When we bought our house in 2002 the three-bay garage came with it “as is” and the previous owners disclosed roof leakage. The garage was put up in 1920 and had a barn board exterior.
We figured it would come down in a year or two and we would replace it with either a large shed or a smaller garage. Then we had Nikki and the number of medical bills ate up the available money for house projects.
Over time we accepted that the project just wasn’t going to be a priority, so we made a choice to shorten the driveway – it used to run the full length of the property – turning about half of it into lawn and when the roof leaks worsened we stopped storing items in the garage at all.
Finally this summer we decided that the garage was coming down – only 8 years behind schedule. Truth is it had to; the water damage had gotten too bad. We wanted to do it at the least cost to us, which meant taking it down by hand, reusing what we could of the boards and beams and hoping for no surprises under the floor. Our goal was to only need one dumpster, figuring the water damage made the roofing and floor boards unusable in any other projects.
Brian was about three-quarters of the way through the process for removing the doors, windows and pulling off the siding, board-by-board, when a neighbor stopped over and offered to pull the garage down using a Bobcat – if we would pay for the cost of the fuel to run it. He said he’d rather not watch the garage collapse on top of Brian.
So we ended up with a little more help, a little less material to reuse and an addition dumpster to fill. Now our backyard seems huge and we have some landscaping to take care of (including putting up a larger swingset – purchased with the winnings from the ). All that’s left is a pile of old board, a big pile of rocks and some unusable stuff that we need to figure out what to do with. There are some rather interesting finds under old buildings – old bottles, a bridle, and a few former animal occupants.
We’re almost done with our first project reusing the boards – a composting station. I had a composting bin, but one of the storms last year brought a large branch right on top of it and destroyed it. And between the gardens, the lawn clippings and the leaves in the fall we have plenty to throw into the bins.
We’re also going to build a small shed to store bicycles in – partially in hopes that if they are easier to get to we might use them more often. It’s not exactly fun to haul them up from the basement whenever little ones want to go for a ride.
The rock is likely going to become a rock garden, adding some landscaping to the back yard and solving a problem created by the removal of the garage – a 2 foot drop in one section. We wanted a fence or something there to prevent people from getting hurt.
The transformation will continue into fall and knowing how projects go at our house into next year as well. But it’s finally beginning to turn into the yard we dreamed of when we bought the house.
My time as a columnist at Patch is ending, but I don’t think my writing will. I’ve enjoyed doing this and so have decided to resurrect my old blog Redefining Perfection. Hope to talk with some of you there.