Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Beanpole Teepee and Patio

The beanpole teepee for the boys is DONE! I spent way too much time digging the sod out. I wanted to rent a sod cutter but it was not worth the cost. $65 for 4 hours, when the rest of the project only cost me around $60.

I of course got my idea from a pin on Pinterest. I pretty much followed the directions on the page except for the center stone. They wanted me to get a 17" stone. Well, they don't come in that size. At least not that I could find after spending a couple of hours searching online. I considered making my own using a plastic planter base as a mold but then I realized it would take a good week to set and become useable. That was not going to work for me. I wanted to get this project done right away.

First, I took a stick and tied a 3.5 foot piece of twine on it, near the bottom, then I stuck it in the ground where I wanted the patio floor of the teepee. I took a left over can of spray paint from the crib project and sprayed the grass while  holding the nozzle of the can near the end of the twine and walking in a circle.
Next, I started digging (about a foot outside the pink line, the pink line is the finished size of the patio....I wanted a dirt area on the outside of the patio to have a space to plant the beans in). I have no idea what kind of grass this is here in the back of our yard. It is different from the rest of the yard. It goes completely white in the winter (it has not yet gone completely green yet this year) and it is thick. It's root system makes a sort of mat in the top 2 inches of the soil. It about killed me to even get the shovel though the grass. This step took me 3 days when it should have only take me a few hours. After I had about 2/3 of it done I got G to help. I had planned a play date with a couple of kids from Hugh's school but they only planned on helping with the bricks.
There was the problem of what to do with all the grass and dirt that I ripped out. Well, I made some new flower beds with it! I put down newspaper to smother the grass in the area and then I put the sod upside down on top of it. By putting it upside down the sun bakes the roots and the grass stops growing. I will spend the rest of the summer adding to the new beds. G will dump all the grass clippings on it and all our kitchen compost scraps will also go on it. If I had all that stuff to dump on it now I could just let it sit for 6 weeks and it would be ready. I have to do it the long way though. It will be ready to plant in in the fall.

Here is the final size of the newly added bed. I was excited to be able to get the entire bed laid out with the sod and dirt that I ripped out of the patio area!
Next up...the sand base. The pin directions called for 12 bags total, 6 for the base. Yeah, as if. I had to use all 12 bags as the base. This pic is of the awesome mom from the boys' school and G working on leveling the sand. I have to say, this was the hardest part and the part that we kind of gave up on. I knew that a perfectly level patio didn't matter since it's intended purpose is the floor of a teepee. I learned a lot though and I "think" I will be able to accomplish this step a bit better on the big patio on the other side of the yard (the one that we intend to put a table on and need a level floor).

Oh, and I know it is just an excuse but it was HOT out. Hot and the sun was beating down on us (I have the crazy sun burn to show for this day), and we needed this step to be over.
I didn't get a picture of the step where we laid the bricks. Or the kids hauling all 150 bricks and handing them to me but I did get this one of the boys standing on the patio before I filled in the cracks. You can see that it is not level...I was not about to pull the bricks back up and start over with the sand step though. I also bought a bag of smooth river rocks and we added them in the "big cracks". It think the kids enjoyed doing that.
I decided to add a stepping stone where the "entrance" to the teepee would be. I also decided to not use regular sand to fill the cracks. That is just inviting 2 young boys to dig it all back up. Doing that turned into a huge hassle though. I did my research and decided to use polymeric sand It worked perfectly and almost like magic! I love that stuff. I ended up having to use two 50 lb. bags...and that was exactly enough for a patio of this size. 

We had a frantic gardening in the dark issue with this though. I spread the sand and then got it a little bit wet with the hose...it got dark by this point....the directions said to go out and get it wet a second time...I did that. The directions then said to not let it get rained on for 24 hours. Go, check the weather. Oh, crap! Realize that it is supposed to storm all night and all the next day. Then realize that the tarp is still holding all the dirt that needs to be back filled around the edges.

G really is a good sport with all my crazy projects. He came out and set up a small flashlight and started back filling the dirt while I finished up something in the house. I came out and we finished with the dirt. It actually was pretty nice working in the garden in the dark. No chance of getting a sun burn! Anyway, after all that work to use the tarp to cover the patio, the storms all passed us by. I shot this pic the next evening just before dark. You can see my stepping stone where the entrance  will be.
G had a day off work today so I got him to help me with the poles for the teepee. I bought twenty-four 6' bamboo poles. I knew that they would not be long enough since the patio is 7 feet across, so we taped 2 poles together with some duct tape. We gave them a 12" overlap to make them sturdy. That gave us 12 poles for the teepee. Miss Faye was great and took a nice long nap so we were able to get the entire thing done. I didn't measure but I think there is a good 7 or 8 feet of standing room on the inside of the teepee.

As for the top of the teepee, I just tied the bamboo poles together with twine.
We left to go pick the boys up at school and came back late in the day. The sun was low in the sky and I realized that my stepping stone and entrance were poorly located. They face west and the afternoon sun shone directly in the teepee. Obviously it is not an issue now that it is bare, but once the beans fill it all in then it will not be shaded inside in the afternoon. It bothered me enough that I dug the stone up and relocated it on the south side of the teepee.

After I relocated the stepping stone I then needed to fix the position of all the bamboo poles to accommodate a new entrance. Then, give the boys a quick planting lesson. Find stick....poke holes around poles...drop a couple of beans in each hole....cover and firm soil....DONE!

Then I tied twine all around the teepee to define the area for the boys (get them used to going in and out at the entrance) and to give a tiny bit of stability to the poles.
Here are the boys....excited by the teepee. Well, Hugh is for sure and Owen is really excited by the rolly polly in Hugh's hand.
Now, we water and wait. We planted 6 beans around each pole. There has got to be at least one good strong one to come up around each pole. I will thin them back if we get all of them to come up.

Project done! On to birthday party planning. The count down is on....party in 11 days.

1 comment:

  1. Love this idea, you are rather clever, I am hoping to create this in my own back yard soon!! thank you for the inspiration :) I prob wont use those plants as we are in Australia, but some other pretty flowery plant :)