We have some big changes coming to the front yard. Is it just me or is this the third or fourth times we’ve had big changes coming to the front yard? The crux of living in a flood plain, I suppose. But, we’re pretty sure this iteration — fingers crossed — is gonna stick. We built our fence back in March, which we’re pretty happy about.
Our house is built off the ground. We have a full, unfinished basement at ground level and our house sits above it. It’s common for new houses and renovated houses to be built this way because of the flood issues in Charleston and thank goodness for that — our neighbors house flooded last fall and they lost everything.
Water typically comes up to the first or second step of our house.
Our garden boxes and deck have been great additions to the front yard and can survive flooding, but any ground-level landscaping has all-but washed away. So, we decided to take a lesson from our house and build everything up.
The existing pathway and staircase is built from antique Charleston red brick, which you can’t get in big box stores, so we took to Craigslist and found exactly what we needed. A quick trip to Folly Beach and we loaded up 200 old red bricks from the nicest man you ever met.
Then it was just a matter of laying the bricks, which is an easy albeit slow process filled with a lot of tapping and leveling and whoops all the mortar fell off the brick before I laid it.
Oddly enough, I laid bricks in Fiji during a Habitat for Humanity build in my early 20s, so I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to brick laying (wink, wink) in the most rudimentary way possible. We mixed 80lb mortar, by hand, in 5 gallon buckets and I cut bricks with a pick and hammer.
We tried to get it as level as possible, but we were at the mercy of the existing path, which is decidedly not level. Luckily, an antique red brick path is as rustic as they come, so it all looks like it’s pretty purposeful.
The corners were a lesson in fake it ’til you make it…
The most important step it getting the seams cleaned up. I scooped off the very wet big chunks with my hands and then went back over the whole wall with a wet finger to make sure all the seams were clean and smooth.
Next up, fill dirt. So. Much. Fill. Dirt.
Stay tuned for more progress. In the meantime, check out the evolution of the front yard.