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Our Brand New Patio {Before and After}

September 15, 2022

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Our charming cottage is old.

Very, very old.

No one knows exactly how old, since the building records weren't very reliable or detailed when she was built somewhere in the late 20's or early 30's.

Old wooden deck on a patio

But based on our research, it's safe to say that sometime in the next decade, the old girl will turn 100.

And, as you can imagine the upkeep is constant.

Keeping this old girl very, very busy.

Summer 2022 was a perfect example.

The first job began in April, when a wind storm scattered parts of our roof all over the front lawn.

Then, it became clear that the pool liner needed to be replaced.

So that was next on the list.

Expected upkeep, no problem.

However.

What we did not plan on renovating was our concrete patio.

We had it poured 20 years ago, when we added the kitchen.

It was an inexpensive solution and one that was rustic enough to match the aged aesthetic of the house.

As the seasons went by it did get a bit more weathered looking, but it was nothing a little DIY couldn't fix.

A man painting a cement patio with a roller.

For example, in 2014, we stained the concrete to camoflauge flaws.

Then a few years later we filled several small cracks and painted the entire patio to freshen it up.

Unfortunately, this spring, we realized that the damage from two decades of northeast winters was too much for us to repair on our own. So we called in the pros.

I wanted to replace it with concrete, but the masons wouldn't have it.

And my husband was on their side.

Cracked and Chipped Cement Patio

First of all, cement wasn't cheap anymore. I couldn't believe the price. It was no longer a budget choice. 

Second, given enough time, cement slabs almost always crack and there's really no good (or easy) way to repair them. 

Water works its way underneath them, from hard freezes or rain, settling happens and boom. Cracks form and grow. Not a good look.

Plus, some of the slabs were higher or lower than their original position, which was a potential tripping hazard.

And after a tiny tumble down the basement stairs this spring, that resulted in a nasty shoulder injury, I wanted to eliminate all of that.

Instead, everyone recommended pavers.

My husband worked his way through college as a mason. He laid the bricks in our screened porch and front walkway. 

And he's pulled up and releveled the pavers around the pool many times to repair settling. So he was already a fan of pavers and confident that if something went wrong down the line, he could repair it.

Concrete Patio Before Makeover

So pavers it was.

Which was great, except it meant I had to choose them.

And, big surprise, I had a very specific look in mind.

Since this patio was so close to the pool patio, I wanted some contrast. A big stone, light in color, with a classic feel that would complement my cottage style garden.

I wanted them to coordinate with, but not match, the red brick. Nothing small, nothing that felt too modern and nothing gray.

A seemingly tall order, but one I nailed down in a catalog pretty quickly.

I chose Cambridge Pavers, Ledgestone XL in sand. No border, I just had the masons run the stones right up against the beds and cut in a few arches. Fabulous.

Of course, the process was not a simple one. Or a neat one.

Before they even showed up, my husband had to rip out the old deck and stairs we had that led to our back door.

Old wooden deck on a patio

The wood was rotten and split in some spots. The stain had worn away.

Overall, that deck was just an eyesore.

Old wooden deck in pieces on patio

I wasn't sad to see it go, but for weeks, these were our steps in and out of the house. Fancy.

Buckets Upside Down as Steps For Patio

We also, needed to remove the fence that separated our front yard from the back.

Ripping Out A Concrete Patio

Then they brought in a huge machine to rip out the concrete and cart it away. 

Only then did the pavers go down in. That process took about two weeks, due to holidays, a few mishaps and weather delays.

Now, I'm not usually a patient renovator, but I have to say, this patio was worth the wait. Especially when you see the broken down before:

Broken and Faded Concrete Patio

Versus the very polished after:

Cambridge Ledgestone XL Pavers Patio

It's absolutely gorgeous. Exactly what I wanted. 

But at this point, the job was only partially complete.

With the mason's task complete, my husband started his...replacing the deck and steps so I could get rid of those buckets.

Cambridge Patio Pavers in Sand in backyard with wooden deck

He changed the design a bit, to give us a more open entryway. In the process I gained a larger area to decorate for the holidays. No complaints here.

We also decided to sell our old outdoor dining set. Several years ago, we gave it a makeover and replaced all the slings on the chairs.

However, it was tired, and frankly, a little small for our family gatherings. Originally I wanted an all weather wicker set, like we have on our covered porch

My husband, on the other hand, wanted something without cushions since people are always wet when they sit, either from the pool or the beach. And he wasn't wrong.

Cottage Garden Style Patio with newly painted patio and red umbrella

He also wanted another cast aluminum set since they don't rust. I was onboard with that since I didn't want my perfect new patio to get stained after a few rain showers.

Finding the right set was a bit of a struggle, since our space is small. It seems like all the furniture out there is made for giant homes.

