Patio. Our Big Little DIY: Part 1

I want to have the hang out house.

This is the story about our summer DIY project. We have about 2.5 acres of land, with the flattest land being towards the back of the property. This is not ideal for gatherings in the least! While I blog often about my social anxiety, the truth is being around the people I call friends, brings me a lot of happiness. I enjoy hosting gatherings of friends and neighbors, and wanted a place that we could do this close to the house. Fire pits and decks are not friends, so the deck was not an option, at least not with the size fires we throw. One day I was thinking about this idea, I grabbed a piece of junk mail, and sketched up a plan on the back. Here is what I came up with.


I quickly showed the Project Manager of the house (my hunky husband, Drew) and asked him if this was possible. Drew is in fact, a Project Manager for a major nationwide construction company, and he is one of the handiest men I have ever met. It is in fact, one of the reasons I married him. I like a man that can work with his hands, what can I say.

This sketch was created in the fall of 2017, so we had time to really plan things out and get our heads around it. BUDGET being very important. After several months of plotting and searching the internet for ideas I decided I wanted a mix medium patio. The base would be concrete, the small retaining wall would be wood, which would be capped with a concrete counter top. We would be doing a natural stone fire pit with rocks found on the property, and a few columns of the same stone mixed in with the retaining wall. Fingers crossed!

Here is the blank slate as seen from about half way down the hard. The patio will go in front of the deck attached to the house.


Our extremely kind and skillful neighbor allowed us to hire him to dig out the land and spread the stone. Drew, being the smart man he is, devised a plan to measure and level the dirt by using a long board and marking the ideal depth, then measuring it with a laser level that would be placed on the existing deck. We used this method to excavate and to level the stone. It worked very well.


The stone was delivered and spread. It was at this point where I stared down at two huge mounds of stone that were sitting in my lawn and realized there is no turning back now. We have a lot of work ahead of us!


We were able to spread the stone before the rain came. The rain is due to last here for a week straight! The mud around the patio area is thick and uninviting. Next up we start to calculate the materials for the wall, obtain said materials, and then build the wall. We are doing all of this ourselves.

What normally happens is I stand under my husband, follow his direction, but ask him one hundred questions. Doing projects together is like marriage counseling for us. We work through our differences, join together in sweat and stamina, and then enjoy a cold beer afterwards. We won’t be able to do every aspect of this by ourselves, but there is something extremely satisfying about doing things yourself.

Special big thank you to my neighbor and his wife for their help last weekend. It takes a village and I am glad they are part of ours. Also, here is a hunky picture of my husband, he doesn’t read my blog very much so I don’t think he’ll even notice me putting this on here. That’ll teach em!


Part 1 to the Patio project is here

Part 2 to the Patio project is here

Part 3 to the Patio project is here

Part 4 to the Patio project is here

Part 5.1 to the Patio project is here



  1. That is awesome!! I wish my husband and I had done a little more planning and research when we got our big project started last year! We just kind of winged it, and it turned out good enough, but I definitely look at it and think we could have planned it out a little better! I love tackling home improvement projects- I cant wait to see your vision to come life!! Enjoy the process, and all those cold beers afterwards! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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