Bricked in.

Here is project d’ jour… fixing the run-off problems in the front of the house.  The house next door is built approximately 18 inches higher than grade.  Pre-Katrina, we talked to an inspector who was going to recommend remediation for the builder/new home owner to mitigate the problem.  But then Katrina happened, the new owner moved, no one was there for a year, and the new homeowner hasn’t bothered to even hook up the downspouts in over a year — resulting in continued massive run-off problems to us and the neighbor on his other side (whose handicap ramp is significantly sinking off-level).  Paul built a ‘levee’ between our homes when the house was built, but the water still runs down the side of the house to the street.  It takes all the dirt from our plants in the front and is eroding the sidewalk, causing it to tip slowly towards the street.

So, given the circumstances, here is how we’re addressing it.  We’re working on improving the drainage in the front of the house.  Into the fall, we’ll do more along the side of the house, but we’re starting here first.

Paul laid concrete footers months ago and now is getting back to laying the bricks.  He power washed bricks (the ones we found waaay under the ground in the sides and back of the house) and built up a wall the same level as the sidewalk.  Within the bricks are channels for water to flow out.  He’s back filling with stones to facilitate drainage at the base.

The planter beds are also getting bricked in.  This will also help to control run-off (and run-away mulch and soil) as well as create a barrier to discourage dogs from peeing on my plants.

That’s Kate on her way to the market.  Note her special shopping bag.

You can sort of see the hole in the wall at the base here.  Paul is laying concrete here, hence why he’s moving so fast.

Here’s the hole from the front.  Notice the old N. & O. printed on the bricks?  They are over 100 years old.  There is some speculation that they rode down the Mississippi from St. Louis (someone said this to us a while back) … but we really don’t know.

Here’s the other side of the front bed.

Because Paul has been married to me for eight years, he understands that chances are, “someone” will have difficulty parallel parking and accidentally drive up on the bricks.  To prevent them from collapsing in when this happens, Paul smartly rigged a wall of concrete support behind the bricks.  Here is the wooden wall he built to retain the concrete for when he pours it.

Anyone notice how ridiculously close that expensive car is to an area where concrete and mortar are being mixed and sprayed?  We were very polite and thoughtful and put up barriers with enough space on each side so that no vehicles would be in the line of concrete splashes or mud being whipped up by the pressure washer.  But some people aren’t so smart (or considerate).  In fact, some would move the barriers we put up and park within the danger zone… and even on the curb!