Okay, onto the process. One of the things we HATED about our driveway was how it fanned out and basically extended all the way up to the front porch. We wanted to make sure the new driveway was a perfect rectangle and was spaced away from the house a bit so we could create a walkway leading from it to the front steps.
So, once all of the original landscaping timbers were removed, we drove stakes into the ground at each of the four corners of the new rectangular layout, connecting them with hot pink string! Fun! James picked the hot pink because he thought it was more flamboyant. The string would be our guide for the retaining wall. In case you were wondering, we wanted a retaining wall to establish a border, and it will also allow us to build up and level the new driveway. We spray painted the ground below the string to mark where we needed to dig the trench.
To make the trench-digging easier we rented a ground saw, which basically saws up the ground. Not sure how they came up with that name for it. We used it thinking it would eliminate the need for much manual digging (wrong). We quickly realized we made two mistakes! One, and it’s a biggie, we did not call Miss Utility to find out if there were any underground cables, wires, water lines, etc. where we would be digging. Luckily we didn’t hit anything. Secondly we should have used a trencher–the ground saw did not cut deep enough.
After a lot of blood (James’s), sweat (both of ours), and tears (mostly mine), we were able to start laying the first row of timbers, starting in the lowest corner and going out in both directions from it. It wasn’t long before we realized we had a lot of work ahead of us. . .
See our yard is very unlevel and in the middle of the driveway was a huge hump, so we had to dig deeper in the front and middle of the driveway to ensure the wall base would be below grade after the driveway was leveled front to back.
Okay enough with words let me show you some photos day by day:
Then James asked me to help him bury a dead man…
At first I thought he had finally lost it and he was taking advantage of the asphalt driveway coming our way to commit murder. But he put my fears to rest when he explained that a deadman, also called a tie-back, is something you build to reinforce the retaining wall. Oooohhh…
This was day 4 which, by the way, is weekend number 2 we spent digging in the yard. Oh joy.
Day 7, which means the third weekend doing this. Honestly for most people it might not take that long but I married Mr. Perfectionist. With each new board we had to remeasure the entire wall to ensure it was still staying in line and was level and square. At least he builds his stuff to last. And those are the last of my project pictures. A special thanks to Dan & Erin for coming out during the last few digging days and helping us dig! And thanks everyone for reading this post, not the most exciting one but next Friday will be! I will finally have after photos! =) Hope everyone has an AMAZING weekend, hopefully free of digging!