I Try My Hand at Masonry

In my backyard is a large patio area.  It was built out of concrete triangles seperated by 2x4s.  The triangles seem to be quite old, and some of them have moved quite a bit.  If I had to guess I would say there is well over 1000 square feet of the triangles.

Can see the settling due to tree roots
Can see the settling due to tree roots

concrete triangles

The cost to have the concrete hauled away is prohibitive so I needed to find something to do with them.  My yard has slight slopes to it, so I decided to use the broken concrete as low retaining walls. To hold the pieces together I decided to use mortar as it is inexpensive at Home Depot.

First I measured 3 feet from my fence at three locations to give me the general  path of the wall.  I then ran a string to keep me on course.

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I had previously broken a few of the triangles using a sledge hammer.  I had the two oldest of my boys help me start moving the concrete into place and attempting to piece it together into a line.

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I mixed the mortar in a 5 gallon bucket and used a trowel and my hand to put it onto the blocks.

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One bag of mortar allowed me to make around a ten foot wall stacked two or three high depending on the lay of the hill.  I started at the highest part of the hill so I made the wall low that way I don’t end up with too high a wall at the end.  Now I need to break up more concrete and get more mortar so I can finish the rest of the wall.

After working on the wall, I decided to plant a Pomegranate tree I bought a few days before.

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The dirt in my yard is shallow and is over clay.  The clay is thick and hard to dig, even worse there is a white clay under the brown clay that is like digging in rock.  I spent many hours trying to plant trees in the past and wasn’t able to dig proper holes for the trees.  All that work and effort helped me convince my wife that I needed a jackhammer with spade attachment.  For digging in my dirt, it was totally worth the money.  I was able to dig a good sized hole for the tree in about a half hour rather then several hours.

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-Joshua

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