This photo shows most of the materials for the patio (from Maxwell Beatty), as well as a good “before” view of the east side of the back garden.
The dump truck that delivered the gravel got thoroughly bogged down in the muddy low spot behind the Savannah holly. It managed to grind its wheels down to the roots of the mulberry we had removed 3 years earlier. Said roots were still very hard and very slippery.
The wooden stakes by the palmetto on the left are part of my system for grading the patio. The whole thing had to drain properly and slope gently away from the house, all of which was quite complicated to calculate.
The gravel pile is in what is now the pond. It’s hard to imagine that I actually moved all that sand and gravel in a wheelbarrow. But that’s what happened.
The JCB Robot rented from Westside Rental made excavating and leveling a lot easier. Not that I was very good at operating it. And I couldn’t figure out how to use it with the landscape lines in place, so most of the grading had to be done by hand. The patio area was 19′ x 41′. I’m not sure why, but that was what emerged when I had done all the calculations about where planters, steps, and pergola were to go. So far, I have spent $3,800 on materials and Robot rental.