Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Around the fort.

I have mentioned a few times that we are knee deep in projects (as soon as one ends, another begins) here at our new house, and today I want to share some of our outdoor completed projects!
When we first looked at the house, we noticed the deck (which had never been treated) was getting really grey and weathered.
June 2011

The house was built in 2009 and since we were the first owners it sat empty for those 2 years. When we decided to put an offer on the house, we knew staining the deck would be our first priority if and when we moved in. It took us weeks to finish it (due to the size and the heat of July and august) but it's finished and looks so much better.

Underneath the deck was a hot mess of weeds and bizare looking insects and it was honestly kind of odd to me why the builder didn't put concrete there. Knowing we would have a hard time growing anything underneath should we attempt to do so, it seemed like an obvious (not to mention maintenance free) solution to have a concrete slab poured. We ended up finding a concrete company who also did decorative concrete as well, so we had a stamped concrete patio poured at the same time. We spend a lot of time outside and knew this would be a worthwhile investment. I happened to be home over the several days that they poured the patio and it was really neat to see the whole process. I will admit though, that as they were pouring the cement into the framework, I was freaking out because it looked nothing like the color of concrete I chose (that I spent hours agonizing over). It was dark. And ugly. And sort of permanent.Here it looked dark red-brown, almost like a terra cotta planter. I wasn't a fan at this point.

I nervously watched from our patio and windows all day, and what I thought was looking less than great morphed into the most beautiful patio. I was a happy girl. I was so amazed at this stamped concrete process- it was pretty neat. (sidenote: everywhere I go now I notice all the stamped concrete around and there's such a wide variety of patterns and colors.)
After the cement was smoothed out, they threw a thick dusting over it and then stamped it with a mold that was somewhat rubbery, moving the molds piece by piece.
The stamping portion was relatively quick- it took about 30-45 minutes to do 400 square feet.
After it cured, it was powerwashed and then sealed. I love it. No, actually I LOVE it. Love the texture, love the color.
Next year we will probably do a little landscaping around it.

At the same time the patio was being poured in the back, we had a retaining wall put in the front. This is a project I seriously contemplated doing myself, but seeing as how I can barely find time to paint our laundry room, I figured I would never find the time to start- much less complete a project like this. Boy am I glad I didn't! I was able to watch the retaining wall go up and it was so much more tedious than I ever though in my mind, even after reading about DIYing it. Getting the concrete in the right consistency to be workable, keeping things level...definitely a learned skill. I feel though that I might be able to attempt a brick and mortar planting bed on a smaller scale ( like in the back of the house where no one could see my imperfections- ha) someday when I don't have a whiny, teething child attached to my hip I have a little more free time.

My goal was to landscape this area before winter hit, but the selection of plants aren't great right now, so I think I may wait until the spring.
So that's whats been going on outdoors! I have some fun stuff going on inside too- I'll be sure to share very soon. As always, thanks for reading!


Adinda said...

Your back deck looks amazing!! And I love the concrete that you had poured....great choice! It all looks so good together. Thanks for showing us your home. =)

Meredith said...

I LOVE stamped concrete. J really wants to stamp our driveway.

Sarah said...

The patio retaining wall look awesome, Leslie!! Must be so nice to have that extra hard, clean surface in the back for hanging out and playing. I'm with ya, wouldn't it be cool to play mason for a day and build a wall?! (I always wanted one of those windy stone walls (no mortar) in my yard. And a little babbling brook:) But yeah, I can't imagine trying to get all that done with a baby and a toddler!! Can't wait to see more of the inside:)

Sarah said...

uh, i meant to say the patio AND retaining wall look awesome. sorry!

Molly said...

Leslie, it looks so wonderful! This is the perfect place to sit outside and watch the kids play while drinking some lemonade! Or to entertain. I can't wait to see what you do with the landscaping next summer!

This also gives me a better idea of what this process is like. We probably can't do this for another couple years but we are for sure staining our deck next year. I'm sure the end result is worth all the hard work.

Now, give us a tour of the inside! I'm nosy like that ;)

Jenn said...

Oh my goodness, the patio is GORGEOUS! What a lovely addition to your backyard :)

Lyndsay said...

I love the stamped patio! Both the texture and the color.

Karen At Home said...

Congrats on the new house Leslie!!!!


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