I bought my place in '95, and one of the features I really liked was my back deck, over which a Reisling grapevine was growing. Over the years the vine got thicker and provided excellent shade, and then later was waterproof, but its weight along with our large snowpack this past winter broke it down, so I had a fun project for this spring. I decided to tear everything out myself, but let the pros install the new stuff. It's almost complete, gas man and electrician still need to do their thing, and the stone feature team will have to come
to "finish" their work (see below).
Here's the old deck last summer. As you can see the Reisling grapevine had matted up pretty thick, and was water- and sunlight-proof, very nice in the afternoons and evenings. Hard to see, but the cables holding them up were sagging bad, and I had to stoop to get to my lawnchair. Note also the supremely dumb location of my air conditioner unit.
(Gah, sorry guys, I've been able to embed pics within a post successfully before, but I didn't do it right this time; pics are below...)
Here's this early spring. You can see one of the 4x4's had snapped off from the grapevine + snow weight.
Pulling up the remaining grapevine roots ended up being most of a Saturday by itself. Another Ibuprofen evening that night... <groan>
Deck is in! I had asked the HVAC guy to drop the AC lines straight down, then over to the unit, but he did it the opposite and it looks like ass. I'm already planning an 8' flower box to cover it up.
Then the pergola. They sunk 12 concrete posts into ground for the subframe, 3' deep. The deck is attached to those, but then the pergola's posts are attached directly to the decking, [i]not[/i] the posts. That didn't seem right to me, but the whole structure's pretty solid (although the 4' privacy fence to the left, not so much...)
Finally, the stone features and flagstone. Because of a huge afternoon storm, the stone team (about 8 guys) got behind schedule and instead of laying the flagstone around the stone benches/bubbling column, per the plan, they just layed the sod back into place, hoping I wouldn't notice. I did, but not until they had already left (you can see the sod line, where the flagstone was supposed to/will go). Fortunately I paid for the project in thirds; one-third at the planning phase, one-third at the beginning of work, and one-third at the completion, which I still have and they're not getting until they come back and do it right.
I also thought they would contact and get the gas/electrician guys out to do their work, but after reviewing the contract it was worded that I had to do that, so the firepit's not connected yet, the bubbling rock is but some electrical switches need to be added and cables buried to Code. I've gotten a small clue of why building your own house is such a monumental headache; just coordinating five contractors for this little job, getting them to return calls, getting them to just show up, really a pain. I'll post a couple more shots when the rest of the flagstone is down, the pit is burning, the Eggs are smokin', and a potted plant or two is dressing the place up. It's coming together. Slowly.