Forewarning: This is probably going to be a 10 part series (if I’m lucky).
Jeff and I bought a house about 2 and a half years ago in SW Portland in the beautiful Multnomah Village. When we purchased the house, we knew that over the years there were going to be a lot of projects we had to complete. For example, the entire house was canary yellow. Every room. Every wall. Now while I love yellow, walking into a house made for Big Bird was never my dream. So we started with the small projects: painting, switching drawer pulls and door knobs, taking down some “spider bush shrubs,” and things like that.
This summer we decided the backyard was going to be our next project. We wanted to put in a patio, have a grassy area for the dogs, a little fenced off garden for me, and a fire pit to enjoy with friends! How hard could that be? Unfortunately as we’ve come to learn, its A LOT harder that we anticipated, so we’re taking it one step at a time.
The long side of our back yard was 100% deck. And unfortunately the deck was completely rotted and split when we moved in. Jeff and a friend one Saturday got some saws and crowbars and ripped the whole deck out. We were one step closer! But as we discovered underneath the deck had been built upon cement blocks buried pretty well into the ground.
My mom and I spent a good hour trying to dig them out with any tool we could find in the garage, but after an hour of backbreaking work, we’d only removed two. Jeff had the idea of going to Home Depot and renting a jackhammer to try and break them up into 2-4 pieces to make them easier to remove.
So after watching some “how to” videos on Youtube, he was ready. He headed off to Home depot and rented a Makita Jack Hammer through their Tool Rental Program. I’d never used it before, but after Jeff talked about the process, we’ll definitely rent some more equipment in the future.
As much as I wanted to try and use the jackhammer (I love power tools!) it was a lot heavier than I anticipated, so after breaking up 2 blocks I decided to hand it back over and be the block mover instead of the block breaker.
It only took us a little over an hour to break up and remove the other 28 blocks. So I’d say time and money well spent!
Next week we’ll be renting a Rota Tiller through Home Depot and breaking up and leveling out the dirt back there, from there its soil and grass!
Have any of you taken on big backyard projects? What’s your advice for some first time home owners trying to make the most of their yard on a limited budget?