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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everybody.

I'm here for another year of not really focusing on Halloween.

Back in 2016, we remodeled the house: http://www.halloweenforum.com/off-topic-stuff/146531-unorthodox-2016-project.html

Well, while the house got finished in February...the yard was covered in snow, and I went ahead and signed off on the construction...when the snow melted, we had a royal freaking disaster outside.

I payed the kids to clean that up, but we didn't get finished with that last year until July. It was clear I wouldn't be able to get the yard done, so we did a mini-thing up in the front yard only for Halloween.

So, our goal in 2018 is to get the back yard...if not complete, then complete enough that we can have people back there.

And, to match the inside of the house somewhat in quality of what we do.

There's 3 features we identified we wanted.

Covered Patio. Fire Pit. Garden path.

Budget wise, we had to pick one to finish, and start on the other two.

When searching for ideas, I stumbled on this firepit area:



Knowing I didn't have quite THAT much space, I started looking at similar areas.





Looking into slabs of stone, I started to identify potential sources.





That gave me a budget of 5 big stones. So, I started trying to think of how to make a good shape...circle with 5 stones with my neighbors not freaking out.

So, I started plotting dates for sun and moon rise/settings into NASA's calculator, and come up with a plan. 4 large (4-6') stones out to the west, 4 small ones (waist high) to the east (towards the house, I didn't want to have huge ones up against the house anyway, and budget makes it work).

We went out and stomped a circle into the snow, and plotted stone locations this last weekend. (circle will be a bit bigger than this)




For those playing at home, these mark the sunrise/sunset for each of the kid's birthdays, and the moonrise/moonset of the day the boss and I fell in love.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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That is so cool (and also so sweet about the dates for the kids and the falling in love!).

This is going to look so amazing when you get it completed. :)
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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Pro-tip on the ginormous rock thing:
Make sure you have a front end loader or the correct heavy machinery to move those suckers. Or, as a last resort, get a bunch of healthy teenage boys to help you move them (they'll work cheap, just for food if you like) because "we" are too old for that heavy lifting nonsense.

Not that me or my husband would know anything about that but.....he would. Pond renovations that involved manyRocks Of Unusual Sizes taught us that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pro-tip on the ginormous rock thing:
Make sure you have a front end loader or the correct heavy machinery to move those suckers. Or, as a last resort, get a bunch of healthy teenage boys to help you move them (they'll work cheap, just for food if you like) because "we" are too old for that heavy lifting nonsense.

Not that me or my husband would know anything about that but.....he would. Pond renovations that involved manyRocks Of Unusual Sizes taught us that.
Oh yea.

I've got loads of family with heavy machinery. It's more of a question of how we do it without breaking the rocks at this point. And how much needs to be in the ground, and how best to anchor it, since we're going to concrete them in just to be safe, etc.

I have a local quarry looking for some good regular boulders before I go with the slabs above since I'm kinda on hold til spring anyway. But anything under 8K is fair game for our equipment.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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Yeah "we" didn't think about that because "we" didn't go to buy the rocks, only my husband went. He went & probably saw the rocks, hugged them & said "I LOVE YOU ROCKS!!!" :D If I'd been there I would've been the voice of reason that said "um...dude...there's no way we're gonna be able to move those Rocks Of Unusual Size" & we would've gotten something a little smaller.

A neighbor was having a ginormous garage built & the nice Amish boys that were building it helped us move them with some piece of equipment they had even though it tore the heck outta the yard. At the time we didn't have a big choice of large machinery options & Halloween was fast approaching. That was the OBVIOUS deadline for me anyway, it all had to look presentable (not perfect or even entirely finished) by Halloween.

We still have a few cosmetic things to do but it was up, running & presentable with all the fish in it by Halloween. We can fix the yard, I wasn't worried about that, I just wanted those damn rocks outta our extra parking space & everything cleared for the Big Day.

The next time a project like that comes up it will be done by professional because it was SUCH a PITA for both of us.

Our next project is a new kitchen floor & we will not be doing that either. We are old enough to not want to crawl around on the floor for a weekend & thankfully can afford a professional to do it. We also have a very small kitchen so it won't be a $15,000 flooring project.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I had a thread.....stupidphotobucket.:p

I do have some pics. I just have to upload them somewhere else first.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Stopped at the rock shop on Friday, trying to finalize selections.

