Wednesday, August 26, 2015

patio makeover reveal - we're finally done!

wooot! are you excited about this as much as i am? probably not. i don't blame you. but just stay with me because the end result is beeeaaaauuuutiful! 
when we bought our house about 14 months ago, the back yard looked like this:
living in an apartment, it was pretty much our dream come true after you've gone years without a backyard. it was ample but weedy, and in great condition. the deck was spectacular, and i was already imagining all the updates i could do to it. 
about 6 or 7 months went by and we quickly learned the previous owners (also the builders of said deck) did not really build it as a permanent structure. its untreated wood started rotting in the houston weather. there was absolutely no escape for the humidity under that deck, either. 
and then termites. 
so yeah.
it had to go.
we had a blank slate. no real back steps. and sand. lots of sand. it left us scratching our heads on what to do.
build a new wooden deck? whoa that's expensive. not to mention termites, remember? treated wood is really not eco-friendly and i'm not ok with that. 
so i researched concrete pavers and found some winners. then i sketched my design and told gary to get to it. and we did!
we started with an outline, then took out the 'grass'. Gary began building the retaining wall and i started leveling the sand to lay our pavers down. 
it was a lot of dirt. lots of wagon haulin'. it was a lot of sand tracking into my house each day too.
i don't know if you have kids and have done a major update around the house, let me tell you it's a really really tough challenge. which is probably why this project took us around 5 months from start to finish. after all, it was only us two working evenings and weekends and an additional 3 helpless children.
slowly and slowly and slowly our retaining wall was finished and the pavers were laid. it was such a long process. it never felt like i accomplished much each night...
this little girl would beg and beg to come outside with us. the boys would come out sometimes. then the mosquitos. the sun. and the sand. i lost count how many spray cans of mosquito repellent we went through.
we also made our small trampoline into the back steps. it was pretty awesome for the kids.
i know kids can't stand mounds of dirt. they can't stand not being able to climb, dig, and throw dirt. it's what they do. i remember doing it when i was a little girl. boys are noise makers with dirt on them, don't you know? so the boys would dig holes and little girl loved climbing into them and they ALL LOVED THROWING DIRT! 
so each night, all of my chicks climbed into the bath. got clean and went to bed. 
then the next day we would do it all over again. this went on for weeks. some days we wouldn't get around to it and other days we would work twice as hard. 
the chevron pattern made it quite difficult to figure out how many pavers we still needed. my husband was great at cutting the pavers. in fact, he got quite good at it.
then it was time to think about those steps. wooden steps? rock facade? yikes! have you seen the cost of rock? waaay out of our price range. 
so while we were at a local stone/masonry company, gary instantly fell in love with these long gray stones. they were in our price range and they were beautiful! 
we thought and argued and finally agreed over the installation of these steps thee longest. i was so relieved when we finally came to a conclusion.
we recruited a bit of help for their installation, though. the stones were easily over 200 pounds each--and since I couldn't really pick them up and carry them, gary called me a sissy.
so we dug and cemented some cinder blocks to make sure they were sturdy enough for the massiveness of the steps.

add a bit of mortar and some muscle and install! promptly enjoy them too! we liked having steps for the sliding door, finally! i personally love them. i'm not sure what our style is called, and i don't give it much thought. it's just us. 
we poured crushed granite against the house and finished cleaning up. now we spend our mornings outside and it feels OH SO GOOD! I'm so glad we are finally finished!
we had a get together before school started to celebrate our patio. although we are still in need of a grill. however, gary's in no rush for a grill because that would mean he would have to cook--ha! 
and what's best is NO MORE SAND in my house! *evil laugh*
so once more, here's the BEFORE:
Next order of business, or just...on the list is paint the patio table to match the chairs. We want to paint the exterior of the house, build a pergola & set up a privacy fence but gary said he needed a break from projects! and I really want to work on landscaping in the new year.

I can't wait for that fence though...

So what do you think?? Don't you love a good DIY home project? Have you ever done one this big? how did you handle it? 
Til next time! 

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