French drain

French Drain

So we found a lot of cracks along on our cement patio and a contractor told us that we had a slight negative grade so we could regrade away from the patio or try a french drain. I still don’t know if this was the way to go.

This was a weekend project by myself.  I weigh 120 lbs so I had my work cut out.  I think it was one day of pure digging before I had the energy to reconvene.  Other sites will give you more technical advice.  I’m just showing how I did mine.


Rebuilding the walkway

Flagstone to pavers walkway

Flagstone to pavers walkway

My original walkway lasted half a year before I had to replace it with something more stable.  The flagstone was great for getting around the surface tree roots, but the gutter drained over this walkway and we had standing water.

So, I pulled all the flagstone, put down weed fabric, rocks, and sand, and put down pavers.  I got a great deal from Lowe’s, 57 for $.88 during the Memorial Day sale.

Lattice privacy screen planter

I like my neighbor, but I don’t want to see him every day when I step out of my backyard. I knew I wanted a lattice privacy screen so I could grow a climbing vine that will give me a natural wall to enjoy.

After building the lattice screen, I realized I was going to struggle with mounting it to a sturdy foundation.  The conventional way is digging down 2-3 feet, putting down a post, and then filling with cement.  An associate at Home Depot said the wood will rot over time so I didn’t want to deal with that nor did I want something permanent just in case I want a change.  I figure by mounting my lattice to a planter, I should have enough weight to keep the structure steadfast as well as have aesthetic quality.

After screening some ideas on pinterest, I came up with this design for my needs.  Most of the stand alone lattice screen planters I saw didn’t look like they would hold up to the powerful winds we have in Colorado so I modified some ideas and tried to keep costs low.

lattice privacy screen planter


  • 6′ cedar fence (8) ($2.15 x 8 = $17.20)  ( Free if you use free wood from neighbors)

  • 1+ 3/4″ Wood Screws (50 for $5.76)

  • 1″ Wood Screws (50 for $3.88)

  • 3″ Wood Screws ( 3x.96 = $2.88)

  • 2×8 Stud Posts (2) (2×2.94 = $5.88)

  • 4×8 Lattice Screens (one cut to 2×8 so I could have a 6×8 wall) (2 x$20= $40)

  • Paint (free, leftover)

  • 2×2 posts (6) (free, leftover)

  • Total: $75.60 without tax

Tools: Clamps. Miter saw, Drill

I built my first planter for free using free wood from a neighbor’s fence, but the posts were a bit warped and I didn’t get good alignment, which is why I purchased new cedar planks.

1st planter

Despite the deception in the picture, don’t expect perfection.  Even the new cedar planks were a little warped but they were fairly aligned.

Suggestions for next time:

-Alternate the fence post so you have a curve and a straight edge next to each other

-Rather than an open planter, create a wooden base so the soil can weigh down the planter for a more sturdy foundation

-Install the lattice last.  (I created the lattice panel first and then attached it to the planter, which was a bit challenging to move around.)