Monday, May 31, 2010

The Deck and Walk

The other day, Dani over at Gardening Under the Florida Sun was contemplating putting in brick pavers around her garden. I did something similar around my house about 12 years ago. I used one of those cement molds and laid out a faux-cobblestone walk around one side of my house. It took 64 bags of cement, about 12 bottles of cement dye and an entire summer, but I got it done. One mistake I made was to not put down packing stone first (I laid it right on the compacted dirt). Some of the stones are starting to shift a little.

After I was done, I contemplated what to put in the cracks. I was toying with the idea of using sand or topsoil. Well, I procrastinated so long (as I often do) that the problem took care of itself. After 3 or 4 seasons, the cracks filled with dirt and mulch. Because I have a lot of trees, the shade was conducive for moss growth. Viola, problem solved. After a few more seasons (and especially the last 2 wet ones) the moss filled in with a vengeance and actually looks kind of cool.

We've had a couple of late winter snows where the snow laid out he moss for a couple of weeks. When it melted, the moss was almost a neon green color. Wish I had a picture of that.

Last week I took all of the furniture, plants and crap off of the deck to clean it. Because of the trees, it gets really dirty, so I chemical clean and power wash it every year. It's a lot of work but the deck has held up for 16 seasons. The chemical cleaner leaves a bleached look to the wood. I sealed it with Thompson's Water Seal and it darkened it up nicely. So I'm good for another year.

The weather was so nice on Saturday that the Pudge and his buddy were enjoying there lunch up in the Pirate Ship. I don't keep it up as well as the deck and it needs some maintenance - mostly in the rigging. They did fix the cannon by themselves (it fires tennis balls about 25 feet).


Heff said...

I'm about to undergo the "Paver Nightmare" around my grill, hopefully within the next month.

With the look of your deck, in my opinion, you REALLY should have applied some "Seal And Stain" before putting on the Thompson's Water Seal.

- Just Heff's opinion...

Sharon Rudd said...

Aww, Buzz, this looks mighty fine indeed, for your whole family! Love the Pirate Ship!

I recently had to hire in friends (hopefully some will real skills this go 'round) to keep my screened porch from caving in around my ears. It seems so blemish-less that I'm half-way between making it look more "decorated" and comfortable so I'll actually invite people over, and almost being afraid to mess it up. However, I did purchase some gi-hugic hanging plants today.

Great job, Buzz. I am always appreciative and energized when I see others' photos and efforts. Wish I could hire you out, but I know you have plenty on your hands. Thanks for sharing.


Dani said...

Daaaaaaaaaamn Buzz!!! Can I come and just set up house on your AWESOME porch? It's GORGEOUS!! And the still my heart. :)

Buzz Kill said...

Putting in pavers yourself is a lot of work but really good exercise and very satisfying after you're done. Also inexpensive. I probably spent less than $300 dollars. I would definitely use some kind of compacting or leveling sand first so the pavers won't shift on you.

Deck staining is just more work to maintain the color and I like the natural color of the wood anyway. These pictures don't really do it justice and it was still wet with sealer when I took these pics.

With projects like these you really have to know your limitations (and those of your friends) or else it can be disasterous. If you're doing anything structural with the porch, I'd want to make sure my friends knew what they were doing.

The Mrs has all kinds of hanging and potted plants around the property. That's her department and I just move them around when I need to clean. She just had me powerwash 5 big pots that took me the better part of an hour to do.

You were the inspiration for this post, so I'm glad you liked. I can't stress enough the use of compacting or leveling sand under the pavers. I'm not sure how moss would do in sunny Florida unless you get shade and it stays damp around the pavers. It's a nice look but it takes years to get like this.

Heff said...

I'm going to space my pavers about 1/4 inch apart each, and sweep dry mortar mix in the cracks.

Then of course, use the hose with a "shower head" attachment to wet the mortar.

That'll probably be a post on my blog. If I get around to it, lol.

Dani said...

The landscaping reminds me of my inlaws old place in Jersey. So lush and green!

Karl said...

Good afternoon Buzz Kill,

Arrr, you need to wip bitter end of that messenger going up to the quarterdeck of your pirate ship, it looks lubberly. The rest will pass inspection.

You could try a gasoline compactor to stabilize the pavers. But it would kill your moss and may crack a few of them. (Heff: do this before you set your pavers)

Buzz Kill said...

Your going for a more finished walk. That'll look nice and I await the post. I would also recommend that Donna bring you a drink every 15 minutes.

It's only that way now because of all the rain. It will be pretty dry by July.

That's not a messenger, it's an UNREP rig. I have the other end on a pulley off of the deck "kingpost" (look at picture 5 again). That's how I got the lunch up to them.

It's only a couple of pavers per season that sink or buckle up. I just dig them up and reset them - no big deal. I think if I had put a couple of inches of tamped down leveling sand down first, I wouldn't have any problems - with the pavers.

moi said...

Totally cool job on the pavers—love that look. And, dude, that's one huuuuuuuge deck! I'm thinking, Buzz's house for future Blog Summit.

Pam said...

Great job on the pavers, I love the moss too. We wouldn't get that around here. Am sure it was a ton of work but as you said, lots of satisfaction in a job well done.

Pam said...

P.S. That pirate ship is the 'bizness' ...

Buzz Kill said...

Go big or go home. That was as big as the building inspector would allow. Not that I would have gone bigger because I would have had to dig more footings and theat was hard work in the South Jersey clay. Once the Mrs gets all her stuff on it, it's not so big afterall.

The boys really only play in the pirate ship when their friends come over. I need to get up there and fix the railing and some of the rigging.

Jenny said...

I love all of this. *sigh*

tell me again how you DIY. You KNOW how I feel about a man and his projects.

*be still my heart*

bwahahhaha. Nice!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buzz Kill said...

Yeah, you should have seen me out there with my Black & Decker 1100 psi power washer, 20 foot extension ladder and Ortho spray bottle with Wolman Bright-Deck Chemical Cleaner. Wearing shorts, work boots and a John Deere ball cap, sweat glistening off my furrowed brow and heavily tattooed arms. *scratches self*

Did that do it for you?