Patio – Stage 1

We have officially started the patio! I mean, maybe we “officially” started it when we ripped down the sun room disaster. Or when we finally replaced the sliding door and patched the stucco. Or when we bought the stone. But we have finally gotten to the point of no return and are actually motivated to get it done!  

If you have every done any sort of remodel, or even know anyone who has, you know the beginning isn’t always pretty. A lot of times it’s slow, painful work. And this has been exactly that. Let me break down everything we need to get done in order to fully enjoy our patio. Feel free to laugh at our insanity for tackling this…

  • Replace the sliding door and window
  • Add a metal water sealer around the edges of the house where the patio will meet it
  • Patch up any stucco
  • Paint the house (definitely hired out for that one)
  • Run a gas line from the main line to the future fire pit
  • Clear out the existing patio concrete around the edges
  • Form up the perimeter of the patio and the fire pit edges
  • Create the perimeter walls
  • Create the foundation for each pergola column
  • Fill in the patio with aggregate base (geez, I heard the engineer come out of me in that phrase)
  • Pour the concrete slab
  • Lay the stone
  • Build the pergola
  • Decorate (!)

I mean, looking at the list, we are basically done! Except that everything is completely unusable right now. Also, all of the work so far has made me feel like a body builder. Anyways, back to the update!

So we had already gotten as far as painting the house. One sunny weekend, while my mom and I watched a sad movie that the hubby wanted no part of, he decided to jack hammer the existing concrete. Luckily, he only had to jack hammer the locations where we need to create a perimeter or add a footing. It ended up being about 4 feet around the outer edge. Didn’t look too tough, but what can I say, I was relaxing inside avoiding it.

I barely remembered to snap a “before” shot

Then came some of the most labor intensive work I have every done. I am honestly trying to remember something worse. Maybe the fence? But my whole body didn’t hurt for too long after that one. Okay, I need to rewind real quick. The hubby decided to get going on the gas line for our fire pit. That was definitely the biggest hurdle of the project because it literally held up everything else. And as long as he procrastinated on that, I could procrastinate on the rest. But since he was under the house all day (which I will never do…), I got the job of clearing out all of the jack hammered concrete. Thank goodness it was only 4 feet. Man, 4 days later and I still felt it. But at the end of one day, the hubby had gotten the gas line set up and I had cleared out all the concrete. Major success!

All in a day’s work

We called my dad as soon as we had finished all of that up. Wow, he was so excited to finally get going on this. So we got to work during the week to get all of the forms set up to be ready for concrete. My mom and I decided the final length of the patio. I think we tried out three different lengths before we decided on it. The hubby and I wanted to make sure that the fire pit was close enough to the edge so that when we were sitting in our adirondack chairs with a drink and looking out at our eventual glorious yard we weren’t too far back. High maintenance, right? The hubby and my dad took over from there. They had to make sure that the patio was level horizontally, but that it had a slight slope towards the yard for drainage purposes. A good-enough approach would not work here apparently. Once the forms were done we basically had to wait until the weekend to continue.


Shockingly our weekend was empty, so we were able to get the perimeter wall ready to go. We rented a trailer full of concrete so that we didn’t have to manually mix a whole cubic yard of concrete on our own. Saturday we poured the concrete base of the wall and made sure to level out the top surface. We stuck in some L-shaped rebar to help hold each cinder block in place. We also placed cinder blocks on each of the corners so that we could use those corners as our base line the following day.



Sunday, once everything dried, we placed the rest of the cinder blocks along the perimeter. I definitely didn’t have the knack for it, so my dad ended up placing most of them. The hubby was able to get the wall surrounding the fire pit knocked out, so we are basically ready for the next step. By the way, the pups do not like this new barrier. It’s way too much work to hop over it…


We do need to place the foundations for each of the pergola columns, but the hubby found a super simple, but still sturdy, method at Home Depot. Once I fully get what is going on there I will try to explain it. The next big step is to fill in the patio with the aggregate base, which I am truly dreading. Part of me wants to get the rock delivered and then take a couple of wheelbarrow loads per night to ease the pain, but we will see how we end up moving forward!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a nap. Just thinking about everything we still need to do is making me exhausted!

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