After many months of planning and preparation, we finally decided to fix our retaining wall outside.

It wasn't terribly bad before.  Just not as functional as it should have been.  And sorta ugly. 





We had to tear down the existing retaining wall.




So we could start over with the new stone.




Each one of these stones weighs around 80 pounds.  They were all moved by hand.  By Chad.  By Ryan.  By me.  Remember on my Shred review when I said I took a few days off to do some manual labor? 

This was it.


The wheelbarrow weighs roughly 270 pounds.  As you can imagine, many, many trips were made with the wheelbarrow.


We decided that instead of a plain jane retaining wall, we would build a bench, with curves…and built in cup holders and speakers that rise up like a venus. 

Well, maybe we wanted all that, but just went with the bench part.



It got dirty around here.  Boys like mud.


Weeks have passed.  We are making slow progress.


Once we got in the stone it was horribly obvious that the landscaping needed some 'touching up' as well.

After 2 months of working nights, weekends, then some more nights and weekends, we were finally able to sit back and look at our new retaining wall.

You ready???

Is this anti-climatic or is it me?







The bench has turned out to be a great addition to our lives and the way we enjoy the outdoors.













Thanks for waiting so patiently (or impatiently.  you know who you are carma) for the Big Reveal.

Maybe you can come over and enjoy a nice cool lemonade with us some time.  You bring the leonade.;)

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. wow. what a heck of a lot of work!! whew! i’m not jealous. it looks awesome but the WORK! great part is it will last forever now! when you are 80, you can tell your grandkids, “grandma used to be young and strong and lifted those 80# stones.” they’ll be amazed. heck, i’m already amazed. we have soooo many big outdoor projects to work on. the house is 17yrs old with little to NO upgrades or fix ups so, yeah, i want to just sell it as is! but we can’t beat this rent!

  2. oh, i wanted to suggest, not that you are asking for suggestions. maybe something viney or low-lying shrub along the side where there is just that wood chip stuff (not sure what that is…i live in the desert. we have dirt and rock for landscaping.) anyways, thought that would look nice. oh, and does that patio just totally fill up with snow in the winter? just curious.

  3. I NEVER THOUGHT this day would come. I’m glad I stayed up until after midnight since I got to see the big reveal!! You guys are like professionals – but without the butt crack 😉

  4. We think this looks wonderful!!!!! I also just love Hydrageans (who knows how to spell that!?)!!! I love it 🙂 Sorry we are so late to this post..hee hee

  5. Just dropping in to say thank you to the OP for the great post!
    My wife and I utilized to love hanging out in front of our gas fireplace in our old home. I gotta say, there is nothing better than coming home from a long, cold day to a nice warm fire. It was great to not need to worry about chopping wood as well, I hate that. We also never had to venture out into the snow to bring much more in. Plus wood burning fireplaces are fairly messy. They’re fairly hazardous too, especially with popping wood and flying embers. Too bad we live in Florida now and do not require fireplaces anymore, otherwise we’d still have one!

  6. What an excellent post!
    My loved ones and I love our backyard, it is really turned into our own little private retreat, especially now that we’ve added a fireplace out about the deck. That’s exactly where we spend most of the time hanging out. There is absolutely nothing more fun than spending an evening around the fireplace with good food and good friends! I adore cuddling through the fireplace as well with my husband! Romantic! We use the fireplace each and every chance we get, even on warm nights it is still fantastic to have a crackling fire going. We even taking loved ones “camping” trips out towards the deck and sleep by the fire! Our children love it, and we adore it even more because they can just go back inside to their video games if they get tired of camping!

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