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Hedgemaster
03-16-2011, 12:42 AM
I was going through photos looking for things I may be able to use in my advertising or on my website and thought I'd share some pics of a backyard project I did a few years ago.

There's actually two "projects here. First is the "wall".
We had an 8' privacy fence installed along the side of our back yard. Along that side of the yard, we wanted to install some sort of "flowerbeds" and a section for planting tomatoes. This is what I came up with.

Before:

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/YrdBefore.jpg

The wall stones are waiting. First I needed to remove that big lilac and other shrub in the corner so the fencing company can install the fence... I pulled them both out with my Chevy. The lilac had probably been there for around 40 years and it put up a good fight.



Here you can see that the fence has been installed and the wall is under way...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/YrdDuring1.jpg

The last post of the deck was throwing a wrench in my designs initially, so I just designed the wall around it. Initially, my plan was one, long "wavy/curvy" wall, but due to the hight difference from one end to the other, and some other planning concerns, I decided to create three distinct sections, each being a different height.

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/YrdDuring2.jpg

The plan from the start was to make the two beds closest to the house high enough that my wife didn't need to bend too far to plant or pull weeds. She has a back injury, and by bringing the flowers "up" to her, the whole gardening experience is much more enjoyable.



I can't locate all of my "construction photos", but this photo shows the third section - the "tomato garden"...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Misc%20forum%20pics/TomatoesAug06.jpg



After building the wall, I decided I wanted a "water feature" in the back yard.
There isn't much room for anything extravagant, so after showing some ideas to my wife, she was agreeable to having a recirculating fountain installed in the section nearest the house.

I could have (and maybe should have), purchased a ready-built "kit", but nooooo... I had to be "Mr. Do it yourself". LOL.

We picked out a blue pot to use as a fountain, as this section was to be the "blue garden", with all flowers in shades of blue, dark purple, or white.
first I needed to seal up the holes that weren't needed and run pipe through for the pump to connect to...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/100_0911.jpg

I had to be creative with getting the piping back to the center for the upright fountain supply tube. The dog approved, so on to the next step...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/100_0908.jpg


Dig hole, level base with sand, insert liner, add bricks to support weight of water-filled fountain...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/100_0904.jpg


Here's a little collage of the basic steps...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/FountainBuild.jpg

I used a lighting grid (for recessed/drop cieling lights) to cover the liner/catch basin. This allows the water to flow back down to the basin while giving a surface to place stones on to hide it. I also placed some window screen over it to prevent small debris from falling through.

Place the pump in the basin, connect it to the pipe in the pot, and place it on top of the grid. Fill with water and you're ready to go...

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/100_0997.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/Fountain1.jpg

http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g54/pepwalker/Temporary/Fountain2.jpg


You can't see them in these pics, but I hid the "grid" by stacking pieces of sandstone flagstone around the blue pot. (Edit: they can be seen in the collage above) The water flows over the edge of the pot, runs down the sides, and into the basin where it gets pumped back up to the pot again.

It was a bit more hassle than I anticipated, but I'm proud of the fact that it's an "original", and not a mass produced, resin fountain.

All in all, not bad for the first time designing/building a wall (note that several years later and only one stone wobbles a little if you walk the length of it) and a water feature.

Hope you enjoyed the show.

:)

Simpkins
03-16-2011, 12:51 AM
Very nice work! I would add them to my advertisement/website for sure. I never got into doing things this detailed. I think I would have enjoyed it. Is there more money in doing this kind of work? How many people worked on your project above and how long did it take from start to finish?

Steve
03-16-2011, 02:43 AM
Yeah that is awesome!

Looking back at it now, if you were to bid this out as a job for a customer, what is your take on how you would bid it?


How many man hours did it take?
How much was spent on materials?
Would you do anything differently now if you were to do it again?
What do you feel you learned from the experience?

Hedgemaster
03-16-2011, 12:03 PM
Very nice work! I would add them to my advertisement/website for sure. I never got into doing things this detailed. I think I would have enjoyed it. Is there more money in doing this kind of work? How many people worked on your project above and how long did it take from start to finish?

Thanks.

Not sure if I'll include this or not. I'm not a licensed "landscaper", so I don't believe I'm allowed to build walls for people. It gets confusing - I AM a registered home improvement contractor (in PA), so I don't know if that means anything or not in regards to wall building.
I need to look into these things, but I'm not sure who to ask.

I would imagine there is a lot of money to be made doing this.

Hahaha! the number of people who worked on that project was "one" - me.
No advice given, no help digging, or moving materials - this was my idea, and my work entirely. I did do some research online and skimmed through some "how to" books to make sure I didn't overlook anything.

I honestly don't recall how long it took.
Preparation was the worst part - planning and getting the trench level for the first course of stones was pretty time consuming. After that, it goes pretty quickly.

Hedgemaster
03-16-2011, 12:19 PM
Yeah that is awesome!

Looking back at it now, if you were to bid this out as a job for a customer, what is your take on how you would bid it?


How many man hours did it take?
No idea how long it took.
How much was spent on materials?
It wasn't cheap. (I have the invoice for the materials somewhere)
Would you do anything differently now if you were to do it again?
Pay someone else to do it? LOL! As far as design/construction? No - it went almost exactly as I planned, and as a result of taking my time with the base, it has held up beautifully.
What do you feel you learned from the experience?
Carrying/moving a pallet and a half of wall stones and half a pallet of bagged sand/gravel by yourself is a lot of work!



Heh. I wouldn't bid something like this.

It's too big a job for one person to do.
I did this as a "weekend project", so it didn't matter how many weekends it took me to complete it, but I wouldn't do this for someone else. Not saying that someone else couldn't do it by themselves, but I'm not going to.

My responses to your bulleted questions in blue above.


I'd consider doing tree rings or a fire pit, but a job like this is not in the cards for me. It's a lot of physical work and I can't risk injuring the only "employee" I have.
;)

Steve
03-17-2011, 02:48 AM
Well you did an excellent job and if there is money to be made doing such projects, maybe you could hire some helpers on an as needed basis and do more of such work!