Flowerbed Makeover: Phase Two

If you're just joining us, Phase One: Planning and Preparing can be found here.  Today we're tackling Phase Two: Building and Installing. After all of our boards had been cut and stained, we loaded them back up into our Audi A4 pickup truck and brought them to our house.  We planned to assemble the trellis right beside where it would eventually go so there would be little to no heavy lifting and transporting.

But before we could lay out the boards and start putting them together, we had to get rid of these trees.

My strong husband managed to pull them all out by himself, leaving them in tact and with big root balls attached.  The dead one obviously got pitched and we plan on replanting the healthy baby one.  The three tall adult trees were picked up by a friend of his and headed to a new home.  Yay for recycling trees!

With the trees gone, it felt really weird in our courtyard.  It was so open and so bare.  Kinda blah.

I had thought through the assembly process several times in my head and decided it would be much, much easier if I measured and marked every board before we assembled anything.  So I got to work.  I wasn't going to be much help in the whole process but this part I could actually do.

I started with the three 4x4 fence posts and, using chalk, marked where each of the cross boards would attach to them.  The boards are spaced out in this pic but I made the measurements with them all bumped up to each other so they'd be consistant on each post.

With the posts done, I gathered all 8 of my horizontal 2x2 boards (easy to spot because they all had pocket holes in the ends) and marked where all the vertical 2x2 boards would attach to them.

When it's 90+ degrees outside and you're 6 months pregnant trying to move as little as possible, you know what makes it all even better?  When your hot, furry puppy dog insists on sitting in your lap while you measure.

Luckily for her, she's cute.  I did put her to work holding my measuring tape, though.

"Like this, Mom?  Am I doing it right, Mom?"

With all the measurements marked, I was able to start laying it all out on the patio.

It was super easy to line everything up since I had drawn both the top and bottom of each board's placement and just had to center the boards between the two. (Obviously in the pic below the boards aren't perfectly lined up yet.)

And with it all spread out and centered on the patio, Doc was able to begin digging the post holes for the three fence posts.

He doesn't always do yardwork and projects in khaki shorts with a polo tucked in, but he had just come from the golf course. ;)

Around this time we called my dad to come over for help.  We had told him to be on standby that afternoon since we knew we'd need help lifting the whole structure into place when the time came, and technically Doc and I could've screwed all the boards together ourselves but we left the drill bit we needed at Dad's house so we told him to come on over and bring the bit with him.

I obvioulsy didn't mind him coming early since it meant I got to sit and watch while the two of them screwed the whole trellis together.

Our plan all along was to assemble everything but the two top boards (the 16 foot 2x6s) before dropping it in the post holes.  Because those boards were so heavy, we were going to put them on at the end.  But we did go ahead and lay them out across the top of the structure to drill the holes where the carriage bolts would go.

Not sure if you can tell or not in this picture but both 2x6 boards are stacked together right on top of the fence posts.  This way, Doc could drill the carriage bolt holes through all three pieces at the same time so they would line up properly.

Doc drug out the 3 80lb. bags of sakrete we would be using to set the posts.  We were so close to being done!

And, just like that, the rains came.  Seriously, out of nowhere, the bottom just fell out of the sky and it was pouring down rain.  The guys lifted those heavy bags back up and took them back to the garage while I picked up all the power tools and unplugged our fan.

I guess that was God's way of telling us we should take a little break.  I am SO glad the whole trellis had already been screwed together because the rain washed off every one of my chalk lines.  Obviously I was planning on doing that with the water hose at the end anyway so I'm thankful that it did it for me, but man! what if we hadn't already put it together?  I would've been majorly bummed to have to start over with my measurements.  Small victory!

While we hung out in the garage and waited for the summer shower to pass, I decided to make a little treat for my boys.  Have you ever heard of Zoku?  If you have kids, you should really have one of these for the summers!  It makes homemade popsicles in just 7-9 minutes.

You keep the base of it in your freezer so it's always ready to go, and then just pour in whatever you want to make a popsicle out of.  The popsicles come out like a normal popsicle texture, not like the frozen blocks of koolaid ice that we made when I was little.

My Zoku only makes 2 popsicles at a time but I think you can get one that makes up to 4.  I used this juice box that I had in the fridge to make berry popsicles.

Just a few minutes later and voila!  Treats for my hardworking guys.

The guys went back to work when the rain simmered down to just sprinkles.  We all lifted the trellis right into the post holes (don't worry, I was mostly just a guide, I didn't have any weight) and they went to town adding the sakrete.

The sakrete got watered in and all that was left to do was add the two boards across the top.  Easier said than done, I'm sure.  The boards were really heavy and one of them had to hold it up while the other tapped in the carriage bolts.  You can see in the picture below that we used two 2x6s - one in the front and one in the back to sandwich the whole trellis between them.

And finally, we could stand back and admire our work.

Here's where I should tell you that if you're planning on coming over with a level to check it out, don't bother.  I can tell you myself that no, it's not level.  It has a bit of a slant to it that I don't think would be all that noticeable if the wall behind it wasn't perfectly straight siding.  We think what happened is, when the rain came, some dirt and mud fell into the far right hole.  We had them all at the same depth before the rain, but we stupidly did not remeasure their depthness after the rain.  So the right post is a smidge higher, making all the boards slant upward on that end.  Live and learn, I guess.

Crooked or not, we're really proud of our new trellis!

By this point, we all looked a little like this - wet and dirty, tired and weary.

We called it a day and headed for the showers.  I'm sure we all slept well that night!

Join me soon for phase three where we finished up the flowerbed by adding a few plants.