This weekend we tackled perhaps our biggest (or at least the project we had the least experience with) DIY project to date... building a retaining wall. I suppose I should preface this with the fact that when I say "we" I really mean Benny, Roger (my father-in-law), Matt (our brother-in-law), and Mandy (Benny's sister). Benny's mom and I got the task of keeping five dogs out of the way and feeding the crew. (This was a little easier on the earth now that they're finally recycling, although she still insisted on paper plates. :) Baby steps, I have to remind myself... baby steps to green.)
We did our research well ahead of time and decided for our budget and ease, we would build the wall out of railroad ties. Since the wall was only about 3 feet high, these were ideal materials, since we could use an electric drill to go through them to secure them with re-bar. They were also nice and straight, which meant they lined up nicely along the deck supports. The biggest purchases for this project were the railroad ties (about $10 each), the fill dirt (we ordered from the landscaping place just down the road), renting the bobcat to help with moving the dirt and ties, and (in a few weeks after the dirt settles) gravel to cover the torn up driveway and the area under the deck.
I really wish I had a camera (mine was stolen when the house was broken into) to give you some pics along the way and of the finished project. While there was some stress along the way (the bobcat almost tipping down the side of the slope with Roger on it, the fill dirt covering up some newly planted things in my garden when it was dumped, the overestimation of the amount of railroad ties and fill dirt needed--which now sit in the driveway having been rained on for two days... and the electricity in the basement being blown by using the exterior outlet for the first time), I can say that I am exceptionally proud of my husband for orchestrating the whole thing and am so grateful to have a family who will help with a project like this! There is absolutely no way we could have done this by ourselves... especially since I can't help move the railroad ties because they're too heavy for me. :)
When I get some pics on Benny's phone or with the replacement camera, I'll post them. In the meantime, imagine the best looking retaining wall you've ever seen overlooking the best view this side of the Appalachians! Soon, I'll have a clothesline out there, blueberry bushes in front, and a hammock strung up to relax and read it. Heck, I may not leave that place until the leaves start to turn... aahhh, summer and a hammock.
So, what about you? How do you wrangle your family into helping with your DIY projects? How do you use up your landscaping leftovers? What's your next budget friendly DIY project? Here's to living and saving green, with family in tow!