Monday, June 28, 2010

Mid Century Modern Curb Appeal - And The 'Crete' Goes On

I like to pour concrete, maybe one day we will pour some all the way out to the street. For now, in awaiting the new roof, I've been itching to work on some curb appeal outside. Alas while taking a week off last week, I impromtu decided to start throwing a sledgehammer at the existing walkway. Having complete two phases of concrete work on the porch and the landscape enclosure walls, I was thinking it was time to work on our patched walkway that leads to the house. Seeing as the sledge hammer wasn't doing much, I had to run and rent a jackhammer, a fun toy that can easily can get out of control.

In these first couple of photos, note the existing curvilinear walkway with a temporary patch we did to tide over the previous demolition. The plan was to infill the corner with four long walkway pads and also extend the lefthand planter enclosure. Eventually we will pour more stepped beds around the side of the house, the new extension will be right next to our property line.

A couple sweaty hours later, I had the existing walkway out to the next expansion joint. The design allows us to be able to keep the existing walkway and the existing expansion joint lined up almost perfect with the pavers in the grass. It was right about now, the crane truck with the roofing materials showed up for delivery.

While there was a ladder out I headed up to the roof to grab an aerial shot for a little perspective. Shadow was unavoidable.

My next step was to layout the overall outline for excavation and dig out the existing grass. Then I had to place 4" gravel fill and compact with a hand tamper. Using some of the demoed concrete and some already on hand gravel, everything worked out about perfect.

For forming up the concrete, I framed the outline of the pads using 2x6's so that the pads would be thicker and have a little more hefty presence. Using a double 2x6's in between the four pads, we'll eventually fill the gaps with dirt and plant grass. This will require some regrading down the road.

Moving on to the planting bed, the new wall enclosure steps down equally with the steps so they both are extensions on plane with one another. Using coated plywood and 2x4' I created a 6" wide and 18" deep wall form. As this was the end of the first day I didn't make it to bracing and fully leveling the frame. Not bad for a day's work.

The next morning I braced and leveled the wall forms, piled a ton of concrete chunks in and around the base. Then I piled all the soil I dug up from the front walkway pad excavation around the outside base of the formwork. My uncle Ed, the concrete finishing master, stopped by to help me out on the day of the pour. I use a Mini Mix truck company for the concrete, the smaller truck does less damage to the landscape. We started the pouring with the walls on the side.

Next we filled the pad formwork. It was a super hot day so we had to move quick. After filling the forms we had to manually tap the sides with hammers to help fill any voids, then we screeded the concrete level. We then floated a smooth finish, edged the sides, and finally Ed finished the concrete with a rubber float. Ed has done the same hand finish to all the concrete work we've done so it was best left to his artful hand.

A day's work done, the concrete bakes away into the evening sun.

Here's a good view of the side wall and all it's bracing glory. Didn't budge hardly at all during the pour, but it's suprising how powerful the concrete filling the forms can be.

Yesterday I pulled the formwork off both poured pieces and stored the formwork for future use. Here's a view from the neighbor's yard for a little perspective on the overall additions. Don't mind all that roofing material up on the roof.

Another final view of the approach. Next we'll get to work on the grass seed and grading with some fresh topsoil. First, we'll let the roofers make a big happy mess.


  1. Hey Chris!
    Hope you guys are well! This looks super awesome! I love the long rectangles...goes great with the lines of the house. This post will definitely go in our inspiration folder for future use around our place!


  2. Thanks everyone, we're looking forward to getting some regrading done, followed by new grass seed this weekend.

  3. Chris, love this! Did you put anything in the planter wall for reinforcement?

  4. Thanks! I ended up not doing any reinforcement on this pour, the previous walls had wire mesh running vertically, but since the long one cracked anyways, I decided not to for these short walls.

  5. Amazing transformation on that walkway! I wonder why you didn't pave the entire pathway though. I'm looking for houses for rent in Cincinnati Ohio and my major consideration is a big lawn with a perfect walkway. Now I got a good model with your work. Cheers.