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Great Wall project - Second phase

Second phase:
While still enjoying the extra backyard and beauty of the revealed natural stone I couldn't help but to take notice of the comments regarding access.  I had paid little attention to it, it is easy for me to climb the wall and my past experiences allowed me to be quite comfortable on it with no fear of falling.  This is not the common theme, and many people had suggested ideas on how to better access it.  Although there is currently a wooden staircase providing access, this is not a permanent solution.
During the first phase I made sure to keep aside any flat stones that I could use later as steppers.  I made the second phase be the addition of a natural look staircase.  This worked well on the side as there is no stone there, instead a steep slope to the top.
From the ground level to the highest point of our yard is a 19' difference.  The stairs that were added only took you to the middle level at first, which is about 8' off the ground.  The steppers have since continued to the rear gate, which provides us access to Little Ceaser's pizza.  The importance of that should be self-explanatory.
It looks like I didn't photo this portions somehow.  Or I lost it?  Here is a more recent photo displaying my step building exercise:

Back to first phase
Third phase
Fourth phase


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Operation: Built-Ins

Let's upgrade a room they said...  It will be fun they said...

Built-In features:
Combination of Oak and Pine wood
Indirect lighting of shelves, cabinet area, crawlspace
Electical outlets in each opening
Fun window connecting to garage (cookie window)

Come along as we descend though time and space as we look towards the front room of our home.  On this epic journey we will witness its evolution into having the best built-in bookshelves known to man.
As projects often are, this one remains a work in progress.  To say I overbooked myself may be unnecessary, but I did need something to do during the cold months of winter.  This time I had experience on my side and what an ally that proved to be time and time again.
We wanted something nice, something usable, but also unique.  Why have just storage when you could have fun storage?  As you will see, these built-ins give a few extras to the kids, and help remind you of why being a kid is fun.
We started like we did in the past and bough…

Great Wall project - First phase

The Great Wall project (work in progress):

Hello readers,

What you are looking at above is our current work in progress.  Although it is yet to be completed, this photo represents hundreds upon hundreds of hours worked.  While a major portion has been completed there is still so much more to come.
Grab yourself a snack and a drink, and come with us through the evolution of this project...

Great Wall project - Fourth phase

Fourth phase:
We made some mistakes.  We decided to wait through another winter season before attempting to retain that which we just cleared out.  I don't know why, but I just believed that as difficult as that clay was to remove that it just wouldn't move that much on it's own.  Just look at how wrong I was:

We should have either kept working, or put some sort of moisture barrier up there to stop the clay from eroding down.
None of that was done, and instead I came close to losing my fence due to the erosion.  Not only that but now our cleared out work area is again filled over with clay.  Since this is not acceptable we were given the choice of digging it and throwing it uphill to where it would eventually rest behind the retaining wall, or dig it off to the side and then later throw it back over.  I wanted to toss it uphill, I really did.  Why move it twice?  Too bad it was wet and insanely sticky.  We had to move it to the side, a shovelful of that wet clay is easily …