Sunday, June 4, 2017

Improve Curb Appeal: New Wall & Sidewalk

 We had some patio stones in this area with pea gravel around them, for several years and it was better than mud, BUT it really needed to be replaced. This was especially true in the last couple of years when the paving stones starting shifting and tipping because of tree roots. We took many of them out because they were not easy to walk on, but then we had.... mud, when it rained.

This project was a big one and had been put off for a long time, but finally we decided to get on with it and I was glad to get the project started.

 The guys dug and cut out tree roots and dug some more.

Next step was to put a layer of limestone down as a base...  I don't remember how much they did, but I think it was 3"-4" deep.

Next was the rebar. This step is important to keep the sidewalk and driveway level with each other and prevent settling.  The guys drilled holes into the existing sidewalks and the driveway and made a grid of rebar.

 Finally, we were all ready and the Cement Pouring Day had arrived!

We had gone over instructions so that everyone knew what to do. We had to do this fast since the truck would only be here for 1 hour for the price they quoted us. Any time over an hour would be $90 more each hour and we didn't want to pay that!

We had our hand tools all ready.

We had all of the long tools ready too. We didn't know what all we would need, so we tried to have everything we could think of for the job.

We had never done a big cement job like this before... and this was in the FRONT of the house too, so it HAD to be successful! Pressure.

Son #2 had done research on line for this project and we talked several times leading up to this project on what to do.

 We waited and then the truck pulled up and we all sprang into action, ready to rush.

We couldn't get to work though, since the cement truck driver had to check the cement and get it ready for our job. So, we waited some more.

We did a little more tamping of the stones... that's why the tamper is there. 

We had 3  wheelbarrows all ready for this and people assigned to "man" them.  

 Time to dump cement and rush for the next load. Son #4 on the wheelbarrow here and Son #2 working the cement.  Son #3 is at the wheelbarrow being filled and will bring the next load... and I am on the wheelbarrow next in line after him.

Moving along as we added so many wheelbarrow loads of cement. It was hot and we were rushing so fast.

We started to wonder if the 2 yards of cement we had paid for would be enough. We rushed through hoping it would be plenty.

 We were doing another project at the same time... stabilizing a brick retaining wall.  My husband and Son #4 ended up doing most of this job.

We kept watch on how much cement was still needed out front. Rush rush rush. Our hour was ticking away....

We were getting close to the end of the sidewalk... though we did have to go around the corner yet .... the retaining wall curves, so we made the new sidewalk go around that curve.

Cement was almost gone, but it looked like we would be okay. I talked with the cement truck driver and told him I was sure he could tell we had never done this before and that we didn't really know what we were doing,  as I laughed with relief that we were getting done within our hour AND we had enough cement.

He said we were much more prepared than most professional jobs he delivers to. He was REALLY impressed with our work. Wow!  :)  

Still rushing to pack the cement in and smooth it off before it sets up too much. This step was not as easy as it looks!

Closer to the road side of the project, we were still packing the cement in and filling low spots and getting it level with the driveway and city sidewalk.

 We were all taking turns using hand tools and working the cement. I was doing my part here... We were getting to point of wanting and needing a break, but we still needed to hurry.

The picture below shows Son #3 working the corner closest to the house.

 Son #2 is doing finishing work here... smoothing the edges and making the cuts.

This son headed up this whole job...  and that gave him experience while also helping us. We have done many many home school shop projects like this. Dad pays for the materials (Usually, we have to save up money for the project before we do it, but that is part of life, too.) and the kids(and the whole family!) learn new skills. A win win.  :)  Son #2 has already graduated a few years ago, but the principle still works!

 It looks great!  We were surprised how great it was turning out...  Like a "real" sidewalk! :)

By the way, our two daughters also worked on this project... not as "hands on" as the rest of us, but their work was so valuable to the project also.

They helped with tools, cold drinks, snacks, and encouragement.

In this picture, you can see the house numbers by the front door... hard to see, but they are there. Those are shown in the post:    Make Your Own House Numbers

Wow, the sidewalk.. and the brick wall  sure added a LOT to the look our our house. We have had some visitors who do this kind of  work and they were VERY complimentary of the job.

It has been so much nice to use that sidewalk instead of stepping stones or dirt.

The rock wall was a project that Sons #2,3,4 did... they did a great job and the sidewalk made it look finished.

