What’s New With the Bricks? Thought You’d Never Ask!

It’s been almost 10 days since the last Home Improvement Project Update! How have all you, my many, well-into-double-digits number of readers contained yourselves?

When we last checked in, the front looked a little like this:

Path done; footer for planter/fence done; planter and fence columns not started.

Made a little progress:

First couple rows of the wall/fence laid – 2 more rows to go, then build the little towers that go on either end. Also moved a ton of bricks over into staging position.

Trying to keep it moving, so we don’t have another 2-year delay. Mostly, I worked on finishing the front porch, specifically, the steps down into the front yard mini-orchard. Background: the concrete path and steps leading up to the front stoop had become cracked and raised up in several places by the roots of the very large walnut tree in the front yard. Once that tree was removed, my strapping sons sledge-hammered the concrete out. While appreciated, it left the front door easily accessible – for mountain goats. A little uneven and now featuring one large step.

So I put in a ramp as part of the Deathless Front Yard Brick project. I was rushed, as my mother in law was coming to live with us (that was 2 years ago) so I finished the basic ramp, but did not finish the hand rail and steps down into the yard from the ramp. Finished the hand rail back in April. Here’s where I stand on the steps:

The ramp & porch ended in this unsightly drop-off.
As of about 10 days ago. Had begun to excavate a little and put in some forms for some footings. This is opposite the handrail, which can be seen in the background.

Finished digging, put in minimal forms and a little rebar to tie it all together (you can perhaps see three pieces of rebar sticking out of the footing in the first picture of the non-step above), which required hammer-drilling a couple holes and epoxying in the rebar, then bending it to match the general contour of the steps. Anyway, got here:

View from orchard.
View from ramp. Just mixed up some mortar, about to start slinging bricks.

Did the footings in two steps: first, did the ground level work seen above. Then, added two rows of bricks, the bottom step and the beginnings of the next step level with the ramp. That way, I could pour the next level, even with the current slab showing above, without having to build complicated curved forms. Not too worried about adhesion between the pours, as it’s just holding up some bricks and has no where to go.

Started adding the bricks:

Will sweep dry mortar into the cracks when done, then add water.

Stopped here because 1) I was tired and it was getting late; and 2) I’m going to need to cut a lot of bricks to fill in all the odd spots, and the angle grinder is loud. I’ll shoot for tomorrow afternoon, when most people are gone at work.

Couple more hours, and I’ll have this finished. What then remains for the porch: Mailbox atop one of the brick columns holding up the handrail, and two brick columns on either side of the step (you can see the rebar sticking up on the left for one of the columns) to hang an iron gate from.

Get this checked off, then the planter/fence, then the final simple but large planter on the south side – and I’m sorta kinda done!

Image result for young frankenstein it could work

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

4 thoughts on “What’s New With the Bricks? Thought You’d Never Ask!”

    1. Hey, good job! I’ve been on this task for 5 freaking YEARS, so that you identified a task and did it is way ahead of the game.

      Also, I’m out of work. My schedule is flexible.

      1. I’ll pray for you. I was unemployed from 2001 – 2004. It was – difficult.

        But, re-finishing is re-applying two coats of stain, which should have been done last year, and took an hour a day on two consecutive days. So, you’re seriously lapping me on the home improvements projects.

        On the plus side, though, Michigan is too cold for avocados, so I can’t even try.

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