I've had this vision for sometime now... pretty much ever since we first moved into the house. Time, money, time, lack of vision, and a plethora of other excuses kept me from starting this project.
This would be the year that I'd start and finish the backyard. It had to be done if we're going to sell this house and not get a lot of negatives due to the back being unfinished (and worn down by the pooches).
April: It begins... I wear the dogs out the first big weekend of work. The storage shed gets moved to open the space up more. You can see the beginning of the "trench" where the retaining wall will eventually be. The 2 cement pads to the left will eventually be removed (2+ hours with a jack hammer, yeah, I busted out with the big boy tools). The whole backyard pretty much looks like this surface, well packed down bark dust.
May saw little work due to a lot of little things, but there was the weekend with the Bobcat MT-52 mini-loader (google that bad boy! it totally kicks ass!). One long day of leveling things out on the upper end of the backyard, finishing the retaining wall, and realizing I've now made a HUGE mess back there.
June: This was the month I had to get this done. One big push the weekend the pavers were delivered. Rototill, level, spread, 3 loads (ultimately needing 4) of 1/2 cubic yard of gravel (3/4 minus with a top layer of 1/4 minus), and 4 pallets of pavers.
240 sq. ft. of patio space is done, put a fork in it...
Final weekend of June: Wash, rinse, repeat. It was a do-over of the previous weekend of leveling, smoothing, gravel, plate compactor, laying the pavers, and realizing I'm not 20 anymore.
About another 180 sq. ft. of patio is done. The project (for the most part) is complete. We now have a kick ass place to beat the summer heat. In all, I estimate that it took me roughly 60 hours of labor to do this project over several weekends.
Tools of the trade:
Bobcat MT-52 with bucket and tiller attachment
5 HP and 9 HP tiller (the 5 didn't cut it).
Bosch electric jack hammer.
I'm done, put a beer in me. Barley's satisfied with the quality, that's all that really matters.