>> June 19, 2012
I feel like this is a throwback post. Not because it's all old school, or what not, but because it's about a project Hubby and I started last year. Late last fall, Hubby and I started on a plan to redo our miserable, disjointed back yard. We had an old, rotting fence that cut right through very usable space, we had a deck that served zero purpose, and we had crappy grass.
Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we? I took this photo from our deck last October. Now "deck" is being generous, it's really just a 5-foot by 4-foot landing pad. It's not large enough to hold chairs or a grill. So it really didn't serve any purpose, except as a transition from the kitchen to the back yard. But when you went out this door, it really wasn't a view you'd want to stare at very long.
We would tear down this old fence, and install a new fence in order to enclose all our side yard. Then we planned to put in a paver-style patio, in order to create a nice outdoor dining area.
The timing of the fence install didn't allow enough leeway to put in the patio at the same time, so we started with the fence. You saw the looks of it - we weren't confident it would make it through one more winter.
And, if by magic, ta da! This newly defined side yard is the start of the new outdoor patio and eating area. The large privacy fence provides good shelter and lets us dine in peace from the neighbors - you know, just in case you have a large piece of spinach in your teeth. But notice how much larger the side yard feels? Who knew we had so much wasted space? (We did; apparently the previous owners, did not.)
The area is large enough that we actually planned to have multiple "zones" - an eating zone, a cooking zone, and a lounging zone.
This photo below actually highlights how crappy our grass really was. The stepping stones were a pain to mow around (as Hubby mentioned frequently, not that I would even know how to mow the lawn). Riley also did a good job of marking her territory, should another dog ever wander in to the yard and try to lay claim.
Well the patio construction got underway - the Monday before Caroline's birthday party. How's that for cutting it close? Nothing like throwing in a massive outdoor dining area, five days before 20-some odd people decide to show up for a house party, right? The area was a mess, the driveway was disgusting, but the patio...that was looking good.
Usually Hubby and I are avid DIY-ers. But this project was just too big, too large an impact, and we're just too busy. Neither Hubby nor I were prepared to take a week off of work, in order to complete back breaking labor, then help wrangle Caroline in the evenings. Maybe pre-baby, but not these days. So we hired "guys". I have to say, it was nice to arrive home each day and see progress.
As much planning as we did, as many pictures as Hubby and I looked at, as many outlines as we drew in spray paint around the yard - this was the first time I could actually envision what the space might look like. Before this stage - I just tried to believe that it was going to be great, but I wasn't totally convinced.
And then...this happened. The patio started to take shape - officially. This photo below actually shows the planting beds quite nicely. We planned to put shrubs down the length of the fence, in order to soften the transition from hardscape to fence.
Techo-Bloc, "Monticello" in Azzuro. We have a natural Blue Stone front walk (which you can see in this post), so we wanted the patio to be as similar as possible. The gray color also works really well with the parking pad that Hubby installed as Phase 1 of this outdoor project. The large slabs of block actually look pretty great up close. We considered going with smaller pavers, but some of the smaller-sized manufactured stone - looked well manufactured. Too even, too perfect. Not natural.
To read all about how we got to this point, you can visit the original posts here, here and here.