As I’ve alluded to here on the front page, I’m in the midst of a project.
It started off when we moved into the house. There was an inoperable hot tub which was centered in a big plot of the back yard. To make room for anything else, eventually it was going to have to come out. Here’s what it looked like, right after we moved in:
The lender wouldn’t let us buy the place unless it was either operable, or covered over. So I ran over there a couple of days before we closed and built a plywood and 2’x4′ cover and bolted it to the concrete. Problem worked-around.
That pergola was not permitted, and full of termites, and about to fall down. So that was the first job, removing all of it. I got to buy a Sawzall and a three pound sledge for that job.
Once the pergola was down, I decided to cut out the fiberglass shell of the tub, just to keep it from retaining water and spawning hell-bugs. Coworker Joe came over with his Sawzall and we cut the thing to pieces during a couple of lunches.
And then the final version:
So now I had a sand pit in the backyard, but unfortunately it wasn’t the sort the children could play in. I put the cover back over top of it and and let it sit.
Now since that thing was backfilled with at least a couple of cubic yards of sand, I had to figure out what to do with the sand, if I was ever going to actually remove it. After a couple of months with no good ideas, other than “pay someone to haul it away”, it occurred to me that the back corner of the lot would be a great place for a garden. And raised beds would be necessary, since the dirt in that plot is basically hard clay. So I set to work clearing out the plot. Here’s what it looked like on move-in day:
That grass all died over the course of the last year and a half, so first I had to tear up the grass. This took a couple of days of miserable work, rolling back the sod with a square shovel.
That’s what it looked like after the end of the second day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t graded properly, so I had to pick and shovel and rake and tamp dirt to get it reasonably close to level. Then I bordered it, in case I take out that concrete on the left. Finally, put down some weed barrier and started transferring wheelbarrows full of sand from the hot tub to the plot. Here’s that part of the project, in process:
And here’s the finished product, ready for the raised beds:
Originally, I was going to make the raised bed 14′ long, 6′ wide, and 8″ high. Redwood was the preferred wood, as it’s cheaper than cedar and bug-resistant. However, I was able to scrounge a couple of very large shipping pallets from the junk pile at work, after checking their stamps to make sure that they weren’t treated with anything nasty. In fact, they’re kiln-dried, heat-treated white pine. I nabbed two of them, they’re each 10′ long and have four 2″x8″ boards in the bed, underneath a plywood surface. Here’s what they look like with the plywood removed:
As you can see, they’re practically assembled already. A little trimming with the rotary saw and a few bolts and a lot of wood sealer, and I’m basically done. They’re a tad shorter than I’d like, but I have enough wood to make them 16″ high instead of 8″, and the price is right. I’m headed to Home Depot tonight after the kiddos are in bed to get a nice, eco-friendly wood sealer that won’t leach anything into the raised bed dirt, and I should get most of the sealing done tomorrow and Friday. With luck, I’ll get the assembly done this weekend, and then we can plant.