Time for the House

Hello Friends,

This is the last update on our yard work. After the playhouse goes in, my focus shifts to yard maintenence. Rest assured, there won’t be any posts about edging and mowing. Although maybe I will do a “carbon-neutral” post in the future to highlight human powered lawncare. Anyway, playhouse.

After a bunch of shopping and comparisons we went with the Greystone Cottage from Costco (it’s part of the Cedar Summit line by Kid Craft). We tried to balance look, playability, value, and price, and for us, this house won out.

What you’re seeing in these messy photos are the parts of the house laid out by number (all parts are numbered for easy building). This was one of the first steps in the manual, and was a helpful hint from the company. I tried to clear out half the garage for work space, but you can see how easily the parts filled up the space.

Tio Long-Arm-of-the-Law came by for the first night of building. His help made that night productive. The cottage uses a lot of screws to fasten the pieces. So while I was fastening a part, he was reading the next step, and bringing me the next parts and fasteners. If you buy this house I recommend getting a second person at least until the base is assembled and the roof is on.

And…POOF! Playhouse. I said this wasn’t going to be a tutorial, just some sharing. Photos after build night #1 would’ve been nice, but oh well. Anyway, fits nice, right?

So, let’s sum up this experience. The box is big enough and heavy enough to be a hassle, but not impossible to get home. One person can get it from the store, two is ideal. There are a lot of parts, but they are numbered. Organize the parts and the hardware (use a plastic Costco apple crate for hardware) to facilitate assembly. One person can handle most of the assembly, but a second person can dramatically improve productivity. And two sets of eyes is better than one , especially for the few steps that aren’t completely clear (and really, there are only a few). Build night #1 was 2 hours with two adults, build night #2 was 2 hours just me. So 6 total Dad hours. Once assembled the house can be moved by 3 adults easily, 2 with a bit of caution. The light weight of this house is deceptive though, as it is sturdy. The wood is lightweight, so charge the battery for the driver but use a light trigger. It is easy to bury the screws and split boards.

Overall, Wife and I are pleased with the Greystone Cottage. I did leave off a flag accessory which is just a big piece of plastic. The wood is treated, but we did spray it with a waterproof paint to be safe,and I tarp it if we’reexpecting storms. So far it is all fun at the cottage. The girls have no complaints, except when I call them for dinner!

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That Yard Tho’…

Hello Friends,

This spring I shared the post-remodel state of our yard and the beginning of our next plans. The main focus is on a paver “pad” where we will put a playhouse for the girls.

The location is great, the size almost perfect (nothing some yard tools can’t adjust), so we’re off. My years in the bodyshop taught me that a good end result is all about the prep work. First step, excavate.

There’s the pad after excavation, first layer of weedcloth, and the initial “Paver Base 1” (all sand-like products are Sakrete brand). This was followed by more Base 1, levelling, tamping and then some “Paver Base 2”, also know as levelling sand. Then we were ready to start fitting pavers.

These nifty guys are an AZEK product that Wife found on Home Depot’s website. Made from recycled rubber, they give a little when you step on them. Hopefully it cushions the falls. Eight (8) bricks come on each base which makes alignment and gapping much easier.

The pad is boxed in by the sidewalk and the garage foundation, so we had to make some cuts. Both the bases and the bricks can be cut to size, you just need a coarse-tooth blade and some patience. When you cut rubber too fast it smokes, stinks, and burns! Nice and easy here, friends.

Edging! I almost forgot about the edging! This plastic paver edging by Edgepro was easy to work with. I used a heat gun to warm and bend the corners, and my nifty multi-tool for cutting. Hot plastic this time, so again, some patience.

After testing, edging, levelling, trimming, more levelling and installing, we got this:

Nice shadow, huh? I think you get the point, though. Wife liked the pattern I laid out. I liked that the pattern happened as I put the bricks in the bases. Seriously, I’m not even sure how to plan out this pattern. It was like a big Lego set in a way, except easier to find and fix mistakes. Next step, locking sand!

This stuff was a little funky to work with, but steady work with gentle water got it all done. Wife and the girls kept washing the bricks with water to insure the polymer did not leave a film on them. The continuous water, not aimed at the seams, helped the sand dry evenly and smoothly.

That gets us ready for the last part of this project: build the house!

To be clear, I’m just sharing our project with you all. This isn’t meant to be a tutorial on laying pavers. I collected most of the technical info for this project from the back of the product bags. The rest I found online. From there it was chipping away at each step until I got where the bag said I needed to be. All of the products for this pad were purchased through Home Depot, either online or in the store (I see you Addison and Kimball!). Home Depot did not, however, sponsor this post. But I have a long list of projects and there is plenty of opportunity! That’s a big hint, Home Depot contact me!

Alright, next update will cover the playhouse. Again, I’m not going for a tutorial, just show you our adventure.

We’ll see you out there!