Aside from the gravel I also needed something as a door step as the door is about 20 cm / 8 inches off the ground. I found these concrete blocks and liked the height (16.5 cm / 6 1/4 inches) and the fact that they are, well concrete. I like how the squareness of them contrasts with the soft pebbles.
This is the before in all it's glory; pink stone slabs, weeds, prickly bush and everything. I had already switched the house number, the door bell and lamp though in an attempt to pretty things up a tiny bit.
The step was something reminiscent of a pallet and it was so small so you felt like you almost had to step off it to the left in order to get through the door without opening it up comepletely.
One thing I did early on was to lengthen the drain that came down there at the back so the water won't puddle at the foundation of this extension and also to remove the plants closest to the facade so I could clean it.
But boy did it feel good to remove that nasty prickly thing. The downside is that I now see straight into my neighbor's front yard and they into mine. Luckily they are really nice!
After I removed the "pallet" and started to clean up I realized that the material that covered the foundation of the extension was crumbling down so I had to remove it and reface it. I found this brand new material (which I've unfortunately forgotten the name of. EDIT: It's called Fermacell) at the lumber yard which is supposed to do the trick. Glued it on with a special adhesive and later painted it with "Duva".
This was all done before laying that weed preventing membrane I wrote about earlier and I laid it under the steps too so no pesky weeds would be able to creep up in between those concrete blocks because that would be a nightmare to remove.
Here's that area in front of the door all prepped and ready. I bought an Astro Turf mat so we wouldn't drag too much dirt into the house until it was all ready.
I got the concrete blocks together with the first (wrong) batch of pebbles. Those puppies weigh in at 34 kgs each (75 lbs) and I had 33 of them to lay. After I did the three first ones I seriously thought I wouldn't be able to do it on my own but then I sort of got the hang of it.
Day one I laid two of the three rows, using a level to make sure it was all straight and well, level. I prepped the area under each one by hand and them added or subtracted sand if I noticed that it was too low or high compared to the one next to it. The idea is to lay them 3 mm apart (about 1/8 of an inch) and I did so so on this, some are closer and some are slightly more apart but what the heck, I laid them myself!
I ordered this special sand mixture to fill the gaps and the reason for not using regular sand is that this also prevents weeds from growing between the blocks. I loved brushing the sand into the crevices, because it meant I was almost done.
One thing that really bothered me though was that at he ends the sand would just pour out. There were no instructions included on how to deal with this so I came up with my own solution. I simply taped the ends shut and after filling the gaps I watered the sand mixture down so it hardened a little bit and then removed the tape. It worked!
And here they are, all 1122 kilos (2473 lbs) of concrete blocks laid and ready for something nicer than Astro Turf. But that's a different post on a different day. Oh, the cat cabin which sits there at the end has since been moved to the back of the house again. In it's place I'm thinking of building a square white planter and behind it a trellis for the white climbing rose (White New Dawn) I just ordered and which will be planted in the gap between the drain and the concrete.
So after translating these numbers I got curious to see how much weight I've lifted at the front of the house during my "vacation". Turns out it's 4622 kilos or 10190 lbs of sand, stone, concrete and pebbles! That's one major workout! And that's not even counting the soil and weeds I removed before embarking on this little front of house project. I think I will pat myself on the back for this one actually. In case you're wondering where Wille was in all this and why he was't helping out, I decided to start when he was away in Skåne with Martin and when he got back he had the flu so I refused to let him do any of it even though he kept offering, my sweet, sweet boy.
Today is Friday btw, in case you hadn't noticed! Yay! Happy weekend!