Friday, June 28, 2013


I mentioned before that when we moved in we called the backyard our "secret garden." It had pathways and planting beds lined in rough stone, a brick perimeter, flagstone walkways and a brick patio off the deck.

Unfortunately I didn't take any good before pictures of the yard when we moved in, but here are a couple from the MLS posting:

And here's one that I took a few months in, all spruced up because we were having people over. We found the patio set at a garage sale (a steal at $250 because it was practically new). The ceramic rain barrel came from my grandmother, who passed away shortly after we bought the house. And our fancy dining area consisted of a folding table and chairs, which were gifted from Ryan's parents.

You can see the brick patio well in the picture above. Someone worked very hard to construct it, but it hadn't been well cared for (I'm sensing a theme here). Over time bricks had been pushed up by tree roots, and moss had dulled their color.

As we lived with the yard it was decided that we enjoy having a patio off the deck, and having a walkway along the house (you can see the flagstone pathway in the picture below), but we wanted more consistency in the space. 

We also decided that though the pathways and planting beds could be beautiful, they had to go in order to make way for a lawn.

These pictures were taken this spring. As we cleared away some of the overgrowth, it was easier to imagine what the pathways had looked like at one point.

As we worked we unearthed more and more rock and brick. It became almost comical the way bricks would seemingly pop up out of nowhere as we dug to remove unwanted plants and transplant what we wanted to keep.

There weren't a lot of pictures taken as we excavated, but we had to take the one above because we figured no one would believe us if we didn't. There were rows of bricks like this one buried all over the yard! Even McKinney was confused by all of it.

There have been a number of moments in the past year where we've wished the house could speak to us and tell us what happened 50+ years since it had been built, and this was definitely one of those moments. Did someone just landscape over the brick already in place? Were these bricks a base for something? Why on earth were they buried all over, sometimes two or three rows deep?

Seriously. Take a look at that pile of brick we created. It's insane.

Moving the smaller rock was easy, yet time consuming. We picked them up one by one and threw them in a wheel barrow, then piled them on the side of the house across from the brick, musing over just how. much. rock. was in this yard.

Some of the larger stones required additional swearing digging and even a two man carry to get them in the wheel barrow.

And here's a look at the rock pile today. The picture doesn't do it justice. 

The last rock related item on the agenda was to pull up the brick patio. It was easy to do because none of the stones had been mortared into place, but it was bitter sweet to be undoing the careful work that someone had lovingly put in to the home at one point.

And if you ever wondered what a 9 x 12 square foot brick patio looks like before or after, here it is. We decided it's probably about 600 bricks. We're still trying to figure out what to do with them. It would be great to repurpose them in to something, but they'll probably end up on Craigslist. For now they are serving as a convenient place to lean tools.

There you have it, our rock removal process. There's not much tutorial involved, but it was a large part of the work we had to do to get the yard back to ground zero, so I thought it was worth a post. If anybody needs some rock or brick, come on by. We'll give it to you cheap, but YOU have to move it. We've done our fair share.

1 comment:

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