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Sunday, March 20, 2016

"New" Patio

The before.
Dead tree and happy tree living in concrete wasteland.
 I have this nice large patio.
The only problems were:

  1. It was ugly.
  2. Its was concrete.
  3. It had cracks with termite eaten wood sticking out of them to trip over.
Termite eaten 2x4s 
These reasons made this space unusable as an entertainment space, a child play space or a garden.

We have lived here nearly eight years and I was done. It was time for it to go! 

A few factors pushed me to get this done all of the sudden: a neighbor who a bunch of wood ears that they never used offered it (YEA!) and we got a dog.

First step was to get rid of the concrete sea and the wood from the cracks. 

 At the back we decided to take out a large area of concrete to have a space for grass (the dog is happy!), a planter and a garden. I am so happy with the results of all this work.

The older pieces of wood were treated to strip and clean. This was a lot of work but very effective and inexpensive. I also cleaned the fencing separating us from our neighbor since he was not interested in replacing his fence. By cleaning and staining it, it matches the rest of our fencing and blends in.

At $2 a dog-eared wood piece, we saved about $200 by cleaning the old wood given to us. We still had to buy some new wood, but we reused as much as we were able to. There was one or two that were not able to be used.

Since my husband and brother were doing so well wielding the rented jack hammer, I also had them take out the concrete path that leads to the gate. While I just wanted concrete there anyway, the concrete puddled and was not set evenly to begin with. So I had to go look for pavers.

I was able to reuse the left over pavers from a project my mom did at her house. She had the front and back patio paved at her house and a bunch of leftovers! Some of the pavers were mismatched, but that is because she had many samples to look at and the salesmen never took their concrete away. Lucky me.

I did have to purchase a few pavers to finish the job, which made me very grateful for having the free pieces since the sticker price was a bit of a shock. The pavers were set down on top of the smoothed sand.

Lesson learned: even a few pavers are a pain in the butt, back, knees, etc. It is a serious job!
Half the fence is done!
Since I relied on the man-of-the-house to make the fence, I moved on to the patio once all the wood was stained ready and waiting to become fencing. I had decided to stain the concrete so it wouldn't be so Fugly.

First step was to power wash and scrub-clean the floor. Then I stained it was a mocha acid stain.
This process was surprisingly fast and easy! I decided to use a sponge and move it around by hand, rather than use a mop. The reason was, (1) the mop cost more than I was willing to spend, and (2) I thought I was more likely to get the look I was going for.

In the end, I could have kicked myself for not doing this sooner. It was SOOO easy and the results were amazing! When the fence came down resulting in no privacy, I was getting so many compliments from neighbors I had never met before. I was floored! Pun intended.

 I had brainstormed many different ways to fill the huge cracks between the concrete slabs. In the end, I decided on the simplest method. The pavers needed the polymeric sand to seal them as a walkway, so I used the same sand. 5 buckets later it looked fabulous!

Once the sand was in place and hardened, I went over the entire floor with a concrete sealer that I bought on Amazon (better reviews and price than Home Depot brand).
The last step was painting the pergola. I was advocating for white, but since I made all the design decisions in this project thus far, I let the husband choose the paint. He chose the chocolate brown and I have no complaints.
In the end, we bought some furniture and I love sitting out there in the morning with my coffee. So peaceful! My kids advocated for a bird feeder. The dog is very content to have his own space to chill when we are not home. I have my garden.

I now have an outdoor space that I can entertain in and isn't embarrassing! We are so happy with the results.