Author Topic: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?  (Read 649 times)

Astreja

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Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« on: May 31, 2018, 01:29:24 PM »
My back yard is in need of some landscaping, to level out some ruts and put in a patio and some more walkable paths to the garage and back lane.

The easy way out would be to dip into my savings and hire a contractor to do up the yard with interlocking blocks.

The hard way would be to grab a shovel and a wheelbarrow and do it myself.  Given that I'm a 60-year-old female with wonky knees, it would probably take me until sometime in the 2020s to finish, if I didn't cause myself too much physical harm.

There has *got* to be a middle way here, something that hits the sweet spot between expensive and physically nigh impossible.  Materials? Equipment recommendations?  (It doesn't have to be fancy blocks, just something nice and flat and reasonably eye-pleasing that's solid and easy to maintain.)

lthenderson

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2018, 01:45:03 PM »
For me, the middle ground would be renting a bobcat or something similar to level out the ruts and spread the sand. If you take your time, you can get pretty close to doing only minimal leveling with a rake. The same thing can also be used to haul the blocks from the street to the backyard as well.

BDWW

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2018, 02:23:45 PM »
The issue of need/want would be nice to know. If you need it done quickly, then given the constraints you've shared, I would imagine it you'd have to pay someone. Calling a contractor would probably be the most expensive. Finding a handyman, neighbor, or neighbor's kid might be a cheaper option.

If you don't need it to be done immediately, pavers and sand keep. You could buy the supplies you need (ensuring you get the same style of paver). You could then just work on it bit by bit. Do a foot here, do a foot there. Of course not all people/personalities are willing to take such an approach.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2018, 02:35:45 PM »
Do you have a vocational high school in your area?
I know the one here has built a could of houses, and from the road they look really nice. The workers are all supervised of course.
They have masonry and I think landscaping programs

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2018, 06:39:13 PM »
We are years away from out backyard work. The kitchen, master bath, deck, and potentially solar are ahead of it on the priority list. However, we have been looking and daydreaming about using crushed stone to make paths in the manner of a loose material patio/path.

You might want to look into that style of construction.

On the DIY front, I recommend finding an equipment rental company for a bobcat and/or mini-excavator.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2018, 06:47:26 PM »
Our styles might be totally different, but in the back of our yard we had a small hill. We built a small wall with pressure treated beams and made it look very casual, kind of like being in the woods on the other side of the fence. I've planted native woodland plants, which beng native makes them easy care.
 The paths were all wood chips that we add to every couple of years. We don't use this close to the house, but use cypress mulch because I've heard termites don't like it. We did it it stages

Astreja

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2018, 11:28:39 PM »
If you don't need it to be done immediately, pavers and sand keep. You could buy the supplies you need (ensuring you get the same style of paver). You could then just work on it bit by bit. Do a foot here, do a foot there. Of course not all people/personalities are willing to take such an approach.

I was thinking about doing it bit by bit, but am hesitant to leave a pile of pavers lying around because things have the potential to go "walkies" in this part of town.  I know they're heavy but people (and their helpful buddies, and their pickup trucks) will find a way to disappear them.  As long as I choose a classic style of block that's available year after year, I could even buy small batches and haul them in my car, and/or store reasonably small numbers in the garage.

One common theme in many of the posts seems to be "Rent a Bobcat."  That would make it possible to level the area in a reasonable amount of time, and I'd love to learn how to operate one of those.  I did some preliminary research and found a local company that rents and also offers the option of hiring an operator with it.  Sounds like a project for late summer/early fall, when I'll be in the mood for another week of vacation.

Thanks to everyone for all the ideas!

« Last Edit: June 01, 2018, 11:30:55 PM by Astreja »

Dave1442397

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2018, 12:15:12 PM »

SunnyDays

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Re: Facepunch-free back sidewalk ideas, please?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 04:35:14 PM »
I did this same project a few years ago.  Because I'm in a similar boat physically as you are, I hired out the whole thing, which wasn't cheap ($13,000 CD; I live about an hour away from you) for a Barkman stone patio, 2 raised garden beds and some smaller beds around the patio, dirt included.  Expensive, but well worth it to me.  Now I really enjoy my yard.  To do it more cheaply, I would actually do the opposite of what others have recommended.  I would contract out the bobcat part, as they will be able to grade it properly, and get them to put down the sand base too.  Then you can put in stones as you have time and cash.  If you decide to do the digging yourself, make sure you get the lines marked first - you don't want explosions!