Sometimes, it takes a bit more time to find pieces that work for cottage living, but in the end we found a set that made us both smile.

Cambridge Pavers Ledgestone XL with cast aluminum patio set and red umbrella

On sale!

New patio set and new pavers overlooking pool

Complete with a red umbrella to compliment the house and my flowers.

The post script to this tale has absolutely nothing to do with the new patio...and everything to do with it at the same time.

You see, when we took the fence out (and then put it back up) we realized how rotted and terrible looking it truly was.

Weathered Picket Top Cedar Fence



It had to go. Which brought in another contractor.

Brand New Cedar Wooden Fence

In addition, our driveway, that was also 20 years old and already on its way out, had sunken a bit from the big machines the masons used to rip out the patio.

Yet another renovation that was on the list for someday, but moved up...and is actually not fully complete yet.

{sigh}

It's a classic renovation story.

You touch one thing and then everything else suddenly looks terrible.

And needs to be replaced.

But that's ok. It was totally worth it.

And had to be done eventually. I'm just glad it's {mostly} behind us now.

Cottage Style Patio Decor

Just in time to move back inside.

To finish up the renovations we abandoned when the weather warmed up last spring.

Like I said...never-ending. 

Especially in an old house.

😉

Did you renovate anything this summer?
  1. You won't believe it, but your link to replacing the slings fits perfectly with what I need to do. We were gifted the chairs, but the slings are toast. Thanks so much!!

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad! It was a great way to makeover those chairs, they looked brand new when we were done. 😊

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  2. Kim everything is gorgeous. The pavers are perfect and the new patio set is great!

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    1. Thanks so much!! Well worth the wait for sure.

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  3. I love the pavers and the new steps. Boy you had construction non-stop this summer. The end result is pretty

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    1. Thanks Cindy! It was an action packed summer for sure. We're very happy with the way it all turned out.

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  4. You certainly had the 'Summer of Renovations', Kim! Look at it this way, you may be moving back inside, but when Spring comes around again, everything will be done! It all looks beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Ann! You're so right...moving inside will keep us busy with a whole new round of DIYs, but until there's a hard freeze, we'll be out there.

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  5. Oh my gosh, everything came out so beautiful! - Briana from Texas

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    1. Thanks Briana!! It makes me wish every month was July...well, and one or two Decembers!!

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  6. That red umbrella is the cherry on top! Perfect!

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  7. Looks wonderful Kim, really, really, REALLY!
    Love the paving stone look.
    Bits and Pieces . . . and this project is finished.
    Home owning seems to always be a project!

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    1. A project for sure and bits and pieces from April to September...but worth it all! Thank you so much!!

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  8. Holy cow, Kim!!! Your backyard renovation is absolutely gorgeous! Way more gorgeous that I had pictured!! Everything looks amazing - I would never leave the house if I were you!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Stephanie!! We love it and honestly, as homebodies, we don't leave much!! Hahaha!!

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  9. Having renovations going is never easy but your end results are gorgeous. I love the color and pattern of the pavers. The new steps look great and the newly loved furniture. Your pool and back yard are now a great relaxing haven. Great job on all of these things Kim. xoxo Kris

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    1. Never easy, Kris, I know you understand this so well...and when you are a devout DIYer with a super handy husband having contractors is very hard...especially when your DIYer is a perfectionist and they are not. Grrr...but in the end it all worked out. Thanks so much for the kind words, my friend! xo

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  10. Looks great Kim! Your home does not look nearly 100 years old! She has been well taken care of.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cara! Yes, we're only the 3rd owners of this beauty and she's been well loved.

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  11. Kim you have been very busy but it was so worth it. Your new patio looks like a stunner! And you are so right, one thing leads to another. One reason why I'm afraid to start on outdoor projects.

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    1. Very busy, Mary...and I understand your hesitation. I think if we knew how this was all going to spiral we never would've started. I say close your eyes, hold your nose and jump in!!!

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  12. Its all so pretty! My goal is a sweet little old house to rehab and love. In the right hands, it will give many years of comfort and happiness just like yours does!

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    1. Thank you, Gina! I think a sweet little old house to rehab and love sounds perfect!!

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  13. This was an amazing turn-around. Everything looks fresh, charming and welcoming! I can well imagine come April next year you will be a big ole hurry to get out there and enjoy your beautiful patio!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristine!! I will definitely be counting the days to April once Christmas has passed. I love summer and I'm so sad to see it go...especially now!!

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  14. Hello! Just want to say that All the $$$ money you put in to do these HUGE!! Projects will come back to you when you sell the house!! Buyers know how expensive those finishes are! And it reflects the care you took in all the house!! And you get to benefit as well! By enjoying it now til-whenever!!