Meet the leading candidates. (pallet to the left here for the taller stones out towards the west)



And the smaller ones towards the house/east



They have a larger selection out in Salt Lake I need to take a trip out to check before I pull the trigger.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So my boy and I hit the stone yard in Salt Lake.

And while we found the perfect basalt columns...



They were all drilled for fountains, and the supplier is no longer in business. My exploration of them separately has yielded I'd need to order an entire shipping container and then try to sell off the spares, and I just don't have the business to do that.

Going over the other items and services, there were some intriguing possibilities from the sandstone that come off all together too smooth





To the possibility of simply cut pieces.



But, we've ultimately decided to stick with the quartzite slabs pictured above for color. They are going to get with the quarry and see if there are some more squared slabs (that normally get broken down to boulders because no one wants pillars) available. Once we hear back from them, I'll be making a decision on which way to go, be it heading back to the more local yard or ordering from the quarry.

Neat light, possible future pathway lighting:

 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Well. It begins. Since we're not getting any snow...

We've decided to resurrect the "Altar of Greed" for our fire pit. Our first 'fire pit', it was more often used as a giant candy bowl on Halloween and otherwise decorative piece. We'll drill the bowl and pipe it for gas, and dry stack stones as support around the sides.

With stone sizes, I was able to mark out a more or less final circle size and placement. Pit and chair for size reference.



The boss likes the second one for the 'floor'.



I should have gotten a 'before' pic to show how shocking this cleanup is:





Pile of refuse all mashed down. Included in that mess is a fair bit of Halloween hording, and a load of stuff from the house remodel. I've decided to just clean slate it all though. It's probably doubled since the pic was taken.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Final rock selections.



I especially like how they have just a touch of reflectivity in them, will catch the firelight very well.



The bigger ones range 6'-7', the smaller pallet 4'-5'.

If all goes well, I'm considering throwing a little mini party to celebrate completion, potentially Ostara, or perhaps more fitting to do a Walpurgisnacht celebration.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Finally getting back around to it after a month of weather related delays. We've slowly put down enough gravel and road base that the continued wet weather doesn't matter as we don't have the same mud pit.

We went looking for our flagstone today, as there were issues with our first choice.

We'd originally chosen the second from the left here. That's moss and lichens on the stone, and we liked the idea of that randomness to the whole area.



However, looking at it in bulk, it was problematic, more boulders than flagstone, and much too red sandstone to fit with the house.

So, looking around the stone yard, both the boss and I immediately gravitated to these blocks. They aren't flagstone by any stretch, but the place will custom cut them to that thickness for us free. The dark grey contrasting our standing stone well.



The kicker is those lighter surfaces you see on some of them. I don't know how well it's visible on this phone pic, but thats fossilized shells, fairly common around lake Bonneville shorelines, geeky enough we love it all the more.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Lots of updates to post.

Started on the fire ring, slowly mortaring the stones on. Instead of a saw, I was knapping the stones as we went for a more rough look.



We poured the concrete collar around the stones, and I cleaned up the fire bowl just a touch with a little salt and lemon juice.



Then come the gas...





Now we've started on the flagstone.





The circle is finished, now 500 sq feet of path to lay...

(blue fire was invisible in the daylight here, I've since riddled out how to get more yellow flame as well)
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Once the circle was in, the kids and I took over the flagstone.



Of note, this path runs about 5' closer to the house than it used do. I'll be making a new fence at the end here as a result. This was done to make more garden space/pumpkin patch to the right, the left being in too much shade.



While we've been working on the flagstone, the contractors poured our patio.



I'll be going into some of the nifty little features of this a little later when I get the pics, but for now just focusing on the best bits.





If the expansion joints weren't there, you'd never know this was concrete.



They still need to seal that concrete this weekend, then we'll be getting things more put together.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Wow. Just wow. LOVE the patio stamp and y'all are doing a fantastic job with the pathway. It all looks so darned amazing.

If you ever decide to sell your house (unlikely but still) you just HAVE to mention things like "flagstone house close to house to allow roomy pumpkin patch in the fall" and other such amenities... :D
 
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