Friday, January 29, 2010

With a Little Path Running Down the Middle...

3 big piles

Wednesday morning I started working on the front walk again. Gravel and sand were due at 10AM and the pavers some time after that, but I wasn't sure how long the break in the rain would last, so I worked at a faster pace than I might have otherwise. The gravel and sand arrived as scheduled, and then I went and rented a plate compactor before the pavers arrived. In short order I had 3 big piles of materials, a heavy machine, and a flight of stairs to take them all down.

the machine

I lost track of how many buckets of gravel I carried down, but eventually got the space filled and then turned to compacting it. The compactor made quick work of compacting the gravel (actually, "engineered fill", which is recycled concrete that's ground up into something like gravel) to a good level. I checked the level of things with my screed, and added some gravel where needed, then recompacted.

At this point my arms were tired enough that I was happier bringing down the sand one bucket at a time instead of two like I did with the gravel. And I didn't need as much, since it was about 1" of sand vs. 3" or so of gravel. Laying the pavers went fairly quickly, but even for a 32' long walkway it takes a lot of pavers. So I only made it about 1/3 of the way down with pavers before it was too dark to work, and waited for K to come home to be sure she saw the piles in the carport and could fine her way down the path in the dark.


Thursday I started up again early, hauling more sand and placing more pavers. On one of my countless trips up to the carport, a couple of guys drove up in a pickup asking if I had any work for them. We talked for a bit, but I was somewhat distracted because I wanted to get back to work. They were really hungry for work, so we settled on a wage and they got right to work. They brought down more sand and pavers as fast I could place them, so in short order I'd placed all but the pavers needing cuts at the end. While I worked on cutting the last pavers, Rene and Raul put some gravel along the edge opposite the concrete berm and spread sand over the top of the pavers to fit into the cracks. I fired up the machine again to help work the sand in and to firmly set the pavers into the sand under them.

I ended up doing a local jobs stimulus plan, paying two workers for half a day instead of renting the machine for a second day. Besides the path, I had them move the leftover gravel and sand to various places around the yard, move some stuff, and they even helped me carry an old stump up to the carport for eventual disposal. I was pleased with the trade-off, and they were pleased with the paying work. I got Rene's phone number in case I have more work for them later.

final results

With their help to speed me along, I even had enough time to rearrange some of the low voltage lights along the path and add a new one at the bottom of the stairs. I'm very pleased with the final result. Well, almost final. I'll need to add more sand to the cracks as what's there settles, but it's a joy to have a smooth, level, sturdy path to walk down now instead of the lumpy, wobbling brick path that was here when I bought the house 16 years ago.


jake said...

It came out mighty nice! From the pics it looks like those stones have been there for ages. GREAT JOB! -1916home

NV said...

WOW, Gene, that looks awesome! Yeah, a little help can go a looooong way on jobs like these. (I’m having déjà vu from summer ’08!)

I envy you that you could have your gravel and sand delivered in bulk. I’m sure that made the job go a lot faster, too!

And Dave’s right – it DOES look like it’s always been there. I think that was one of my favorite things about my brick path: It looked right at home!

Unknown said...

Thanks! Hopefully it will be there for ages :-)