We started the patio/path project this past weekend and the idea was that I would take the week off to see how much we could get done and figure out how to do the rest in bits and pieces over the next few weeks. I was not for an instant thinking that I could finish in a week, especially given that at our house even outdoor space is at a premium.
Here is a before shot (sorry it is a little dark).

You can see the sod before I got at it with the (manual) sod cutter.

The plan is to rip up the first bit of nasty old sod (which despite my best efforts was even at this early part of the season, sprouting a robust amount of crabgrass) and replace it with a patio. To connect up the patio, the space beside the deck, which currently has old red brick pavers (anyone out there want a bunch? They’re free and you can take them away!), and the section connecting to the driveway will be done as well.
So I rented a manual sod cutter and that thing would put any stairmaster to shame. You use it by pushing and kicking it under the sod so it only cuts the top 2-3 inches of grass and dirt and (hopefully) cuts a nice swath about 12-15 inches wide so you can just pick it up and expose the dirt underneath. Let me tell you it doesn’t always work out that way…

Just after the first day.

So on the previous Monday I got a call from a buddy of mine who runs the landsaping company who said they pulled some material out of a clients yard and since they couldn’t use it because it was sort of damaged, did I want it? Well since the price was good, I said sure. They dropped it off Friday and man those pieces were big and heavy! So heavy in fact that we didn’t have a clue how to move them as they were in back of the house and we needed them in the backyard. Wheelbarrow? Not a chance- too unstable. So we went with his recommendation and used a dolly we used to formely move books etc. Wouldn’t you know it, he was right! As an added bonus I got a sheet of chipboard cut down so that I could lay it under the dolly and it really did the trick moving those heavy pieces over rough terrain. The final piece of wood gave way as we were moving the last piece into place and we actually shredded a hole through the center where the wheels were.

You can see how big the pieces are

You can see what has to be filled in with aggregate.

Tomorrow we are getting 7 tons of aggregate delivered to put in the patio and paths. Someone has to move it…