Lamppost – Courtyard Project DIY – Part Two

The Courtyard Project - Part Two - Life With Lorelai -

Courtyard Project – DIY Makeover Part Two…

Remember this trench from my post, Courtyard Project – DIY Makeover Begins!? I told you then that the trench had something to do with a present from Luke and Rory. If you Follow Me on INSTAGRAM, you know that I received a gorgeous lamppost for my birthday!

A Courtyard Lamppost

I have always adored old-fashioned lampposts. I even love the word lamppost and the way it’s spelled, LOL. As we were hard at work in renovating my courtyard this summer, we would sit exhausted at the end of a long evening trying to cool down. The problem we had was not a new one–the courtyard was dark. The two sensor-ed lights would not stay on for any length of time causing us to have to walk up to the light and wave our arms around like lunatics to get the lights to turn back on again. This was definitely not a relaxing way to take a break.

So Luke and Rory put their noodles together and concocted an amazingly wonderful idea for my birthday present. I can’t even tell you how excited and happy I still am about my lamppost.

We Got To Work…

The lamppost project was a big undertaking. We needed to:

  1. Dig a trench from the lamppost location to the house (including under about 10 feet of brick patio).
  2. Break through concrete.
  3. Run electrical out to the lamppost and inside the house .
  4. Tap into the house electrical.
  5. Install a wall switch inside the house.
  6. Mock-up and Test Fit throughout process.
  7. Build a brick pedestal for the lamppost to raise it a little and also help keep the base from standing in water when it rains.
  8. Strengthen and stabilize the base.
  9. Put together the lamppost and connect electricity.


See how we did it…

We dug trenches along the brick out to the lamppost site and also in the side yard where the electrical hook-up would be placed. We dug cavities under the bricks and wall on each end.

Then we hooked up the Hydro-Pipe that Luke made for tunneling under the 10 feet of bricks and wall.  The Hydro-Pipe was made of galvanized pipe with a threaded elbow at one end for attaching a hose and a hose nozzle at the other end.

We attached the hose and turned on the water. This was amazing. What an ingenious way to flush out a tunnel for laying the electrical pipe. Mud bath anyone?

There were three galvanized pipes sticking up through bricks where an L-shaped bench had been cemented in place. That bench long ago rotted away, and we had some concrete benches sitting over those upright pipes. We too out two of the pipes and left the middle one to help support the lamppost, and hopefully to use for running electrical wire. So, Luke went to work trying to break-out a hole in the concrete at the pipe end to fit electrical pipe through.

We laid the electrical pipes, ran the wires, and tapped into the house electricity.

We put a wall switch inside the house to operate the lamppost.

Then it was time to lay the brick pedestal as the base for our lamppost. I wanted the lamppost to be a little higher, and the pedestal will also keep the base of the actual lamppost from standing in water when it rains.

The square wood contraption is a brick leveler and spacer that Luke put together. He slid he wood over the galvanized pipe and manipulated the screw for leveling. The bricks fitted up against the sides of the wood and were level with the top of the wood.

Then we cemented in the bricks, removed the spacer, and filled the center with cement. The joints were pressed and angled slightly to allow water to run off the brick pedestal.

While the cement was drying, we connected the electricity from the house to the wall switch and out to the lamppost.

Luke welded together a stabilizer for the lamppost. It slid down over the galvanized pipe and rested on the brick pedestal. The screws on the upright part, where used for centering, while the screw on the bottom where used for leveling and attaching the base to the bricks.

The lamppost base fit right down over the stabilizer and onto the bottom leveling screws where acorn nuts were used for tightening. We constructed the lamppost according to the boxed directions, and finished hooking up the electrical. And then,

It was time to Light the Lamppost…

Isn’t it beautiful? I am so pleased with how it turned out. I’m thinking this is the most amazing birthday gift I have ever received.

Think about all the possibilities for decorating this beauty for the different holidays!

Here it is all gussied up for Halloween!

This project was a lot of work, but we had a great time working together and getting it done. And we gained  a sense of accomplishment and pride, along with a gorgeous new courtyard lamppost.

What do you have on your Wish List?

Do you have a project in your plans?

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Courtyard Project – DIY Makeover Begins!

The DIY Courtyard Project Begins

This summer we undertook the courtyard project: cleaning-up and revitalizing the courtyard at my house. The planters were disgusting, overgrown in areas, dirt in others, Lantana running amok, plants that attacked you as you walked through the front gate. It was awful.

Now, let me just preface these pictures with this little fact: We have a GARDENER! The same gardening crew has been working here every week for about 35-years! Knowing this will make you shutter all the more when you see these photos.

Here are a couple of pictures to show you sort of how bad it was.

This is actually an older picture from an earlier post–you can read more about Rory’s Locks Of Love. The picture doesn’t really show how bad the plants had gotten, but you can get some kind of an idea. The Bamboo and Jasmine had grown way out over the walkway making you feel like you were entering a dangerous jungle of spiderwebs and who knows what.

You can see just how overgrown things were. The debris pile is a picture from one of my posts about our indoor flood… Bathroom Bliss – A Few Cleaning Tips, check it out.

A better view of the Gardenia bushes and mini Rose tree. Isn’t this a lovely planter! Cough, cough, choke…

How we began the Courtyard Project…

We started by cutting off the Heavenly Bamboo (the first week left us with sticks poking up out of the ground about waist-high). Then, we took electric clippers to the Night Blooming Jasmine hedge and ripped it out, and finished pulling out the stumps from the Heavenly Bamboo, before tackling the Lantana!

Lantana is an incredibly invasive plant. It takes over everything. We were above knee deep in Lantana trying to get rid of it all. Then we pulled out some kind of Trumpet plant that had blown in from my neighbor’s yard and took root.

After the Jasmine was gone, we amended the soil in the narrow planter alongside my entry walkway and planted Clivia. These Clivia plants came from Luke’s childhood home, and they get the most gorgeous vibrant orange blooms on them. They bloom somewhere during the Fall / Winter / early Spring.

Won’t this planter be beautiful when in full bloom? You can see on the right side of the picture a hole in my stucco. The gardeners would blow all the leaves and debris under and behind my bushes, so they didn’t have to clean it up. The leaves were piled so thickly behind the Jasmine vine that it weakened my stucco, and there was actually a root growing into my house.

You can see behind Luke that the Heavenly Bamboo is gone. The tall sticks of a bush is my sickly Snowball Bush that my dad brought from Mississippi years and years ago. During this courtyard project, we discovered that the Snowball Bush had termites! Luke chopped out the termite damaged areas, and it seems to be coming back nicely. I would sure hate to lose the bush, it is so pretty when it blooms.

The Lantana is gone! We found a few mounds of Society Garlic that managed to survive beneath the heap. Amazing! With a little sunlight and some water, the Society Garlic is thriving.

You may be wondering what the trench is in this picture. That is a post for another time and has to do with my birthday present from Luke and Rory. So, be sure to check back!

Needless to say, the so-called gardeners have hence been fired! I just didn’t care what pops would say anymore after finding all the damage done.

Watch for more installments and progress on the Courtyard Project coming soon to Life With Lorelai.

What big projects have you tackled?

Do you have any projects planned for the future?

UPDATE: Check out Part Two of the Courtyard Project – Lamppost… HERE

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