The Way It Was
When we bought the house in February, 1994 it looked like this:
Just a little 1965-vintage house. It was constructed with an artificial 'hill' in the front to provide an entry on the main level and a walkout basement/family room around back. It's also at the top of a T-intersection.
Since this picture was take we've cut down the tree in the front yard and placed a rail around the little front porch.
Most homes in our neighborhood have only a stub of a driveway; barely long enough for a single car. I had a grand vision: I pictured a driveway running around the side of the house and across the back into a garage set perpendicular to the house. The whole thing being sort of an L-shaped affair.
Something like this:
I must have drawn and redrawn this picture fifty times. Finally got it right.
Once we had a plan, we started the search for a contractor. That was no small task. Most of the contractors we contacted were either too busy, considered the project too small, or considered the project too big. We actually got bids from 3 contractors and decided to go with a local company named "Signature Contracting."
We wrote the first check at the end of April 99. By July Signature had phoned with several delays. Finally they started work with a excavation subcontractor with whom they had contracted that morning for the job. The excavation moved along quickly.
Over the next several months, our project was worked only about one day a week with two or three guys. They made Several attempts to construct the forms for the concrete pad. It was clear that they had never done a monolithic pad before.
I'm a retired Army Officer and I spent most of my time as a Combat Engineer. I placed many a concrete pad in my day and I know competence, or the lack thereof, when I see it; and this was the latter!
Eventually the pad was poured. But the forms couldn't stand up to the weight of the concrete and bowed outward badly. Since the side sheathing had to go over the edge of the pad (to make it weather-tight) Signature was required to come back and cut the edges of the pad to size with a concrete saw and square it.