Sunday, March 9, 2014

#5: Our application for Yard Crashers

When Shane and I moved into our house last summer, the yard was overgrown and the grass was barely hanging on. After not raking leaves all winter and our attempts to rip out every living plant in the yard (trust me, they needed to go), our back yard is basically a giant mud pit. 

Gross. Don't worry, Shane has a plan for our grass which involves a special mixture of clover and wildflowers called Lawn Bloomers, which will make our yard look like a magical fairytale meadow, something kinda like this: 

An added benefit is that you don't really have to mow it...ever.
We also have big plans for a veggie garden, a stone fire pit, and maybe even some rain barrels for green irrigation. 

It only gets worse before it gets better though because we still have a lot of crap to clear out. This weekend we realized the neighborhood brush pickup day was coming soon, so we wanted to cut down/dig out the giant bushes by our garage back door. We had already removed the ones by our deck but didn't get around to cutting these down until now. While giant bushes might be okay in some yards, ours is quite small, and let me tell you in the summer these things become a thriving spider metropolis. That would also be okay if they weren't right next to thing like the grill (where we cook our yummy hamburgers and hotdogs) and several entrances to the house. One got so big last year that when it built a web in the back doorway, Shane shot it with a bb gun. 

Sorry no before picture, just imagine this in a more upright position. Once we cut down the bushes, we realized how janky and horribly crooked the small garage door deck was. It doesn't look as bad in this picture, but it had no concrete footers, it wasn't attached to the wall, and most of the wood was rotted. 

Shane nearly fell through a couple boards when he stood in the corner. It was basically a pile of red paint and mush and I'm surprised it hadn't just fall down on its own by now. 

Yeah, that's really not supposed to happen that easily. 

As we tend to do, we got a bit carried away at this point. We decided to go ahead and pull down the small deck, see if any wood was salvageable (about half of one board is still decent), and make plans for a rebuild. 

With some heavy lifting on Shane's part, he basically lifted the whole thing out of the ground (since it wasn't attached to anything), tipped it over and it was down. 

Now we're just trying to decide what we should do to replace the stairs. We don't really want anything that's going to take up a lot of room. We also know that we'll probably have to have our large deck replaced at some point because it's only slightly less rotted and it's not attached well to the house. 

So what should we do? Hire a contractor and have them go ahead and redo both? Or try to go for it ourselves? And should we do wood, concrete formed stairs, or stone? Leave suggestions in the comments, we could really use some outside opinions :) 


  1. Depending on your time and skill level, any of the options you mentioned (wood, concrete formed stairs, stone) are all able to be completed yourselves. The formed concrete steps would require building a structure to fill (and then mix a TON of concrete by hand, fill the structure, smooth it out, etc.) and remember concrete can crack due to natural settling of the ground underneath and then you're left with repairing that each time. At that height stacking stone would be like playing Tetris with 15-100+ pound pieces and would likely require cutting some stone. If it were me, I'd go wood. Materials are easier to work with, railings are easier to install and it can be dressed up to look very nice rather than just simple wood and stain/paint, ground settling is usually no problem.

    Just my $0.02 - Nutz, TND #455

    1. Thanks for the input! I hadn't really considered the weight of the stone or thinking that we might possibly have to cut them. Wood does sound like a much better option at this point.