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Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...

We bought our 1939 house in the spring of 2004 as a fixer-upper. It's still a work in progress but we have turned an ugly duckling into a home we're proud of. We have done much of the work ourselves. Not all of the projects have been what one would consider a good time. One of the exceptions was building our paver stone patio. Although it was hard work it remains one of the most satisfying projects we've tackled.

To put it bluntly, our backyard was frickin' ugly. Sometime in the 50s a previous owner decided to turn it into a parking lot.

Backyard Hell..before the renovation

Once we were finally given the keys our very first project was to renovate the back yard. We hired a contractor to rip out the concrete and the cobbled together bits of awning that gave our property all of the charm of an abandoned auto repair shop. With a clean slate we were ready to get creative. We conditioned the soil and put in sod, beds, shrubs and trees. It was starting to take shape.

First summer

It was time to build the patio we had always wanted.

Breaking Ground!
Yours truly breaking ground

We decided to go with pavers. They were relatively inexpensive, flexible for design, and easy to install. We bought a presized circle patio kit from a local stone business. Because we wanted it a bit bigger, we bought two additional pallets of different colored pavers with some larger pavers to give a distinct border to the final design.


The hardest part of the project was digging the 8 inch hole required. That smiling picture above is a lie. By the end of that day of digging I was filthy, sore and in violent need of a beer.

The rest of the job became a lot easier. Our next step was to lay some landscaping fabric down and fill the bottom of the hole with 4 inches of AB road base stone. After laying the road base you will need to use a vibrating plate compressor to compress and level the stone. You will want to dig a deeper hole and use more of this product if you live in an area with prolonged freezes. This is an important step because it stabilizes the pavers and keeps them from shifting over time.


Brian and the vibrating plate compressor

After this is complete you will want to lay a 2 inch layer of sand over the road bed and compress with the jolly vibrator once again.



Now it's time to lay the pavers. This is the fun part. Begin in the center and work outwards. This part allows for a lot of creativity. Our design was a circle but we included another small circle that overlapped. We call it the nubbin and use it for a fire pit area.


Brian lays the last stone!
Brian finishing the nubbin

The final step was to cover the patio in sand and sweep as much of it in between the pavers as possible. Using that vibrator again give a go over the pavers, cover with more sand and repeat. And voila...


Photobucket have successfully done the job. For a couple of weekends of labor and about $1,600 we now have a place where we just love to chill with friends and drink some good California wine. Or a cold beer.

Your diarist chillaxing on his bad ass patio.

Now onward and upward to Top Comments. Enjoy!

April 15, 2012

Thanks to tonight's Top Comments contributors! Let us hear from YOU
when you find that proficient comment.

An anonymous submission:

In LaFeminista's diaryThe DNC Decides to Run Away (Yet Again) SixSixSix gave us this thoughtful comment.
From lineatus:
Usually, I send you humorous comments.  Two thoughtful comments this time from my Dawn Chorus diary remembering Julie Waters/juliewolf.  She'd been a regular almost since the start of the series, and her loss was keenly felt.  There are many beautiful comments in the diary, but I wanted to share two that go beyond memories of Julie and get to some bigger truths:

Kestrel's message, which ends with an interesting perspective on moving on... something that's particularly applicable to our online lives and friends.

Barbwires' reminder of what we all do for each other by being part of this community.

April 14, 2012

(excluding Tip Jars and first comments)

Got mik!

  1) Rest in peace, moe99 by Ekaterin — 131
  2) Give them time to find a compromising by LaFeminista — 105
  3) I Am Watching Bill Maher by webranding — 95
  4) The whole episode was bungled. Suppose for example by flitedocnm — 92
  5) IMO, it's what the government does best. by weatherdude — 82
  6) This level of parody is too intelligent by arthura — 79
  7) Shocking! by downsouth — 76
  8) Pull yourself up by your stock portfolio. by Kaili Joy Gray — 74
  9) Check this out from digby: by Kaili Joy Gray — 69
10) I would hope to tell moe99's children by marykk — 67
11) Was just reading a book review... by Minerva — 65
12) Origins of English by Ojibwa — 65
13) A federal government employee by kareylou — 64
14) Huh. by Melanie in IA — 64
15) Funny thing by dp — 61
16) Thanks for this by lgcap — 60
17) Traffic seems a little heavy for a Caturdai. by jwinIL14 — 59
18) My question is...since the dawn of mankind... by rogerdaddy — 58
19) I haz a smug by Horace Boothroyd III — 57
20) Breaking! MGM retires lion, hires woozle by ursoklevar — 57
21) Isn't this fucking great? by blueoregon — 56
22) {{{Ekaterin}}} by KelleyRN2 — 56
23) Well, that was your first mistake. by Kaili Joy Gray — 56
24) Orwell saw this guy coming with his writings on by entlord — 56
25) Hello sweet lady. by Dreaming of Better Days — 56
26) Caturday by Horace Boothroyd III — 55
27) thank you, weatherdude by Avila — 55
28) pupdate: by RLMiller — 55
29) Love this comment by kareylou — 54
30) Wow. John Derbyshire's grammar is a lot worse... by BenderRodriguez — 54
31) Thank you for speaking for the many who cannot or by akmk — 54

April 14, 2012

Enjoy jotter's wonderful PictureQuilt™ below. Just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the comment that features that photo. Have fun, Kossacks!

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