Since the first day we moved in, I've always disliked the ugly green electrical transformer at the end of our driveway. Shortly after we moved in we tried to plant some shrubs to hide the utility boxes. To no avail, everything we planted quickly died. So I decided to hide them with wood and stone.
First, I dug a foundation 12 inches into the ground. I then placed a few inches of crushed stone in the holes and built a form for the cement foundation. After hand mixing 16 bags of cement the foundations were completed. We then visited our friends at Home Depot to purchase 212 (8"X8"X16") cement blocks. Grace, Emily, and I quickly became pros on how to mix mortar and stack cement blocks. Once the cement pillars were built, I attached 4X4's to later hang the fencing on.
I purchased two pallets on Eldorado Stone Veneer. I was nervous about using a veneer rather than real stone. This veneer was so easy to work with, I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. I challenge anyone to tell the difference between this and real stone.
To finish off the pillars, I had a local company cast three cement toppers with a little dye injected to match the stone. I had no idea how much the toppers (38"X38") would weigh. I'm guessing they are somewhere between 350-500 pounds. The problem was I had to lift them over five feet. You would think after lifting 212 cement blocks it wouldn't be a problem, However, I couldn't even lift them to get a hand underneath. So I borrowed my father's Kubota tractor to help lift them. I placed the bucket next to the topper and used a ratchet to pull them into the bucket. Once in the bucket, I strapped them in using heavy duty webbing. Then I used the front end loader to lift them into place. Surprisingly everything worked perfectly without incident.
Lessons Learned: Emily and Grace painted the fencing white. While their painting is almost perfect, what I can't understand is how they managed to cover themselves with so much paint. Seriously, they covered themselves after only painting two sections. Later that evening we met some friends at a nearby vineyard. I noticed Emily choose to get dressed up but didn't scrub the paint off the back of her hands. It's my theory it was her way of showing our friends she isn't afraid to get dirty either.