Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Retaining Walls: Railings and Stonework

Heyyyyy you guysssss...

We're back. We're back for a quick update. I know, I know, we were supposed to share the basement and home bar update months ago. But, not today. Someday.
We've been working on a little DIY project lately and it really should be documented. Well, maybe I should say, we've asked my dad to do another DIY project for us.

If we back up a little and look at photos from the build in 2012, we started with two pretty unsafe and very bland retaining walls.

I mean, they did the job. They kept the dirt mud where it needed to be. They were fine.

They were fine for a few years. Then we went and had a baby in 2015. Then that baby became a toddler and started walking, then running. Really, he runs all over.  Also he climbs, climbs everything. So, the time came to make the retaining walls a bit safer. We needed custom railings out back asap.

Luckily for us, my dad retired this year and has a bit of extra time on his hands. Bonus: he's a retired Ironworker. Steel railings sounded sturdy and safe.

Adam, my dad and I discussed what we wanted the railings to look like. Mostly they talked about it and measured. I showed them a dozen Pinterest photos. But still, we discussed.

Then they poured a concrete cap on the top of each retaining wall. They also installed steel plates where the welded posts would be secured.
Then my dad got to work. Welding away the steel to create the railings. He welded two railings. One approximately 16 feet, the other 20 feet.

After he finished, he set the railings, then welded the spindles. Adam was his trusty assistant.
Last, they painted them black with black metal paint. 


Finito. Or so we thought.

About that time we mentioned that someday we would like the retaining walls stoned. If you are new here, my dad did all the stonework on our house. The exterior has about 350 square feet of custom stonework.  Our two-story fireplace is in the heart of our home. He did that too. We love it all, and it's a wonderful feature of our home. It's extra special because my dad did it himself.

Well, back to those two retaining walls...
Next thing you know we are ordering the stone and my dad is back with his tools. I told you he's retired now.

The stone is from the same quarry as what we used when we built. It's a cedar web-wall. We use a 2 inch cut natural stone. My dad picks and chooses his stones, and cuts many of them to create the web-wall. He uses his own mix of mortar. 

He's been doing this for most of the summer, but not every day. He'll come down and stay with us a few days here and there. A fishing trip and a Mexican vacation in between, and then he's back. He even had a helper some days! In matching overall bibs... all the heart eyes right here.

Ben really loves helping his Pa when he's visiting. He's not too upset about the giant pile of sand in our backyard at the moment either. (The sand is needed to make the mortar mix).

I have to say, our patio furniture looked even better when the wall was only 1/3 of the way done!

Getting closer...

And then just last week. It was done.

It looks even better than we imagined.

This was last week, and he's already been back to start the second wall. Soon we'll be having a patio party! We'll report back soon. Probably.

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