Week Three: Getting so so Close.

Wow what a change this week. That is how a lot of projects go. You don’t see much happening and then all of a sudden instant change. I think this is the cause in so many hardscape projects because so much goes into taking measurements, shooting grades, and preparing the base. These are things you may not appreciate at the time a project is done, but it means everything when you look at your projects durability.

I said I would go over some smart design choices that saved money and also extended durability. One smart design choice was the location of the grill and step. The upper patio will serve as a grilling station and a transitional landing for the lower dining area. Keeping the grill on the existing concrete pad helped save cost from pouring more concrete or digging footers. We were able to frame right on the concrete pad. Having the grill at the far side of the patio helps give a cozy nestled in feel.

The existing concrete size was perfect. We did not feel the need to extend the upper level out at all. This saved the cost of adding block work that would have been needed if we were to extend out the upper patio. We chose to face the existing concrete to match the stone on the grill. The stone does a couple of things. First, it brings continuity. Secondly it brings durability and stability to the step elevation. The alternative would be to face the step with a decorative block. I didn’t like that idea for one main reason. It would be very hard to ensure the block wouldn’t settle at least an 1/8″ over the next ten years. When this happens the top patio and the step will no longer be level causing a trip hazard. As we have it, if the lower patio settles an 1/8″ over ten years, you won’t notice the step is now 6 1/8″ instead of 6″. Finally it was less expensive and faster to install.

We now have everything finished except the lighting and some plantings. I’m looking forward to getting the boxwoods in. I think they will really help form the space. I think if we get about two or three nice days we will be able to finish. I wish I knew when that would be. I’ll keep you posted.