In case anyone is wondering why I haven’t posted any layout news lately, here’s the real scoop:
I had assumed that after I completed the gazebo project I would be able to turn my attention back to the layout on a full-time basis. “Not so fast,” she countered, stopping me in my tracks (pun intended.) The ‘she’, of course, is my wife, Mary. Although graciously allowing me to use a portion of the yard to support my garden railroad habit, she has some definite ideas on what the yard should look like.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go from the house out to the layout without walking across the grass?” she innocently asked. I blindly assumed a stepping stone path of some sort was what she had in mind. But no … nothing ever turns out to be that simple.
First, the existing concrete porch needed to be extended out about twenty feet to meet the landscape block wall around the layout perimeter. Seven cubic yards of concrete and a lot of rebar did the trick. But of course, plain old concrete would never do. Both the original porch slab and the new extension are now covered with 600 square feet of Tennessee bluestone. And, of course, the bluestone needed a contrasting perimeter border of Colorado red sandstone to match the perimeter wall and the cliffs in the Red Rock Canyon portion of the layout.
The old wrought iron patio furniture that had fit so nicely on the original porch looked pitifully small on the new stone patio, so it has been relegated out to the yard.
On the positive side – it’s less lawn to mow. And it will be a great place to enjoy the pond and watch the trains. I figure with the savings in gas and wear and tear on the mower, I should break even in about four hundred years.
I pressure washed the surface on Monday and will be applying a sealer/color enhancer this weekend. A 54” diameter propane fire table and a few pieces of patio furniture will be delivered next week to transform the area into a new outdoor room.
Here are a few shots to show how the work progressed over the past two weeks. This is what it looked like when I began:
Here is after the excavation was completed:
Here is after the new concrete slab went in. I left the surface rough since it was going to be covered with the flagstone:
I began placing the bluestone at the door on the old patio and worked my way out. I place wire mesh over the joint area where the two slabs meet:
Here is how it looked as I neared the outer edge. There is a pretty thick mortar bed between the bluestone and the concrete slab:
Here is how it looks now after pressure washing:
I will post a couple of additional shots next week after it is sealed and the new furniture is installed.