and chopping it down to leave you with a ton of scrap.  The plans mentioned above utilized a pocket hole creator -- like the Kreg Jig.  

Once we had all our cuts, all the pocket holes drilled, and the notches for the base chiseled out we were ready to assemble with pocket hole screws and lots of wood glue.

A couple times we put pieces together backwards, which is all in learning how to follow plans, but we were able to fix our mistakes quickly.  The trouble started when we attempted to lift the 100% wood table after working in the heat all day.  Trouble for newlyweds.
Lifting furniture is probably one of the major causes of divorce.  The urgency and lack of communication is a fast lane to frustration and muscle fatigue.  Building this table resulted in a sad Sunday.  But later in the week once two coats of stain and poly were on and twinkle lights were strung, it was water under the bridge.  We are thoroughly enjoying our new-found paradise...can't even tell we live on the streets of Philly!

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