By the way, we bought all of those wall bricks off of Craigslist, which saved us a lot of money on the project. They are not always on there, but if you are needing some, it can be a great place to check for some at about half of the price from the store. 

We added a strip of garden around the inside of the top of the brick wall and I added hostas, dianthus and crocus, so these two projects have really added to the curb appeal of our home. We get many comments about our landscaping...  but we don't spend a lot of money on it... someday, I will do a post on tips to do that.

I was really thankful for the way this project turned out and I was even more thankful that it was a family project and we all worked so hard on it together. Son #1 doesn't live here anymore and he didn't work on this project, but he still gets involved in others, like this one that he did mostly on his own and we have sure enjoyed using these wonderful bookshelves!

Family Room Project:Adding Built-In Bookshelves

Thank you for visiting today.  There are so many projects that can add to the curb appeal of a house.. some are small and easy and others are bigger and more involved. I would love to hear, in the comments, what you have done(or plan to do) to improve your curb appeal.  I hope you have a great week.

Improving Curb Appeal-Mailbox

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  1. Oh, how PRETTY! I LOVE this!! Your house is just beautiful!!! It is such a blessing to see how your dear family all work together to get a job done...the way families should be, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!! Praying for you and sending hugs your way!

    1. Cheryl... so good to hear from you! Thank you for your sweet comment... it really is a wonderful memory... there is something about working hard and doing it all together and then being able to enjoy the finished project. :)

  2. That's just beautiful. Loved reading about it.

    1. Thank you... I'm so glad you came over and visited. :)

  3. It looks like you really did this job the right way. The sidewalk and wall should hold up for a very long time. Your front yard looks quite beautiful. I'm sure your neighbors are pleased to see your project so well done.

    1. Thank you... it really does look nice and we get many compliments on it.. and the landscaping overall. :) With a family and so many activities, it can be hard to keep up, so I like having things that don't need a lot of frequent maintenance. :)

  4. What a great job on the sidewalk and wall and I am impressed that your family got involved!

    1. Thank you! We tend to do some of our projects together and very rarely hire a project done... we use most of them as learning opportunities. :)

  5. I I love the neat and clean look! Well done! That was a big project!

    1. Oh, we are enjoying it so much... no more mud, no more uneven surfaces.... and it looks so much nicer too! :) Thank you for visiting.

  6. Wow, what a lot of work! It has turned out so great though! Really makes the edging look eye-catching for sure!

    1. It sure was a lot of work... but it has been worth it. :) Thank you for visiting.

  7. Thanks for sharing your wonderful posts at Over The Moon Party.
    See you next week.

  8. What a wonderful post. It's fantastic that your family worked together and did this huge project. Researched on how to do it, tools involved, family members participating, everyone's cooperation, all these ingredients combined to start and complete this project. It looks awesome! Congratulations on a job well done!

    1. What a great comment! Thank you for the detailed comment.. what a blessing. :) We are enjoying the new sidewalk so much..

  9. Wow, you guys did an amazing job. You had that all ready to go just like a pro, so don't kid yourself. You guys did great! My neighbor behind me had a new driveway poured by professionals, and he said half the time those guys were whining about how hot it was getting and it wasn't even 90's yet. LOL Great team effort and it looks wonderful.

    1. Thank you so much! I LOVE it when we all work together on a project... we build memories and skills and can all enjoy the fruit of our labors afterwards. :) Thank you for visiting.

  10. I love a family project and the results are beautiful! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

    1. I do too.... so many things get done by "professionals" and it is easy to think we can't do it... but it is so good to stretch ourselves and our family in these ways. Thank you. :)

  11. This looks wonderful! You guys did such an amazing job.
    I love how the whole family participated.

    1. Thank you so much... the family effort is what made it special to me also... I love that and we have made some great memories. :)

  12. O MY!! Looks fantastic!! Love the front of your home!!

    1. Thank you so much! It is nice to have the project done and what a blessing that it turned out so well. :)

  13. Your new wall and pathway look terrific. Thanks for sharing at Snickerdoodle. Pinning.

  14. It looks marvelous - I love the stacked walls.

    1. Thank you! The guys worked so hard on those walls and they did such a nice job... and it all made the house look so much nicer. :) Thank you for visiting.