I’ve been talking about paths and patio ever since we moved into our mid-century ranch house some 2+ years ago. I’ve consulted with trained professional, gotten sketches, drawn my own diagrams, saved a million examples on Pinterest. Sometimes it seemed all I was ever going to do is talk. And then I found inspiration.
Nothing kicks me into high gear like a good buy. And by good buy, I mean any plant or accoutrement that I fall in love with and can’t live without. And honestly, if said object of desire then gets marked down by 65% or 70%, Oh là là. It counts double if you liked it before it went on sale, right?
It started with a visit to the stone yard–to plan for pathways on either side of the house. I really wanted 2′ x 2′ pavers, but that seemed too hard. So I picked out 1′ x 2′ pavers instead, and headed to the check-out office.
Of course, I hadn’t thought the project all the way through. But we did expect to get help. At our Alameda house, Bill and I built a low stone wall and, a few years later, a tumbled blue stone patio. The little patio was tucked into a sweet spot, right between the front and side doors. It was our nod to a porch, and we told our neighbors that if we were outside, they were welcome. I’m not sure they could always see us, but most were adept at hearing the pop of a cork.
And another view, from the shady side. I really loved that garden, but alas, the new owners did not. They kept the patio, but everything else was torched.
We learned two things. 1) Rocks are hard to move, and 2) There’s plenty of opportunity for fussing with each other that doesn’t involve heavy lifting.
But back to the new patio project. I have to admit that upon arrival at Mutual Materials, I was entirely distracted by the tumbled sandstone. It’s so gorgeous–as you can see–and nothing like what I had in mind. Then the stone yard man came running across the yard waving him arms à la Obi wan, yelling at me that I’d picked out the most expensive stone on the whole lot. Well of course.
So I told Obi what I was aiming to do, and he steered us across the yard to the manufactured pavers. I guess because I looked so sad, he told me I could pick out a sandstone for my very own. I get a little teary-eyed every time I espy it, and I move it a lot–trying to find the perfect display location. It’s challenging with only the one stone.
Are you getting worried that I’m never going to get to the point of this story? Me too.
So I get to the office and report that I’m after the 1′ x 2′ pavers and wondering about price. I don’t even remember what the woman told me, because right away she made mentioned of the bargain. They had the exact same pavers in 2′ x 2′ and they were on clearance. Some 80% off. SOLD. I ordered 125 pavers, based on my rough calculation–and signed up to have them delivered.
Voila. The delivery dude did make some noise about maybe not being able to get his orange rig up the driveway. But I was having none of that. It did mean that half our garage was blocked, but that seemed a better alternative than double stacking — which he did initially. Ai yi yi. What could possibly go wrong. By some miracle my little Olive Tree is still standing.
Then I called the contractor and got on his waiting list. Because that’s how it is when you come home with a bargain. Everybody already has a schedule.
I can’t remember how long we waited, maybe 3 weeks–or more. And then suddenly, the crew appeared. Fortunately, I had plans in hand.
And miracle of miracles, he said it made perfect sense. Maybe I should have tried this approach with our kitchen design–which we’ve got nailed down now, with the second designer, to what I wanted in the first place–an L and island with two ways in and out, instead of a U with only one!
No disparagement of all the fine designers out there, but sometimes, especially on a don’t-break-the-bank budget, it pays to trust yourself. I’m just saying.
to be continued…