We make plenty of mistakes. I'd like to share them so you don't have to.
- If you need a yard of concrete or over, order a concrete truck! Not only it is it cheaper, but so much easier.
- If you do order a truck, make your forms strong. Or, even better, rent the forms!
- If you do make your own forms. Use 1/2" MDF, not 1/4". We had great luck with the 1/2" and didn't even use release agent.
- If you are going to mix the concrete by hand, don't bother with renting a mixer. It didn't save us any time over just mixing in the wheelbarrow.
- Reusing things you already have will likely save you $$, but expect to put in extra time and effort. I love our "reclaimed concrete" wall, but it definitely was more work than just calling in truck to pour this solid concrete.
- The reusing of our flagstone pavers was a total bust. They made the gravel bed too thick, were a tripping hazard and just a general pain in the arse. Good thing I dragged them around 6 times before we decided not to use them. ;(
- Our "rock garden" patch, which was also stones we had already in the yard was a great success though.
- Good fences make good neighbors, blah, blah, blah. Think about your fence. We could not afford anything fancy, so we went with a more basic fence that will serve as a very long grape and plant vine support. Two birds, one stone. (Or as my Bulgarian friend would say: "One hammer, two cats" or whatever. Weird country.)
- And while I'm on fences, let me state my dislike of the typical 6' high wood fence. We have them on part of our yard provided by our neighbors, we really didn't want to have them on all sides. It makes me feel like I'm in prison.
- Hire out for your fence installation! Digging fence post holes is about the worst job on the planet. The hard clay 12" under our good topsoil makes it even worse. When veteran fencing people complain about putting your posts up, that when you realize you are glad they are doing it, not you.
- Maybe have them do your gates too. In an effort to save $, and do some DIY on the fence, Marc decided to do the 5 gates himself. It's over a month later, and I still have no gates. Not that I blame him, he's been hella busy with other stuff.
- Get a dumpster. No, wait, get two dumpsters. And wait until you have energy to fill it properly. We were tired and stressed when we got our dumpster and didn't fill it in the best way. So of course, we still have junk in the backyard.