Monday, April 18, 2016

DIY Yard Project Day 1

So the Back Yard Project 2016 is now known as the Back Breaking Project 2016.  Unofficially, officially, and all levels in between.

Today I woke and discovered I'd jammed my thumb somehow and it hurt like crazy, so running the rototiller was sort of out of the question this morning.  So I decided to go ahead and level out the area where I want the sand box for the kids (in between the clothes line post and the tree next to the fence) all by hand. A lot of digging and raking and sifting through to get all the twigs and rocks out.

I pounded in the edging that will have the weed cloth stapled to it on the inside, and then soaked the dirt real good to see where the water would pool.  One more leveling out tomorrow and then the weed cloth and sand goes in. This is the garden edging I'm using from Canadian Tire.  I'll be buying two more sections of this style to go along the fence at the back of the sand box.  Ironically, the entire length of the back fence has a horizontal board at the very bottom, except of course, for the section of the fence where the sand box will be.  I'll need those sections back there to keep the sand contained.   I want to get this project done before getting to the others so that the grand kids have a place to play while the yard is still being worked on :)  They usually head straight for the sand around the fire bowl, so now they'll have their very own area.

I took a break for a few hours and the thumb felt better so I decided to run the rototiller.  I've never run a rototiller in my life. I'm really glad no one was watching me. If they were, they would have been rather entertained and heard "oh my goodness you idiot!" several times.  After a few awkward trial and error moments, I got it figured out.

I also figured out:
a.) it does NOT like any kind of a grade at all and our yard definitely has one and
b.) it isn't really self-propelled even though the blade design technically pulls it forward (except when you hit a really hard packed section, then it just tries to dig a hole to China) and
c.) I had it at the lowest depth the entire time and didn't realize it until I was almost done. It really didn't need to be, unless I was trying to make it as hard as possible to run one, for the first time.

The directions that came with the tiller say you're supposed to go in a vertical S pattern then go back over the area in the same S pattern but horizontal, to make sure you've properly tilled the entire area. Which is fine, and sounds like logical advice.  If you're not tilling concrete, that is.  I had no idea how hard packed the dirt was in our back yard until today.  Now I understand why the lawn looked yucky even before the fence guys turned it into a mud hole.  Funny thing is, where it was all muddy a few days ago, the tiller worked great.  Where the grass still shows, not so much.  Tomorrow, Lord willing, back willing, I'll get back at it. Most of the yard has had the once over, so I'll raise the blades up a bit and go over it again tomorrow.

I'm still debating on whether or not to buy the sod and do it all myself (I've done it twice before, so at least I know how to do that), or call the landscaping guys and have them do it.  Right now, my back is screaming "have them do it you idiot!".  Usually when your back is saying stuff like that, it's a good idea to listen.  But, we'll see.