Home ProjectsExterior Beginning Our Outdoor Living Space: Patio Edition

Beginning Our Outdoor Living Space: Patio Edition

by Haylie

I know I talk a lot about sell-ability and the challenges of owning a small home but I don’t want you to think these are bad things. We truly love our small house. It keeps our hoarding to a minimum, and keeps us focused on what is important. However, this next project would boost the sell-ability of our house and maximize our space by creating an outdoor living space.

It was important for us to create a space that we are proud of and that would leave a legacy so that the next family that owns our house could feel comfortable and inspired in the space. One of the ways we intended on doing just that was to have a patio installed. The outdoors is a large part of our life in the way of hobbies. Nature is where we recharge and gather inspiration. Since both Cole and I have tech related jobs that force us to look at illuminated screens for 8+ hours in the day, creating a space where we can come home, unplug, and recharge (pun not intended) was important to us.

This photo above, shows you the sad state our yard was in when we first moved in. There was so much concrete and I’m not entirely sure why? This photo was taken the day we decided that we wanted to bust up all the concrete. We, rather Cole, did so by renting a jack hammer from HomeDepot.  He had a little too much fun with this tool.  After we removed the concrete we built our raised Garden box (post to come later) and later mapped out a plan for the patio.


We mapped out where we thought it made the most sense, did some planning, and realized that this job was a little over our heads.  Our garden box was right up against our siding and foundation of our house and I knew that putting in a patio would effect rain water run off.  So the last thing that I wanted was to funnel water towards our foundation. Realizing that a moderately significant grade would have to be factored in when installing this project, I contacted Vision Scape Group and got a quote.

Kyzer and his guys were a breeze to work with. Mrs. Frugal Macdoogle here (that’s me), had pavers that I salvaged from a friend’s yard but they were different sizes, some where 12″ square and some where 18″ square. I tried to do the math but… lord knows that is not my strong suit. Thankfully, Vision Scape Group was happy to help and figured out a pattern and design that was perfect!  Here’s how they did it:


First they laid their guide lines. These lines helped keep them on track in terms of laying the pavers straight and level to the grade that they chose.

Next, they dug out the entire area; about 6″ deep close to the planter and tapered the depth to account for the slope of the finished patio, all the way to where the edge of the patio would eventually be. This is best explained in the photo below. You can see at the grass line where the area they dug out is really pronounced by our garden box and is less prominent to the right of the photo.

After the area was excavated, they laid a recycled concrete base down around 3″-4″ deep.

Next, a mechanical compactor was used to pack in the dirt and concrete base.

The next step involved spreading a thick layer of washed screening base on top of the recycled concrete as they started laying the pavers. This is where the grade really starts to take form. By creating pitch or slope away from home at 1/8″ inch every foot, they were able to ensure that water properly drains off of the patio.

They continued laying the pavers in the same fashion making sure each was level to the one next to and above it. This is what it looked like at the end of day one! They work so fast! Because our pavers were recycled, they had a little dirt and grime to them but I honestly didn’t mind it. Some of the pavers even had moss growing on them. I love the idea of recycling and reusing, and since eventually these pavers would look this loved anyways, the worn look didn’t bother me one bit! Besides, free is always a good thing. 😉

The next day they finished up the corner by the deck, re-attached our bottom step of the deck, and swept sand/screenings over the top to help lock in the pavers. They also added dirt to the edges of the patio to create a more gradual slope to the yard, spread straw and seed and with that, it was finished!!


With the patio finished we pressure washed the pavers to give them a bit more life and added some patio furniture and a fire pit. Here are a few before and after photos to make your heart happy.

We love our patio and we really feel like it is an extension of the house. Our back yard has truly come a long way but we still have a bunch of plans up our sleeve yet. Stay tuned to see how we continue the transition our yard into our very own outdoor living space. I am slowly but surely making it feel just as cozy as the inside of our house with decor.  Two of the chairs, bolster pillows, and the bench were donated to us by Cole’s parents but we were able to find the additional two chairs at Lowe’s.  We have plans to make side tables (don’t worry more on that later), get some seat cushions, and build a firewood rack.  We also have a bunch of other plans that we hope to tackle within the next year that will completely change the look of our yard as a whole. I can’t wait for you to see what I have in mind! I want to get a few more potted plants to make the space a touch more homey but other than that our outdoor living space is pretty great! We are looking forward to spending the rest of our summer outside.

Vision Scape Group also built Amber’s patio incase you missed it last week, check our her post here.  Her yard has also come a long way!!


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