Twenty nineteen is the year of major renovation in Casa de Dorobek. We did a huge remodel to our 1946 kitchen, earlier this year, repainted our entire house inside and out and then decided to rip up our backyard and make it beautiful! I teamed up with Home Depot and Pavestone for a total backyard makeover. Today I’m sharing 5 things to consider before starting a backyard overhaul.
1. Make a list of things that drive you crazy
After living in our house for 6 years we were very aware of the things that drove us crazy about the backyard. We decided to sit down and make a list of all the things we didn’t like about the backyard. Things like our 3 trashcans needed a spot. They were currently living in the middle of our driveway and took up a lot of driveway real estate. Let this list be a starting point for step 3, the plan! Here was our list of things that drive us crazy about our backyard.
- Wasted side yard that could easily be enclosed in our backyard.
- Hide our AC unit on the patio.
- A place to put 3 trashcans. (Trash, recycle, and compost.)
- Pathways to and from the garage and to and from the trashcan patio.
- Native, low maintenance plants.
- Get rid of the old, weird planter that divided the 2 main sections of our backyard.
- Less grass that doesn’t slope.
- Dedicated space for a trampoline or playscape.
2. Make a list of things you love
We spend a lot of time in our backyard and there were certain things we really enjoy about the space. So, we made a list of those to ensure we keep or enhance those elements. Here’s our list of things we already love about our backyard.
- Large curved patio of off our backdoor.
- Giant DIY chalkboard on the fence.
- Our grey, aged extra wide cedar fence pickets.
- Shade! We have lots of huge, historic, oak trees.
- Some amount of grass for the kids to play in.
- Potted succulents that I can’t kill!
3. Make a plan
Once we had the lists made, we needed a plan. We’ve done tons of small DIY projects in our backyard over the years, but never with a well thought out plan in place. Neither of us felt confident in our landscaping abilities, so we hired out the job to someone who knows what they’re doing. Andy has worked with Micah from Craft Outdoor on other projects and felt confident that he could give us a backyard plan we would love. Below you can see the initial site plan Micah gave us for our backyard makeover. It was perfect and 100% worth the money! If you’re in Austin, hire Micah!
We made a few tweaks, but for the most part did exactly what he laid out in our initial site plan.
The red “X” on the site plan is the patio below. The patio got an easy update with Pavestone Rumblestone mini pavers covering our original, cracked cement slab and stairs leading to our back door. We also painted all of he molding and fascia on our house. Basically, we gave our house eyeliner, ha!
4. Hire out vs. DIY
With 2 small kids and full time jobs, we knew the only way to get this done in a reasonable amount of time was to hire out the big stuff. Andy and I decided to hire folks to complete the Pavestone pathways and retaining wall and to level out the new grass area. As a price reference, you’re looking at spending anywhere from $7-$10 per square foot to install Pavestone. We decided to DIY the landscaping, fence building, and gate painting.
5. Consider the details
Here are 3 important details to consider when using Pavestone.
- We knew we wanted pathways, but how wide should they be? Even with a site plan you can easily tweak small things like that, and it’s worth the thought to get a final product that is the best fit for your family and space. We decided our pathways would be most functional if our kids could easily pass each other on their trikes. So, we placed the kids favorite trikes next to each other and measured.
- We also took into account the size of the mini pavers (7 inches long) and chose the width based on waste. By making the pathways 56 inches wide, the kids could ride by one another on the track and the pathway would be exactly 8 pavers wide. That way, there was as little waste as possible to the mini pavers.
- What pattern to use on the pathways? We choose to do a simple brick lay pattern partly because it would be the least wasteful lay to lay the pavers. But, there are so many beautiful choices! Herringbone, basketweave, stacked, the list goes on and on, and there is really no wring answer!
Here are the exact Pavestone products we used in our backyard makeover:
- Pavestone Rumblestone Mini Pavers in Sierra Blend
- Pavestone Rumblestone edging in Sierra Blend
- Pavestone RockWall Large Limestone Retaining Wall Blocks
- Pavestone RockWall Limestone Concrete Wall Cap
I know this doesn’t look glamorous, but it is so useful and made such a big difference in our weekly routine! A dedicated spot for trashcans is a game changer. We also did our best to re-use existing landscaping elements in our yard. For instance, those trough planters were being used on our main patio to hide the AC unit. We gave them a new home next to the trash can patio.
And now, for a few fun before and afters!
The entire project took about 1 month and we hired out the bulk of the pathway building. There was a significant amount of dirt work involved and cutting down 2 fairly large trees. Actually laying the Pavestone pavers is pretty simple, especially if you are laying them over an existing cement slab. Can you believe the difference in the look of our patio with the new pavers? Our old, cracked cement patio looks so sophisticated!
Can you put pavers over concrete?
Yes! This is the easiest way to lay Pavestone pavers, and exactly what we did with our existing patio.
How do you lay pavers?
Like I said above, we decided to hire out this portion of our backyard makeover since it was such a huge job. But, if you’re looking to simply extend your current patio or cover an existing patio, this a great tutorial for laying Pavestone pavers.
For more pictures and details about the process of our backyard makeover, visit The Home Depot Blog. Have you ever used a Pavestone product? I’d love to hear…