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    1. Yes!! I completely agree...and while we don't plan on moving anytime soon {or ever!}, I never say never, so it is a good investment. Even better, like you said, we get to enjoy it now! Thanks for the valuable comment!!

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  15. It looks beautiful and well worth everything you had to do.

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    1. Thanks Betty!! We love it, but glad the renovations are over…outside anyway.
      Happy Friday!!

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  16. Kim, the pavers, furniture, porch steps, the pool liner, and the fence look great. It was smart you got everything done this summer. When you own a house that you know you will live in for a long time is a lot of up keep over the years but worth it.

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    1. Thanks Julie! In retrospect I’m glad we did it al in one fell swoop and yes, very worth it! Happy weekend!!

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  17. My beautiful sis-in-law everything looks fantastic!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Dawn!! I'm just the design girl...you know who gets the credit for all the heavy lifting!! 😉

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  18. Goodness me, that's a lot of renovating but you're right, Kim, totally worth it. Those pavers are gorgeous!! We need to get stuck into a few things here at home too, but for now I'm just ignoring them while we save up a little.

    BTW, hope your shoulder is feeling better <3

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    1. Thanks so much, Michelle! It was a lot and we certainly got stuck...and we're happily getting out of the mud of it all now. My shoulder was a renovation booboo, too. I slipped on stairs we were renovating inside..and it is slowly getting better. Thank you.

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  19. Wow! Everything looks wonderful. I love the pavers, the new stairs and deck and that fence!

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    1. Thanks Penny! It really came together nicely.

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  20. Kim, it looks gorgeous--definitely worth the wait--but I'm sure I would be impatient during the process! ;)

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    1. Thanks so much! I think this is the most patient I've ever been. It was definitely a long and dusty summer!! 🤣

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  21. Stunning transformation, Kim. I love the pavers, and the beautiful fence and gate, the pretty deck and steps, and the oh-so-inviting dining set with the red umbrella! A lot of work and wait, but as you said, definitely worth it! Enjoy! Hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Nancy! It was a lot of work. Even though the contractors did most of the heavy lifting, so to speak, there was a lot of work that took place to support those projects. Right now we're getting ready to go outside and stain the fence. Never ending, but oh so worth it!!

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  22. Wow, that new patio is stunning! I love it. We have a long rectangular cement patio on the side of our house towards the back that was poured about 25 years ago. Believe it or not, it still looks fine except for one small crack going through it. We are also on the lookout for new patio furniture but the problem is, we're both so indecisive and procrastinators, that we haven't decided what we want yet! Our current set consists of a wicker loveseat glider, two large wicker rocking chairs, and a rectangular table with a glass top. The wicker on the loveseat is falling apart. Pieces of wicker are all over the patio every day. So that will be going out to the curb at the end of September. We'll keep the two rocking chairs for now. We considered getting rid of the table since it's just the two of us and we rarely have company out on the patio where we need a big table, but I think we might keep it and just repaint the metal next year. And get an umbrella for the middle of the table since it doesn't have one.

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    1. I totally understand, it can be overwhelming to choose new stuff, especially when you really like what you have. It sounds like a lovely plan though, Melanie. I loved our cement patio. I love the pavers, too, but if the concrete had behaved, it would still be there!!

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  23. Kim it definitely was worth the wait! The whole patio area turned out beautifully! I also like that you replaced the slings on all your chairs instead of just replacing the whole set.

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    1. Thank you so much...and yes, those slings were a great save. I would definitely do that again!!

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  24. The pavers, new steps, table set, and fence all look terrific, Kim! There should still be a good amount of nice weather to enjoy it all for awhile!

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    1. Thanks Amy!! Even as we move toward October, we're still enjoying it.

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  25. WOW!! What a make over!!! I love it! Well done... as always.
    We are enjoying great September weather.. I hope you have some too.
    xx oo
    Carla

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    1. We do, Carla!! Thank you, I hope it lasts for a good long time!! ox

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  26. Kim,
    LOVE the new patio and of course you knew that i would just adore that beautiful red umbrella!! I did have to chuckle because you had a case of what i call "The Might as Well's"...when you start one project replacing something, you "might as well" replace this and that since you did the first project...Home remodeling and repair always seem to turn into a snowball rolling down a hill, getting bigger and bigger !! LOL!
    Everything looks so charming!!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by as i know how busy you have been this Summer...I have been decorating for Fall/Halloween and now only have the Kitchen left to do!! I will be playing a bit of catching up today so I am moving on to another post I missed...
    Hugs,
    Deb

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    1. Those umbrellas are my favorite, Deb, they light up the whole area...and you are right, those "might as well's" take over before you know it. We have a bunch of them going on inside as well. Oh boy!

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  27. What a wonderful patio and fence makeover, Kim. You must smile whenever you walk out there. Our first home in Ohio was built in 1927. I love that home so much and was sad to have to move.

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