Sunday, December 29, 2013

Building a Door Step with log rounds - 12/29/13


My friends were up at my house cutting the trees that have fallen down over the last year for firewood, and I asked them to cut me some "rounds" out of the big tree trunk that got hit by lightning. They did and when I got up there was a nice pile of 4-6 inch tree rounds. (A round is a cutting that goes all the way through the trunk in a  complete circle.)
Tree Rounds
At first, my plan was to use these as "stepping stones" from the back deck to the driveway but then I was up there and saw my back sliding door with it's sad little board for a step.

This board as been the back "step" since I bought the place... sad.
And I noticed that the rounds were actually the perfect height to reach the door and that gave me the idea to see if I could make something work. I started arranging and re-arranging the rounds trying to get the height level and to see if I could get them to lock together.

First pass
 It took a lot of tries to find a combination I liked.. and these are not light to move around!

Second Pass
After I got the big pieces where I liked them, there were still space in between so I started cutting up smaller logs and fitting those in between. It was like playing Jenga in reverse... and man it took about 3 hours of just placing them down, pulling them up, cutting more, and placing down in another spot.
Smaller pieces being filled in between
And more..

I got it where I liked the design and then worked on leveling out the pieces to the best of my ability. That took awhile as well... I wanted it sturdy enough to walk on without wobbling. So then I had to figure out how to make it more stable. Off to Lowes! I bought some flexible garden board, stakes, and sand and pebbles.

Surrounded it with flexible garden border
 After the border was secured, I used 2 bags of sand to fill in the holes and secure the small logs into place.
Pour the sand out and brush it around.. you don't want it all the way to the top.
 After the sand is in place I had 2 bags of small pebbles and did the same thing with them. Poured them out and worked them into the cracks. You need to make sure you have a bit of a slope going away from the house for drainage.
Pour and sweep!

Pebbles are in... 
 After about 1 1/2 bags of pebbles I sprayed it with water to help it settle and filled in the voids with the rest of the pebbles.
Front view

I am not happy with the border... I don't like the way it looks. I think I will need to get some redwood or landscape timbers and use them instead. But until then, this works. I love the look of it and the fact that it is made from the beautiful oak tree that lived on my property. And in a few years, I can easily change it since it is not cement. Next time I will spray them with a waterproof sealant to help keep the color nice and stop them from rotting. They are in a protected area (somewhat) so that should help.

See what happens when I get creative? Takes up the whole weekend and I love it! Casey on the other hand, was not impressed.
When's dinner?

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