|Approximately one foot between the tires and the edge of the driveway.|
|Our house in September 2014.|
Before putting in stairs, we addressed the weird proportions of the front porch, which didn't even go to the edge of the front step.
This proved to be a good starter project for installing interlock.
Including the incredible challenge of matching colours! We knew we had the correct style of block, and thought the newer blocks just needed time to darken, but, if anything, they've gotten lighter. We will fix this during next year's summer project.
|In this picture, the car is parked far to the left of the driveway, to allow easier access to the work site.|
Over the course of several weeks, Stephen used brute strength to haul away the sandy soil that would become the front walkway. It doesn't look like that much in this picture, but it was, quite literally, tons of earth.
In that picture, he is just about to begin preparing the base for the interlock. We used a garden hose to demonstrate roughly where I wanted the curves to go, then Steve put in stakes to help him place the boundary strips that hold the blocks in place.
|Putting in the strips for the upper landing. These pictures are not in chronological order.|
But this really demonstrates why it's important to order enough supply for your entire project before you even get started. (This applies to painting, knitting, and sewing as well. Slight "batch" variations are normal.)
|The view from upstairs.|
After weeks of gravel and sand, it was exciting to see the steps start to take shape. Kane occasionally kept Steve company outside (if the work was not too noisy or dusty).
Then it was time to put in the first pair of stairs.
For the steps, we decided to use faux limestone concrete. They come in four-foot blocks, however, and we wanted nice, wide stairs -- six feet wide. So Steve had to cut those burger-flinging-huge blocks in half.
Fortunately, the blocks were hollowed out -- that made it possible to cut a controlled fault line and then break the block with a stone chisel. But then we had to block in the open cut. A couple of bricks and some mortar did the job.
We discovered that the stone-like faces of the steps produced a considerable gap between the blocks, even when Steve placed them as close together as possible.
We will fill these gaps with polymeric sand (have to plug the downhill opening), but I think it actually adds to the appeal.
So does our daughter. Just one more set of steps to go!
Steve converted another half-brick.
|Steve used cold asphalt patch to clean up the edge between the interlock and the driveway.|
Next year, we'll hire someone to haul away all the nutrient-poor sandy soil and bring in something nice and rich to support gardens out front. (As with the back yard, we're hoping to be grass-free, or minimal lawn. So, for now, we aren't even patching the grass or worrying about erosion.
P.S. Total cost for the materials, including crushed stone, sand, interlock bricks and concrete steps was approximately $3,000. Estimates to have the job done by professional landscaping companies were in the neighbourhood of $15,000.