Homestead Happenings: progress on the patio

Last week, we started on a project that has been high on the priority list: removing the patio.

The patio in discussion was old, uneven and falling apart. It had been cracked by roots from the bay tree and from years of sitting on top of expanding and shrinking clay soil. Bermuda grass infected any open cracks, lending a patchwork appearance to the whole thing. In addition to this patio, we have two concrete pads where the sheds sat and paved paths on either side of the house. Overall, about 1000 square feet of solid, heavy concrete.

pre-progress. and Stella.

Besides the fact that it’s ugly, I wanted it all gone because it is impermeable. This means that rainwater doesn’t infiltrate into the soil below, but it just runs off, which I’m sure helps contribute to my flooding problem. This circle of impermeable surface surrounding my house also absorbs heat, creating a heat-island effect and increasing the ambient air temperature. Permeable surfaces are preferred because they allow rain to infiltrate the soil and recharge the groundwater table, and air may pass through to nourish the roots of plants. The only impermeable surface I want on my homestead are roofs. And, I needed it gone so I could plant an herb garden, dig up and run a new water line and a lay out a greywater pipe.

I had a quote for a company to come in and remove it, but it was WAY WAY out of our budget, so, as always when we can’t afford the professionals, we turned to DIY. I hired a friend of a friend who’s in the hardscaping business to hammer it up into liftable pieces, and then I’ve been moving it out of the way into a pile. The broken up pieces are now called urbanite, and have many uses. We’ve started to use them the fill gap under the fence and I plan to dry stack some into raised beds. Another friend of a friend has requested any extra, as she’s doing an extensive terracing project on her property. Any that doesn’t have a re-use can be recycled for free at the local asphalt plant.

breaking up


Stella in the Rubble

We still have lots to do- about a 1/3 remains to be hammered apart, there are lots of chunks to relocate, and bucketfulls of smaller bits need to be raked up. Once that’s done, we will hack away the weeds. I have plans to turn this space into an outdoor kitchen and dining area, a space for my culinary and medicinal herbs and a wildlife garden. But right now, it looks like an apocalyptic war zone.

So I’m making the best of it. When life gives you a backyard full of rubble- break out the tiny G.I. Joe’s and have some fun!

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