Bluestone Backyard: Concrete, Fencing, and Covering Chain Link with Wood!

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I’ve been putting in long hours over at
Bluestone Cottage’s backyard
, and I have the insane
farmer’s tan to prove it! It’s really starting to look like
something, and I’m so excited for the direction it’s going.
Here we were a couple weeks ago:

When considering what to do with this backyard, it quickly
became apparent to me that a new privacy fence would be the single
most important investment I could make back here. There was
existing fencing on all three sides of the yard, but each side was
a different style: a falling-down stockade-style picket fence,
newer but unsightly (and very see-through!) chainlink fencing, and
a dog-ear style picket fence. In a larger space, I feel like this
kind of thing isn’t as big of a deal—like there can be enough
going on that the fence isn’t necessarily a major focus. But in a
space this size, the different materials combined with the lack of
privacy made it feel visually cluttered and too exposed to use

First order of business was to demo the old fence. I used

my Sawzall
to cut through the rails and then yanked out the
posts. The posts are pressure-treated 4x4s in decent condition
(and, mercifully, not set in concrete), but the fencing was not
pressure-treated and had a lot of damage and rot. A few days
before, I discovered that not only does our municipal trash
transfer station compost yard waste, but they also compost
“clean” lumber—i.e. not pressure-treated or painted or
stained! So it’s not in a landfill, and one day I’ll probably
buy it back in the form of compost, basically.

Before installing the new fence, I took this as my only easy-ish
opportunity to really deal with this pathway that connects the
front and back yards. It was paved with a cobbled-together
bluestone pathway, but with dirt on either side and impossible to
maintain without a ton of weeding or spraying stuff that kills
weeds. I think the bluestone (from which the cottage derives its
name!) will be so much nicer to use in the front of the house than
along this pathway, and a clean and simple concrete path will be
practical and super low maintenance and keep water off the

SO. We removed the bluestone slabs for reuse elsewhere,
excavated a couple inches and leveled, then laid about 4″ of item
#4 gravel. Around that, I built a simple form out of 2x4s, driving
stakes into the ground every 4′ or so.  You don’t typically
the steel remesh
for a sidewalk application, but Edwin likes it
and hey—can’t hurt.

For the pour, there are a lot of concrete options—including
just scheduling a pour with a local concrete company. I was
concerned that access/traffic flow would be real issues, and it
wasn’t THAT much concrete, so mixing and pouring on-site seemed
like the best option.

I found this
Sakrete Maximizer concrete at Lowe’s
, which made things
easier! Like other bags of concrete, they weigh 80 pounds each.
BUT! Every bag makes almost twice as much concrete as a typical
80-lb bag, which is a big deal when you have to mix a bunch of
concrete—we would have needed about FIFTY MORE bags to do the
same thing with regular concrete. That’s a lot of work to cut out
of the process!

Don’t worry, that’s just a little over 6,000 pounds of dry
concrete. Everyone’s favorite summer activity, am I right?!

After tamping down the gravel and affixing
Sakrete’s Expansion Joints
to the abutting side of the
foundation, it was pour time.

No WAY were we mixing 80 bags of concrete on our own. And at
this point, I’ve paid enough to rent concrete mixers that I could
have bought two. So Edwin and I went halfsies on
this Kobalt concrete mixer
, and now we have a concrete

I know, it’s all very impressive. A
pick-up truck
, and concrete mixer in the space of one summer. This
is not how I pictured things turning out for myself.

We built the forms and screed the concrete at a slight angle
away from the house. After it had set up a bit, we smoothed the
edges with

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Bluestone Backyard: Concrete, Fencing, and Covering Chain Link with Wood!