we built this pad on rock and soil

a few weekends ago, when pierre deconstructed our old shed, we found out that the patio stones it had been sitting upon were supported by nothing more than dirt ‘n’ bricks. we had hoped the stones would be secure and level enough to just plop our new shed right on top, but deep down we knew the responsible thing to do was build a new pad for our new shed.

in order to execute this project properly, we called on my not-so-secret weapon: dad.

dad arrived early on a saturday morning. (he told us he’d “be there early,” but when he knocked on our door at 8am we were both still sound asleep.) soon after arriving, dad surveyed our land and declared it seriously not level. pierre’s plan to dig down, tamp, add gravel, tamp, and add patio stones was tossed aside in favour of building an industrial strength sandbox, which would retain the soil, screenings, stones, and shed — keeping them from washing away until long after we’d sold this house.

the boys spent some time leveling a 12′ x 12′ area. we needed 10′ x 8′ for the shed, room for the box structure, and space for a beach rock border, which would look nice and keep the weeds down. they trenched the area that would hold the beams to make the box.

we bought five 6″ x 6″ x 12′ beams: two for the back of the box since our yard slopes so much and three to complete the sqaure. pierre notched the beams using a skill saw and a chisel so that the pieces would fit together like a puzzle. once in place, the beams were going to be held together using rebar and 10″ nails, so here pierre is pre-drilling some holes for the rebar.

here are a few of the beams in place. you can see the notches and also that we used limestone screenings to level the trenches perfectly.

once all the beams were in place, square, and level, pierre used his body weight to hold everything in place while dad drove nails into the two back beams to safety them into position.

just checking to make sure the box is still square.

using the holes that pierre predrilled, here’s dad using a baby sledge to drive the rebar into the ground. he’s just taking a little break — while the day started out nice and cool it would up being a really long, hot day for throwing patio stones and beams around.

up until this point, my contribution to this project had been to fetch waters, cokes, make sandwiches, and generally stay out of the way. but now i’m helping my dad fill in gaps with screenings.

this is the pad at the end of day 1. we ran out of screenings and the place where we bought them from — parkview building supplies — closed at 6pm so we couldn’t go back for more that night.

that’s okay. everyone was exhausted and pierre’s socks were extremely dirty.

day 2 occurred a few nights later, when dad showed up with a pick-up truck full of beach rock. i helped lay the weed barrier around the border while dad dumped wheel barrows full of rock around the edges.

we had a jungle behind our old shed, so we’re trying to keep that from happening again. any weeds that get through the weed barrier and a 1/2 yard of beach rock deserve an award.

the guys laid 10′ pipe in the box to use as a leveling agent. the patio stones were 2″ thick, so we needed to level the screenings to the top of the pipe in order to make the stones flush with the top of the frame.

…and we’re done!

the weather cooperated and it rained a few days ago, so all the screenings were able to settle before the contractors arrived to build the shed yesterday. yep, the shed is up, too, and we’re really happy with it! 10′ x 8′ was the perfect size to go with — really spacious (probably the only space on our property that we can “grow into”) but it doesn’t overpower the yard at all. the shed does need to be organized with some peg boards and shelving as well as painted, but i’m motivated to get it done.

you know what else i’m motivated to do? get rid of the giant mountain of soil that was excavated out of the pad area. if anyone needs some free, sandy soil, leave a comment and we can work something out (plus you’d get to see the shed before anyone else!)

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6 thoughts on “we built this pad on rock and soil

  1. VERY impressive!!! when dad set off to your place that saturday morning i honestly thought he’d only be a few hours. i can see now what took so long. wish i’d organized my day better and i would have come to help. you know how much i like to ask ‘why are you doing that’ when dad is building things. :) looks awesome! can’t wait to see the actual structure on top of the pad.

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