A summer to-do list usually means lots of outdoors work. This summer is no exception as several projects are quickly lining up and begging for attention. On the list are laying some patio stones, building a swing set, and installing some landscape lighting. While the projects are all outside, they are all unrelated to each other, which results in scheduling the jobs being less of a hassle.
Since the jobs all require a variety of materials, waiting for those materials to go on sale is likely. Lumber costs can fluctuate greatly from store to store, and is prone to weekly specials. The same goes for landscape lighting and patio stones. The difficult part of installing lighting and stones is selecting the desired pattern.
In order to save on costs, parts of several previous swing sets will be recycled into the new unit. While the treated lumber is unsalvageable, items like slides, swings, and climbing handles are easy to clean and reuse. While several different designs for swing sets and playhouses are available online for free and for a fee, coming up with a unique plan is really not that difficult. A basic two story design with an attached A-frame is fairly easy to build, and can be completed in a weekend. However, the design is always subject to last minute changes, which can result in added costs. Obviously the kids’ wishes need to addressed in order to receive a solid return on the investment.
Patio Stone Walkway
The patio stone walkway is a relatively upfront project. A path needs to connect point A to point B. The important tasks in laying patio stones include: getting the ground level, laying an adequate base, and staying square. While this project can be tricky, most of the actual work is in site preparation. Once the grass and a few inches of soil are removed, laying sand and stones goes relatively fast. The trick is be meticulous about the details in the prep, and the rest of the plans pretty much fall into place.
In order to reduce time spent on the landscape lighting project, I have decided to go with solar lights. While not as bright as their low-voltage counterparts, solar lights offer flexibility in placement and easy installation. While placing them in the right spots can take a few tries, since no cables are attached the process is streamlined by just picking up and placing it into the ground in a new location. If the location of the landscape lighting was for safety reasons, such as stairs or slopes, I would have went with traditional low-voltage lighting to provide a brighter method of illumination. However, for lighting up around the mailbox, driveway, and a few flower beds, solar lighting was an easy choice.