We rented a jack hammer for which Reid nicknamed me "jackhammer Sallie" (I was hoping that the jackhammer would work like those old exercise machines - nope). Then we hauled all the concrete pieces up the stairs to Reid's truck and to the dump - it took three loads to go to the dump. We purchased the stone and had it delivered (unfortunately they would only bring it to the driveway in the front). So we started hauling bricks to the backyard. Jen and I could carry 4 at time...everyone else could take more. It took a lot of trips to the back (we had almost 500 stones). When the kids came over for Sunday dinner, everyone had to make a couple of trips to the backyard with bricks. The Pattee's even came over one day to help...they did the last bit and FINALLY all the bricks were in the backyard.
Then we started taking out the sod by hand with a little sod cutter kinda like a shovel that is flat -- that didn't last long. It is totally worth renting an electric sod cutter.
Next we marked off the area and then started hauling dirt out. Then we got out the level and found that to make everything level we had to bring the dirt back in. Reid had a gig in Montana and so Jennifer and I would get up early in the morning and make a few trips back and forth to bring the dirt back in (we had taken all the dirt up the stairs to the side of the house and put it under the trees) and then at night when it cooled off after work -- we did it again. By Thursday we thought we had enough dirt in the area and tamped down.
We put PVC pipe in to level it and started putting sand in and then screening the sand with a board. When Reid got home we still needed more sand. Mike and Melissa came over and we put more sand in...It seemed like we put sand in forever. Finally everything was level....
And they helped us put the bricks in. Good thing they came too...cause Reid could not get the pattern. So Mike laid every one (I still don't think Reid can see the pattern). It looked good... but as we had anticipated the level at the far end was 10 inches lower so we needed a retaining wall border. Reid and I went and got more bricks and we finally finished on Saturday just in time to go to Kaylee's birthday party. I think it was worth it to take out the "perfectly good concrete."