Finally we were able to start the process of turning this bare earth into something somewhat decent. First we tackled the patio. I’ve done paver patios in the past and almost every time I have the same thought process:
- This will be great!
- What was I thinking
- I should stop now and pay someone
- I might as well finish it up
- That was great! I cant wait to do another!
To lessen the expectation impact of the patio being the 8th Wonder of the World, we decided it didn’t need to be perfect. That little change really helped with our mentality. We were doing this for us.
We bought the pavers from a local landscaping company and they were HEAVY. So carrying each one up to the patio area, laying it, and knocking it into place felt like 3 workouts in one. It took a long time. Once we completed the patio, we moved onto the mulch and stones. After working with the heavy pavers, this part felt easy. When all of this was complete, the whole project actually looked like an oasis. We were all impressed. The only thing missing was rehabbing the pond.
The pond was its own project. Let me tell you. Aesthetically it looked great. It had a liner, it had a hidden tube for a waterfall, and it had an outlet buried in the dirt to power the pump needed to make the waterfall do its thing. Before I could see how much work this pond needed, I emptied it out with an extra sump pump I had (don’t ask). That sump pump made quick work emptying the pond. From there we dug out the smelly muck to really get this thing clean. At that point we just wanted to get the fountain working, which required filling up the pond. Upon filling it up, water was seeping through retaining wall stones meaning we had a hole in the liner. After doing way too much Googling, I figured out how to remedy that problem. When we filled it next time, it held water! We were in business. I connected my waterfall pump to the existing tube only to have the water escape through dozens of holes in the tubing. That was frustrating, because this tube was hidden under earth and heavy stones, which I had ZERO desire to move. Luckily I was able to buy a skinnier tube that I just snaked through the existing one. Problem solved.
Then came the moment of truth. I plugged the fountain back in and nothing. The thing would not work! Turned out the sketchy plug that was in the dirt was tripping the GFI. So my father in law, who could build a see through glass house out of coal, came to the rescue to help remedy that problem. When he finished his handyman wizardry the moment of truth was upon us… again. This time the fountain worked and we were ready to call this project DONE!
What the family was able to do in those 3 months was pretty incredible. We saved a bunch of money, created some great memories, and we had a new entertaining space that everyone could say they helped build.
The oasis was hidden no more!