Patio: Our Big Little DYI Part 4

This past weekend we had a few interruptions on our progress, as usual, though mostly fun disruptions like baseball games and cook outs. Did it rain again? Of course it did! Sunday I was outside with my husband and the two older kids (aged 3.5 and 6), digging trenches for the tiebacks. We get our kids started early in making them feel like they are part of the progress. Sometimes it slows us down, but I think it’s important for them to learn pride in their home and know what a little hard work feels like early on in life. They didn’t grumble, they jumped right in. So — outside, under the deck, in the rain, digging trenches, we had some family bonding time. I like to say, it builds character.

Here was our weekend progress:

Tiebacks: These are “arms” that attach to the wall and are then buried into the dirt to prevent the wall from falling or leaning. We made sure to waterproof these, as I mentioned last week. To anchor the tiebacks in place we dig a trench and lay all the connecting pieces, and then bury them again. There is one area we cannot create a connecting piece due to it being a small wall section, so we created a T shape. The top of the T will prevent the tieback from slipping. Here is the visual I asked Drew to get on paper for me, as well as a section I was able to take a picture of that didn’t involve crawling under the deck. Standing in a crouched position, digging wet dirt that is heavy and full of clay really takes it out of you. Then knocking your head on the above deck a few times just turns the mood south rather fast. I dropped the F word in front of my kids, not a proud moment, my son later repeated that word to my husband, and I knew I was in trouble. Pain has a way of delivering foul language to your mouth without a filter. I guess this is what I get for involving the kids in some serious hands on work. Not only are they building their character, they are also building their vocabulary.



Forms for Concrete Cap: We are capping the retaining wall with a concrete slab that is 7 inches wide and 2 inches thick. The length varies depending on where it is placed on the wall. Drew used scrap wood to lay out where the concrete slab would sit on the retaining wall, which helped him determine where angles would need to be and how long to make the pieces. Here is the form my husband created pictured below. He scored some free smooth plywood from work (bonus of working on a construction site). Using the smooth plywood, he created the form and then filled in the gaps where any of the boards meet, with caulk. This will hopefully create a very smooth surface. He has completed numerous concrete counter tops and vanity tops in our house and at our previous house, so this isn’t new to him. Though we have had to scrap some that didn’t hold well.


The men behind the form are workers here to start pouring the concrete today! My next post will detail their progress.

Part 1 to the Patio project is here

Part 2 to the Patio project is here

Part 3 to the Patio project is here

Part 4 to the Patio project is here

Part 5.1 to the Patio project is here


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