The Patio Block Wall is Demolished-Recycling Concrete in PA

The builder stopped by the house the other day. He asked. “You’re not going to keep that block wall around your patio, are you?” We both responded, “Yes, it’s going to be a walled-in patio with a stone veneer and flagstone pavers. We’re also going to have a fire pit.”

Taylor, the builder, responded with: “You are going to have nothing but problems with it. It’s going to ice over in the winter, you’ll be shoveling snow out of it and when the sump pump fails, it will flood the house.” He added, “The wall is so high that it blocks your whole view of the backyard. When you’re sitting down, you’ll be looking at a wall!” He continued with: “If I were you, I’d rip it down and grade the yard so that the patio is more level. You’ll have a beautiful view of the yard/future garden/landscaping. You can have a stone retaining wall that isn’t so high and stepping stones leading from the patio into the back yard.”

It didn’t take long to convince us. John and I had discussed the potential flooding issue many times. If we were away during a storm, and if the power went out, the sump pump would fail and it would be a nightmare. I also recall one of my blog commenters saying that he had a similar walled-in patio and it was nothing but problems.



Yesterday was D-day for the patio walls. John left the third wall (east side wall) because that is the footing for the 18×18 addition.


There was another heat warning yesterday along with extreme humidity. In the afternoon, while it was raining, John got his 30lb sledge hammer and began knocking out the block walls. When I took this photo and the following photos, the rain had just stopped, and the sun came out again, but the two walls were already gone. It took about one hour to demo both.



From inside the patio, remember how high the wall was? Our whole view of the backyard was blocked by the block wall….(I took the above photo a couple of months ago.)



And now with the block wall gone, it opened the area up and we can now see the backyard; what a huge difference. Taylor was right. Why would we have that wall blocking our view?


We can see out to the yard…now we have to move the shed back and to the side; it’s in the way.


It’s time to load the Dodge Ram with the block rubble and take it to the recycling place. It costs $20 a ton to recycle. (Another recycling business charges $12 per ton.)

Concrete Recycling Benefits: It’s a less destructive method of disposing of concrete structures. Instead of being brought to landfills, the concrete is put to good use by processing the rubble in a crushing machine and sorted for utilization for other purposes.

The useless rubble is turned into recycled products such as gravel for construction projects or a base layer when building roads. For residential driveways, a few inches of graded and compacted crushed concrete will provide a nice, sturdy base.



Flagstone Pavers and Fieldstone Veneers for the Walled-in Patio

We took a look at the indigenous Pennsylvania flagstone which we plan to use as pavers for the walled-in patio. When the time comes to do the patio, we’ll cut the flagstone and create an interesting mosaic design. First we have to get the addition and new roof built and then we’ll do the patio.


The flagstone is 1” thick and will cost about $2800.00 to purchase for the 18×24 patio.


Before we do anything with pavers, we have to install the pipe and sump pump in the sunken patio–otherwise it will turn into a swimming pool and flood the house. The waterproofing business who coached John on the French drain installation will also assist in laying the pipe down for the patio.



We took a look at the rock walls on display too…


We’ll choose to build a brick fire pit which will be a nice contrast with the blue-ish/gray flagstone pavers and also tie in the brick from the house.


We looked inside at the rock veneer displays for ideas on the wall surrounding the patio. I like this fieldstone look.


Plenty of options with these ‘Old Philly Squares’ too…




This is the same company where John recycled the concrete from the house.


Whichever rock veneer wall we choose, we’ll top it off with a thick bluestone slab.



Cutting Down Another Tree, Removing Ivy & Attracting Goldfinches

Most of the trees in the backyard were covered with ivy, so over the weekend I set out taking down the invasive vines. It was relatively easy, basically grab a vine and pull. Ivy vines can become so strong that they need to be sandblasted off of buildings. It might look pretty but ivy is destructive. English ivy was first introduced to the states during the colonial era.


Before Photo: (A rope was tied to one of the ivy-covered trees and attached to a tree that John cut down–I pulled on the rope to have the tree fall in a certain spot. As it came down, I ran.) See below.


After Photo: Ivy  removed and the tree (s) can now breathe.


John tied the rope to the tree to be cut down and then wrapped the other end around the ivy-covered tree a distance away. The rope was taut. When John cut a notch in the tree, near the base, I pulled on the rope until I felt the tree falling, and then I ran. It slammed to the ground.




The angle of the tree was funky with dagger-like branches hanging vertically.



In this photo, you can see the taut rope (which is actually climbing rope).


I absolutely would not suggest anyone attempting to cut a tree down like this unless you’re experienced. John is a Jack of all trades. He worked –on the side– with a tree surgeon for years, who taught him everything he knows about cutting trees down.

In the above photo, you can see where John cut a notch in the tree with his chain saw, with this technique combined with the taut rope, he was able to control where the tree landed–as I pulled on the taut rope.

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The tree stump is to the left and the light pours in now.



John added to the wood pile which is now neatly stacked.


And I headed to a local shop which sells a large selection of bird feeders. I asked the lady how to attract goldfinches and she suggested a small (affiliate link) bird feeder meant for finches along with their coveted nyjer seed (goldfinches eat seed almost exclusively). She suggested I place it next to my other feeders and the goldfinches will be attracted to the feeding activity as well as the bright yellow top. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!


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