So even though redoing the backyard was not the initial intent of spring outdoor chore time… it quickly evolved into it.
The layout we had before was great, but we have a giant Mulberry tree that hangs over 50% of the backyard… and rains berries all over the whole garden and is a GIANT pain in the a$$ to clean up, especially with the pebbles. Cause the berries get in with the pebbles and you try to sweep things up and you just end up getting big piles of pebbled berries, plus dogs and their contribution and it’s just ga-rossssss. And then you have to replace the pebbles, and it becomes a whole thing… The Planter boxes also had to be revisited as we didn’t have enough sun on both sides for the grass we planted to grow to the same size… and the backyard was looking as lopsided AF. We also had some flagstone we sort of put in between the nice patio stones and the deck which was a little worse for wear, so Keith extended the deck from the stairs and added on a platform so we didn’t have so many surfaces competing for aesthetic dominance (plus the flagstones looked pretty sparse and yuck).
So the planters on either side were the first to go… And you can see from picture 1 to picture 2 the difference already in how many pebbles we started out with vs how many we had a few years later… They got into everything.
As you can see, the dogs were big fans of helping out. Or not….
Especially Peanut (the brown one). SUPER helpful.
In order to redistribute the height of the area, we flattened the paver base sand/gravel mixture (approx 7 bags for a 10 x 10 area) with that there cinder block. Technically there are actual flattening tools that people use.. but we already had to buy brand new patio stones as the ones we already had were an off size from a custom order and of course nobody had any more of them. So we had to start all over again. The new patio stones we ended up getting didn’t cost more than $200 BUT we certainly weren’t planning on having to get all new ones, so cinder block flattening it was!!
The thinking was that we still wanted something square with a bit of style, but we also needed to keep those seams small given the berry onslaught and wanting to spend less time this summer cleaning the patio and more time just sitting on it (you can see how good we are at sitting around and doing nothing, right?).
The original plan was to have 5 stones x 5 stones as the backyard is “roughly” 10′ x 10′. Except that it’s not, nor is it “straight”. So what was 5 x 5 ended up being 4 x 5 with a border because we would not have been able to do an equal, right angle job given there was about a half a foot difference between the width at the back and the front of the patio area.
The original plan was to try to get some larger pebbles around the perimeter in a contrasting colour because #art. But then we saw the price tag per bag of pebbles, vs the $15 of mulch required to fill in the border… And we decided mulch was a much more cost effective solution for now than another couple hundred bucks worth of stones. Once all the patio stones were laid, we used Oldcastle Polymeric Sand in Grey ($17.14/bag at Home Depot) between them to fill in the spaces which goes on like sand, and then hardens like cement when you add water! Yay science!
We were able to tear up the old patio, level and place the new stones all under a week, and this was with both of us working 9-5 with only one evening of labour required in addition to the weekend. Total project time was about 25 hours!
Up next… Keith gets antsy and decides to start building stuff out of wood leftovers in our shack because he’s run out of outdoor projects but he CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT OUTDOOR PROJECTS!