Thursday, January 16, 2014

Limestone blocks for the raised garden

With the concrete footing for the raised garden poured, we can now compute how much limestone we need to finish the project.  The concrete has been poured to be level all the way around.  It's not perfect, but pretty close -- we will use a bed of mortar on the bottom course to even things out.  At the deepest point, it is about 16 inches below the pathway surface.  If the blocks are 6x6, that means 3 courses will be below ground level at this point.  We want the garden to be raised about the same as before, which would be 16 inches.  So that means about 32 inches, or 5 courses total.

Each course is 10 feet deep by 16 feet long, so 52 linear feet per course, and with 5 courses, that would be 260 linear feet.  At 6x6, that would be 65 cubic feet.  I measured pallets, and they seem to be about 31 inches by 48 inches by 40 inches, or 33 cubic feet. So I need two pallets.  And then I could go get individual pieces if I need more.

We bought the two pallets at Whittlesey Landscape Supplies.  The two pallets of stone were 7460 pounds of 6x6 dry stack for $535.35.  A cubic yard of decomposed granite was $57.93.  With another $90 for delivery.  6 bags of mortar from Home Depot.

We moved all this around back, laid out a string line to define the rectangle that should be where the stones go and started laying them out. Once they were laid out, mortar was put on the concrete footing, and the stones put on that, to try to get things level.

After this has a chance to dry, we put another layer of stone on top of this for the second course.

And a third course.

And a fourth course.

The rock debris that was inside the raised garden, was put out for Craig's List or used to fill in the pathway around the raised garden.  Once that was filled in, decomposed granite was put over it, to create a smooth surface.

We still have to mortar this fourth course, but this seems to work pretty well.

There is a significant slope from left to right (North to South).

Another half cubic yard of decomposed granite from Whittlesey Landscape supplies -- this time I borrowed a pick-up rather than have it delivered. $20.84, on 15 Feb 2014.

The gaps between the stones on the top (4th) course worried me.  But if I filled them up, I would want to make it "like" the limestone.  I found that there is "white mortar", so I bought a bag (50 lbs) of that (Home Depot).  It is about 4 times more expensive than regular mortar, but it is much closer to "white", like the limestone.  I filled all the vertical gaps for the 4th course of stone, so that dirt and bugs and stuff will not sink down into that.

In addition, I used the left-over mortar to smear on the inside of the walls, giving a sort of plaster sealed finish on the inside.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pouring the Raised Garden Foundation Walls

Once we have completely dug out the raised garden, we can start forming the walls that will support the limestone 6x6 blocks of the wall around the new raised garden.  We start at the highest spot, which will have the lowest wall.  The objective is to pour a cement wall all around the raised garden at the same level, so that the blocks will be level when placed on the wall.

Forms were  put along the entire side of the pit, and then down both sides.

This gives us a concrete wall as a footing for part of the raised garden pit.


We then extended this across the North end, and around the corner to the back wall.

And then across the back wall, and turn a corner to tie back in to the original pour.

This has taken 63 80-pound bags of concrete so far.  Two trips to Home Depot on 16 Nov -- 21 bags for $73.88 and 15 bags for $52.77.  Then another trip for 20 bags for $70.36 on 27 Dec 2013.  And another trip for 7 bags on 14 Jan for $30.85.

With this last trip to Home Depot, we have enough to finish the cement.  First we frame up the last section.

And once we pour, we have completed the box that defines the raised garden.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Coat Closet Door Handle

The door to the coat closet off the living room jammed and would not open.  Taking the entire door off, and door knob, I eventually got it open, to find that the slide for the bolt was broken and the shaft going thru it was twisted.  These were the original hardware pieces from when the house was built (Gainsbourgh), so it was 30 years old.

Rather than try to find the correct replacement pieces, we replaced the entire mechanism with a more contemporary lever handle, similar to what we have on the kitchen/garage entry door.  This is a Kwikset Tustin Satin Nickel Hall & Closet (720 TNL 15) Signature Series, $31.25 from Home Depot.

This is continuing the switch from the polished brass to Linda's preferred Satin Nickel finish, and also switching from crystal door knobs to levers.