We went to get the blocks and retainers for the project and were met with what we should be used to by now - "Oh, those were discontinued and we just sold out of the last of our stock a couple weeks ago."
I was worried that we would have to pull up the whole patio and start over with another style. But the girl at Menards said that there might be another store that still had them. She called around and sure enough Red Wing still had quite a few in stock.
So we ran down to Red Wing. And BONUS! since they were discontinued, they were also about half the price that I had originally paid for them. They weren't exactly the same color as the ones that I had originally put in, but they were close enough that most people would never notice; and if it really bothered me, I could always pull up a few from the one side and mix them in with the other to even out the color difference. I opted to save that for if it REALLY bothered me later.
Here is the booty in all its glory.
Here is my husband digging in our rock-hard dirt. We had to use a mason hammer to get through some of this it was so compacted!
Here is the hole all completed with the paver base in and compacted. Well, as compacted as I was going to get it. It was HOT!! 90 and humid - YUCK!
We used retaining blocks to hold the shape of the patio. Yes, the ones that we had used for the first half had also been discontinued, so we ended up getting the closest ones that we could find. Not the best, but they work.
Here I have spread out the sand base and have started to lay out the blocks. The paver base was supposed to be 4-6 inches deep and the sand 3-4 inches deep, but I used 2 inches of paver base and 1 inch of sand. That's how I did the other half and it worked just fine for my liking. And we have some really bad freeze and thaw here, so we know that it will be just fine through anything. You are supposed to spread the sand, screed it flat, and then lay the bricks; but I am a little too impatient for that, so I just eye-balled it. When you are done laying them in, you can fill the area with water to see where things need to be leveled - that's how I did my brick walkways.
Here is the finished product. I also do not cut any blocks, so I just configure the pattern in such a way that I do not need to. It might be a little to unstructured for some, but I like the way it looks like really old cobblestone.
Here's a shot of the whole patio - we decided that we will call the first half (the one in the foreground) Patio A, and the new half (the one in the background) Patio B.
Here's another shot of the whole patio. Lovely isn't it? We left the side walk in the middle and I think it looks just fine. Now we have plenty of room for friendly gatherings for grilling and firepitting.
I'M SO EXCITED!! :))