We worked rather hard this weekend for not much visible progress but we're learning that sometimes that's how it goes. Brian's friend Tim was in town on Saturday and was a huge help in moving the heavy pavers and wall blocks into the backyard - the pavers are just under 20 pounds each and the wall blocks are about 60 pounds so there's a lot of lifting involved! And Adam came back today (thanks, Adam!) so we had plenty of help over two days but there was even more prep work to be done than expected. It didn't help that we had a false start on Saturday afternoon with the patio layout and wall. At first, we thought we wouldn't need a retaining wall at all on the right side of the patio but then it became clear that there was too much slope to just taper the landscape as planned. Then we figured we would install a retaining wall flush against the patio and spent a fair amount of time laying string lines, measuring it out, and digging a trench for a straight wall (see the first picture). And then...we reconsidered. Putting the wall flush against the patio would mean that the wall caps would look like a border on the patio - but only on that one side. We decided to sleep on it and this morning came up with a new and better plan but one that required basically starting over. We've now installed a curved retaining wall a few feet off the patio and will have landscaping between the wall and the patio to give the patio some more green space and shape. So, we had to fill in the original trench, dig a new one, and install each 60 pound wall block - not an easy task but we got it done!
Then we had a rain delay when the storm hit so we moved inside and grouted the kitchen backsplash. We continue to creep towards completion in the kitchen. We still need to install the crown molding over the cabinets but it's all starting to shape up now. Once the rain cleared, we want back out and moved the gravel around (because what better time to move gravel than after it has rained and is extra heavy?) and compacted it down to create a level patio. I'm glad we did the parking pad first to get some experience because there's very little room for error on the patio - it needs to be straight from side to side but sloped slightly away from the house so we need to lay string lines with the gravel, sand, and the pavers to keep everything straight and level. It's a much more involved process and likely to be a lot slower but we're ready now to get started on laying the stone next weekend.