Week one of summer, I bought a half 9 foot umbrella, my Dad hand sawed the two bushes (but left the stumps), and I hand cleared the mulch to reveal the weed block (also known as landscape tarp).
Week three: while waiting for 811 to clear me, my neighbor a few houses down had her general contractor look at my property (she was getting a quote for a patio, as she doesn't DIY), to see what it would cost for labor (I had found out while purchasing pavers that each weighed 39 pounds, and I needed to buy 30 pavers and 11 single bricks. Incredibly heavy!). They never got back to me, and at the end of the week, 811 cleared me for digging. I marked my lines, and ripped back the tarp.
Week four: Realizing that I was on my own, I borrowed a wheel barrow, shovels, and level from my Dad and started to excavate. I shoveled out of the ground, into the wheelbarrow, and out of the wheel barrow into the dumpster. 15 round trips.
Week five: I offered my guy neighbors money to chainsaw down the stumps, but they only had picks and sledgehammers (but didn't offer to help). After two days of my agonizing over these roots, my mother brought me a handsaw, and she held the stumps while I sawed them into bits. Any remains we couldn't get up, I salted with an Epsom salt paste. They will shrivel up in about 6 months, and I buried them well, so as to not disturb the patio.
Hours leveling the ground, putting in edging, and then tacking down new weed block. Followed by lots of sand (no picture of the sand!).
Yesterday, my brother had the day off. After a guilt trip by my mother, and later a promise of a free lunch, he arrived to help. And he helped a lot! It would not have happened without him.
(Sand was left overnight on top, so as to fill in the seams.)
This morning I used a wide flat broom to sweep, and then set up two of my four chairs and umbrella. I found a table, but it is back ordered ( and expensive) for 7 weeks. I'll keep looking.
I'm going to fill the part on the sides (near door on right, around a/c unit on left) with gravel next week. Once that is in, I can finally remove all tools from my yard!
The numbers: the patio is 8' L x 7.5' W, about $500 for the supplies, countless hours of labor. I probably did many things incorrectly, a couple of the pavers are already cracked, but I'm content with it. While most of the hours were my own labor, the few hours from my mother and brother made it complete and I would still be working on it if they hadn't helped! I'm not sure I'd do it again, but I look forward to enjoying it on a daily basis!
Hopefully this wasn't too boring of a post; I'll be back mid week with more of my meals and activities!