Wednesday, June 27, 2012

$7.00 Patio

At our rental, there was an area beside the back deck that was the perfect size and shape for a patio. It was nothing but grass, and it just looked like it needed something. We wanted to put in a fire pit/patio area, but didn't want to do anything really expensive since it was just a rental. Luckily, we had an awesome landlord who pretty much let us do whatever we wanted to the property.  Here's what we came up with: use stepping stones and concrete pads to create a grid, integrate with grass, and add a stone fire pit.

Our inspiration:

Here's how we did it:  

We already had a bunch of stepping stones that were either given to us or lying around the property that we had pulled up or relocated.  Daniel was also able to score some free salvaged air conditioner platforms from a heating and air company.  We started by measuring each stepping stone/platform and making a scale drawing of each one on graph paper and cut them out.  We measured the area where we wanted to put the patio and drew that out on our graph paper.  Then, we just played around with the pieces till we had a design that we liked and that fit the space.  

Next came the heavy lifting.  We Daniel started by tilling up the area with his tiller to make the ground easy to manipulate so our base would be as level as possible.  Then, we smoothed it out with rakes and a long board that we would drag over the dirt till it was fairly level.  The area was already pretty flat, but you really have to get it perfect or your pavers will wobble and you'll stub your toe on them... not fun.  Once we had all that smoothed out, we started placing the pavers.  WARNING: THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!  Getting all those things straight and level is a VERY HEAVY, annoying, back-breaking, sweat-inducing process.  We went through much arguing discussion over whether each piece was perfectly placed and spaced.  

Once all that was finished, we  Daniel dug the hole for the fire pit, installed a french drain with some leftover black piping he had (so it wouldn't fill up with rain water and become a mosquito breeding ground) and lined it with Quickcrete (which was our only purchase, on sale at Lowe's for $7.00).  

Then we just used rocks that we found on the property and laid them around the edge to build it up a little.  

After all this was done, we planted grass seed and some flowers and let nature do the rest.  It took A LOT of time and elbow grease, but for $7.00, I think it turned out pretty cute!  

The grass has finally filled in nice and thick...just in time for us to move!  The plan was to get some cute patio furniture and have a cool space to hang out and entertain.  Hopefully, the next renters will get some enjoyment out of all our hard work!