Sometimes it is difficult to come up with the right outdoor patio landscaping ideas for an area outside your home.
My Outdoor Patio Idea
Having lived in the same home for over 15 years, and enjoying my time tending flowers as well as doing various outdoor landscape projects, I have come up with a few tips and tricks that balance the time I spend actually working on a project and the time I spend enjoying the fruits of my labors with family and friends.
Doing It Cheaply
Not having a lot of extra money to buy (or rent) the tools and other various things that make outdoor landscaping projects easier to complete, I had to get creative at times in order to get things done as cheaply as possible.
It Took A Weekend To Do
The outdoor patio project you see above and over to the right was completed over the course of three or four days with the help of my wife. The area was previously a sand pile for the kids to play in, and then a fenced in dog kennel area.
A Little Bit Of Luck
We were lucky in the fact that all of the sand we needed to level the ground under the patio blocks was already there. If it had not already been there I figure the project would have taken another day or two to complete. (okay… a half a day)
We would have had to dig out at least 6 inches of existing soil and then fill that in with sand or a good (small gravel) aggregate.
Getting Things Level
What we did was to get the ground as level as possible using the sand as a base under the patio blocks. To get the ground level we used a transit.
A transit is one of those things you see highway construction workers using all of the time.
(there’s one over there to the left)
You can rent them from most rental stores for around 30 dollars a day. They are real easy to use once you know what you are doing.
Inexpensive Patio Blocks
Once the ground was level, we placed the 18″ x 18″ patio blocks down on top of the sand.
We found a nice selection of patio block to choose from at the local big box hardware/lumber store. The patio blocks cost 3 or 4 dollars each.
We used a piece of 2 x 4 lumber to get the spacing just right, and after getting all of the blocks in place we put the colored stone in the spaces. We bought the colored stone at the same store we bought the patio blocks.
Great For Entertaining
Everyone who comes over really likes our outdoor patio. It is on the east side of the house, which is great to be out on in the morning hours as the day warms up. It is even better in the afternoon and evening when it is too hot to sit in the sun, because it is then shaded by the house itself.
The Total Cost?
Not counting our time as part of the budget, the cost of the outdoor patio itself, including the rental of the transit was just under 200 dollars. The red bark, lawn edging, plants, etc. were extra, and done over the course of the next couple of weekends.
The main thing to keep costs down on an outdoor patio project like this is to do the work yourself.
If you are not physically up to the task, you can most likely find a local teenager or two who can help you out at a modest cost. You will just have to provide the proper supervision and direction to get your outdoor patio landscaping just the way you want it.
The bistro table and chairs are real cute. I credit my wife with the idea. The bistro table and chairs were around $80, and I have to say that it was an impulse purchase on her part, but I really like the look.
You can get a portable fire pit like the one you see in the picture from most any home improvement retailer and they generally cost around $50 for the cheap ones and go up in price from there.
Here’s a good page on Amazon.com for portable fire pits if you want to take a look at what’s available and how much they cost.
What I Would Do Differently?
As nice as we feel this project turned out – it would have been nice to have a little bit more space.
We can fit 6 people comfortably on the patio and around the fire pit. The portable fire pit is a good choice because it is so easy to move out of the way (when there is no fire in it obviously!) when we are having an outdoor picnic in the middle of the day.
I think we made use of the space we have in an effective way though – and we certainly spend a lot of time on our outdoor patio during the summer months – we even occasionally shovel off the snow in the winter and roast marshmallows and hotdogs over the fire if the weather is not too cold.
I have another site called Landscape & Lighting that has lots of outdoor landscaping ideas and other supplies that you can use to enhance your outdoor spaces. Click the banner below and take a look around and see if you like it!