Friday, January 1, 2010

Join Us in the New Outdoor Room?

For the past two months I have been working on designing, hiring a contractor, ordering supplies, and assisting the contractor in building the above ground structure of our new "outdoor room".  Yesterday we completed it!

Drew and I have seen galvanized metal grids surrounded by wood beams used as deck railings in Park City, the home of all things rustic but expensive.  We liked the design so used those principles to design a "modified trellis wall" to give the feeling of a partially enclosed space between our neighbors' cement block garage wall and our garage wall.  The area we had to work with is 13 feet wide by 23 feet long.
 This is the view from our deck looking back to the project area.  You can see the neighbors' cement block garage on the left and our garage on the right, and also the ugly phone pole.

This is the view from the back of our lot looking into the area where we wanted the outdoor room.  The red house is our neighbors' house, so you can see that they have a good view of our yard from both their bedroom window (upper level) and the kitchen window (lower level) from the back of their house.  We thought some privacy might be nice.
Before the plan, the area felt like a wind tunnel between what will be our lawn area and the more utilitarian vegetable garden area behind the garage at the back of our lot.  I wanted to 1) camouflage the cement block wall, 2) create a patio area for relaxing, 3) integrate a trellis so that I can grow vines.

First step was to dig holes for the concrete pylons.

 Drew rented a post hole auger, but most of the work had to be done by hand, by us, or with a rented jackhammer, by me, since I needed to take out a portion of the concrete footings for the vinyl fence in order to get the corners in the right place.

 Keep in mind this was mid November.  It got very muddy at times. 

And, holy cow, did we dig some holes!  Bring on the freeze-thaw cycle, those concrete pylons aren't going anywhere.

After almost a three-week delay waiting for the custom-sized cedar beams to be grown?, milled, and shipped, I borrowed a truck and retrieved them from CFC Fences and Decks in Provo.  Their price was 30% less than Lowe's and came just as fast.  Meanwhile, winter had arrived. 

Finally, last week, contractor Phil Dugas of Horizons Restoration Service  could begin installing the uprights.

Drew helped with the horizontal pieces.  6"x8"x12' cedar is heavy. (Also note how smoggy it was that day. Yuck.)

Here, the main structural pieces are complete. 

Next step was to install galvanized wire mesh livestock panels I bought from the farm supply store*.   I cut them to size while Phil installed. You can just barely make out the snow coming down in this picture.  That was a pretty cold day.

*More info on the panels since a few people have asked about them: The best source I could find was IFA farm supply stores here in Salt Lake City.  They are used for making livestock pens so they come in various sizes and grid dimensions. The ones we used are 16 feet long x 5 feet tall and were $52 each.  Ours are made of 3/8-inch diameter galvanized steel wire (I think it's called 4 gauge) welded in a 4-inch grid.  There are smaller or larger wire and grid sizes for different animals.  They cut fairly easily with a medium sized bolt cutter.

Drew had been wanting a table saw, so I bought one for this project to use in ripping 2x4s down to 1x1s to use as the strips to hold the livestock panels in place. I don't know who will have more fun with this toy, Drew or me.

 But Wednesday we were hit with 5 inches of snow, so I went to work at my real job and Phil took a day off. 

But yesterday, on the last day of 2009, we finished up!  Here are some finished shots.

 View from the garden area.  The wire panels didn't camouflage the concrete block as much as I had hoped, but once the vines start growing, it will look great and provide the privacy we need.
 Looking through the room to our house.
 View from the deck.  Also notice the blue and green roofed structure in the neighbors' yard to the left.  That is their jungle-gym/kid fort/sniper tower.  Another reason to get some privacy.

 View from the driveway illustrating effective blocking of the wind-tunnel and "definition of useful, distinct spaces" (how is that for some HGTV talk).

So phase one is done!  I just had to relax for a minute and imagine sitting here next summer on a flagstone patio, listening to the fountain gurgling, smelling the vines blooming, and enjoying a cool one after a long bike ride. Anyone want to join me in May?

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