Time to Move Outside to the Patio

As promised in our big project announcement, we can't go all baby all the time around here; we've got too many outstanding projects for that! So true to our word, we started planning our patio project over the weekend.

The view from our driveway to our side yard/back yard looks a little something like this:
To the right of the shed we have a slightly more private area that gets nice shade from the weed-tree (we don't know what it is, but our neighbors cut it annually and it grows like an absolute weed) on the other side of our fence. A few months ago we helped ourselves to a huge patio's worth of thick, square cut slate from the house next door to S's parents that was set to be demolished and have been contemplating where to build our own patio ever since.
The area next to the shed makes perfect sense - the area will have a little shade so we can actually use the patio and keeping it off in the corner means we don't sacrifice too much of the lawn space where we like to play ball with Feeney - or where we might need to put a little swing set in the not too distant future.

Last weekend we pulled out some leftover 4x4's to mark out where we'd like to put our new patio. We know our patio stones came from a patio that was approximately 20x25 and we certainly don't have that much space for a patio that big in our yard. At first we thought we'd just take up the area to the right of the shed, with the front left corner of the patio matching the corner of the shed. But when we had the 4x4's on the ground, it just looked too boxy. The whole area has a bit of a slope, so we're going to have to dig down to level the site and create a retaining wall with planter boxes along the fence. The slope naturally starts to level out at just about 18 feet from the back fence - two feet for a planter box and 16 feet for the patio.
If we leave two feet for planter areas on either side of the patio next to the side fence and the shed, then the width of our patio will be just under 12 feet, leaving us with a 16x~12 patio. Since we have so many nice big stones to work with, we'll also be able to create a walkway leading from the shed to the patio, including a front entry stone or two in front of the shed doors.
I'd love to do a curve at the front left corner of the patio to soften the angles in the yard, but time will tell if we can secure a stone cutter within our meager budget capable of cutting through the slate. Since this is a tight-budget project, we're planning to do most of the work ourselves. However, we may first put a "gig offered" on Craigs list just to see what the cost would be to get a little help with the digging. S has done a ton with the shovel in the past year and he's not opposed to taking a pass on more for the right price - especially since my bending and lifting tasks are limited to, well, let's just say they're limited.

We'll leave the 4x4's in the yard for a few days to get our eyes used to the new patio space just to make sure we don't want to change anything between now and when we scoop out the first shovelful of dirt.

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  1. Our neighbors built a beautiful two-tiered patio themselves. It was back-breaking to say the least but beautiful in the end. They had an unbelievable amount of stone and rock delivered in order to get everything the way it should be. I can show it to you sometime if you want. I would head over to Home Depot and pick up a couple of guys in front of Fortune Restaurant for $100 each per day. Well worth your time!

  2. A great and colorful post! Happy Thanks giving to you and your family!


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