Sorry I’ve Been Quiet…..But Now We Have a Sidewalk!

Hey everyone!  Sorry it has been so long since I have posted anything!  Life got a little wonky for a while there, and I did no projecting.  I know, I can hear the gasps of shock and then crickets chirping.  No Projecting.

That is, however, all changing now that we are in the most awesome season EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!  FALL IS HERE MY FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!  Yes, that means my boots came out, along with my scarves and my need for all things fall for the front porch.

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My ginormous pumpkin was purchased at Sam’s club for only $10!  Unfortunately, I went back a couple days ago to get another one and they were all rotten 😦

Anyway, so back to FALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I had put off quite a few outdoor projects until fall because the temperature directly affected them.  The main project that I put off was our sidewalk.  Some of you may have noticed in previous pictures of our house, there is only a small concrete pad at the base of the front steps, and no sidewalk connecting that pad to the driveway.

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Notice the lack of sidewalk?

Oh yeah……and speaking of the driveway…….guess who got a NEW FRESHLY GRADED AND GRAVELED DRIVEWAY?????????????

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That is what 28 tons of stone looks like.

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You know you are getting older when things like a refreshed driveway give you the same excitement as Christmas or buying a new car.  So, back to the sidewalk…

We tossed around a lot of different ideas when it came to the sidewalk.  We thought about using brick, but that got very expensive very quickly, as did slate.  Actually, all the things we looked at were stupidly expensive for the length of the sidewalk.  It wasn’t until our friend Jay told us about Quikrete Walk Maker that we knew exactly what we were going to do.

The Walk Maker is this nifty mold that you just throw on the ground, shovel concrete into it, and then pick it up and WA LA! It looks like stone, or brick or pavers or whatever pattern you choose!  We decided to use the “Country Stone” because we are leaning towards a more rustic farmhouse feel.

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We began the process in Spring/Early Summer 2015, but before we could start pouring concrete, we had to buy concrete…..LOTS of it.  I waited until there was a holiday sale (Memorial Day I believe) and got 60lb bags of Quikrete for about $2.50 a bag, and then I took 2 trips to Home Depot to pick up all 42 bags. Like I said, a LOT of concrete.

We marked out where we wanted the sidewalk to go, and then, very slowly, we dug out a path approximately 2 inches deep, and 4 feet wide.  The Quikrete mold is 2′ x 2′ so this would allow up to do two of them side by side for the full length of the sidewalk.

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Once the path was dug, I grabbed the wheel barrow, mixed up one bag of concrete, filled the mold, and then immediately drove back to Home Depot and rented the concrete mixer.  Mixing concrete by hand is no joke and each one of these molds holds 60-80lbs of concrete.  Once the mixer had been attained, the work moved slightly faster, but it was still a slow process.

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When we got half way down the path we dug, DH decide he wanted the path to flare out, which I agreed would look really nice.  That added about 30 more bags of concrete, so we knew there was no way we would finish the sidewalk in one weekend.  We went as far as we could (physically and emotionally) go, and then called it quits until we could get more concrete, and until the temperatures weren’t so darn high.

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It was HOT and concrete is HEAVY!!!!!!!!!!!

We waited until another sale (Labor Day) when concrete went back on sale, and I picked up another 13 bags, but this time they were 80 lb bags.  We waited for the temps to go down (and Hurricane Joaquin to go out to sea) and then picked up where we left off.

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DH was such a trooper with round 2.  Those 80 lb bags were a beast to handle.  I think in 2 days he carried over 1,800 lbs of concrete from the garage to the mixer and from the mixture to the forms.  I used a hand trowel to pack the concrete into the forms, and smooth out the top, and then the form immediately gets lifted off.

Because we did the flare at the end, it took some finagling (sp?) to make the curves.  Essentially, we would pour one mold, then pick up the mold, and cut into the one we just poured to change the angle.  This meant the entire flare has many different sized stones that looks nothing like the mold.

After all of our hard work, we were almost done……until we realized we were 4 bags short.  4 bags.  I couldn’t believe it.  We had to return the mixer, so unfortunately the 4 bags did not get poured and the sidewalk it still unfinished, but we are 95% there.  We will be using a small pea gravel to fill all the spaces in between the stones, and the sidewalk will also act as a run off system for heavy rain to help dissipate it when it comes down the property.

The sidewalk was by far the most physically difficult project that we have done in the house thus far. The pure volume of concrete needed and the weight made it a daunting task and not one for the faint of heart, but no matter what, now we have a sidewalk!

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