We really did try to hire someone

Remember my awesome backyard plan sketched on a piece of paper? I’ll refresh the memory:

The plan

Even though things have changed slightly, we definitely still needed retaining walls thanks to our sloping land. We did find someone last summer to build all of the retaining walls and lay pavers (to the tune of $15k) but we wanted to make sure the greenhouse was done first since we had so much demo. When we were almost done, we tried reaching out to the company again and *poof* gone…nowhere to be found and everyone else was booked. So we did what anyone else would do and put that project on the back burner.

Rocking it

Fast forward to the summer of 2021…we already had a pile of those awesomely good deal pavers…and my awesomely good plan. We just needed all the bricks. So we figured we’d just order them and try to hire someone else. We called the guy that built our fence and he came out to look at the job. He said he’d get back to us with a quote. We’re still waiting….

So we ordered retaining wall bricks and figured we’d just try and chip away, little by little, over the summer. We started on the patio area off the front walkway. And by we I mean Jim after I threw my back out carrying the first bucket of rock. Go me.

Day 1:

Day 2:

He really rocked it.

All the bricks

A few weeks later the bricks showed up…12 pallets worth (two not pictured here…I swears I can count). Weeee!

All the bricks

My back was better but I made sure to be extra careful not to kill it again. The first row was the hardest…we had to make sure everything was level which started with digging through all the rock. Don’t recommend. Hire someone. Now that I think of it, maybe that’s why the last guy never got back to us. Anywho, we persisted. First row done! We moved so much rock. The next row went much faster though.

Stepping it up

The plan accounted for many steps. Some we planned well for…others notsomuch. We bought these 14×24 stepping stones from the depot. They matched pretty well and made the steps a bit easier as we didn’t have to figure out the pavers.

As we finished sections, we added the pavers. Since we actually planned ahead, we had it all measured out so that there was minimal paver cutting. Yay us.

Rounding the corner

As we were building the front wall we needed to gradually wrap the bricks around the corner to the next wall…tons more digging involved. Matthew even helped a little on this wall…a little. This photo really illustrates the slope and just how high this wall is.

Two walls done, two to go!

Thankfully this part of the yard was mostly flat already…we just needed to dig down enough to match up the bricks with the other two walls. There were still plenty of rocks to dig out though. So many rocks.

Because we had extras

After some extended bickering, we laid out another patio area in front of the greenhouse door so that we could build steps up. More digging ensued…we outlined the area in more bricks including the steps. Then filled everything with rock and built a second step on that. Then used up the very last bit of the large pavers (we just have a small amount of squares left)…we couldn’t have planned it better.

The photos really made this look much easier and faster than it was. There was lots of measuring (and so much bickering) involved…because it wouldn’t be a project without that! We chipped away at this work over many weekends all summer long. On a good note, we probably ended up saving ourselves about $10K but holy moly…that was a lot of work. And rock. So much rock.

When it stops raining (summer probably), we’ll add the caps to the walls, bring in more dirt to level everything out, add weed barrier and finish with pea gravel. Oh and build a fire pit and garden boxes. And finish the chicken coop area (though hopefully we can do this in the spring and finally get chickens!)…slowly but surely!

We have definitely come a long way in four years…



Rock on!

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