I hope you're ready for a blast from the past because today we're taking on a yard that's stuck in the 80s and giving it a major upgrade. Now, I wasn't around in the 80s, but I can definitely relate to those memories of seeing our loved ones rockin' those bright purple and yellow windbreakers with geometric shapes. Ahh, the fashion choices of yesteryear!
But let's get back to the task at hand, because I'm thrilled to share the journey of this amazing transformation with you. So, let's dive in and break down the process step by step.
Prepping for Success
First things first, we had some prep work to do. A tree service came in before us to remove all the trees and grind those stubborn stumps. We had to make sure we cleared out all the chips and debris left behind. Once that was taken care of, we used a trusty can of spray paint to mark out the general layout of the space on the ground. This served as our guide for excavation, laying the fabric, and getting the gravel in place.
A Solid Foundation
Now, let's talk about the importance of a solid base when it comes to laying pavers. The base is what ensures stability, sturdiness, and prevents shifting over time. After excavating the area, our next step was to install a special woven nylon base fabric, similar to what they use in road construction. This fabric provides long-term support and doesn't break down over time. Plus, it offers superior lateral support along two axes, unlike traditional geo-textile fabric which might just flex along with the ground soil.
With the base construction in place, it was time to start laying those pavers. Our base consisted of the fabric, 57's (a clean aggregate about 57ths of an inch), and then we screed out 8's over the top. It may seem a little unconventional, but it works wonders in creating a sturdy base that doesn't hold moisture. Oh, and did I mention that open grade construction allows us to work in all sorts of weather? Rain or shine, we can keep on working as long as our base is intact.
One thing I want to point out is that our base is wider than the placement of our pavers. This may seem like we're wasting gravel, but it's actually a strategic move to prevent the pavers from rolling off the edge if, say, the homeowner decides to drive a lawnmower over them or brings a four-wheeler into the backyard. Safety first, right?
Now, let's shift our attention to the lighting. We laid out the lights in the cap, cutting a channel in the top of the wall for the wire to run through. Grease caps were used to secure the wire in place, and then the lights were laid out.
Building the Perfect Fire Pit
On the other side of the patio, we started constructing a fire pit. We had already laid out the pavers in the area where the fire pit was going to be, so now it was time to cut through those pavers and stack the fire pit in place. We used the Techo Bloc Graphix wall for this, making sure to build it with a perfect rectangle at the bottom and staggering pieces on top. This saves us from making awkward cuts and ensures a seamless fit around the patio pavers.
But wait, there's more! We actually ended up extending the patio border, adding more base and fabric to accommodate the homeowner's request for additional space. Flexibility is key, my friends.
Now, let's take a moment to appreciate the artistry of hardscape construction. Watching those pavers being laid is nothing short of satisfying. It's like witnessing a blank canvas transform into a beautifully defined surface right before your eyes.
Building Up the Walls
Next up, we moved on to wall construction. Kevin, our expert in action, was busy cutting in the exact placement of the wall into the existing pavers. The first course of wall block is always a bit challenging as it requires precise leveling in both directions. We added a bit more gravel underneath than needed and used a rubber mallet to secure the blocks in place. Once that first course was set, we built up layer by layer, making steady progress.
Now, here's where things get interesting. The Techo Bloc Graphix wall allowed us to mix up the colors and create a truly unique look. The homeowners loved the geometric shape of the contrasting Hexa pavers, and they wanted a sprinkling of Onyx color in the wall as well. Yep, it took some effort, but the end result was totally worth it.
The Golfer’s Haven
In case you're wondering, this space was designed with the golfers in mind. It overlooks the first hole of the Kiln Creek golf course, creating a welcoming environment for the golf community. The contrasted coloring of the fire pit area definitely catches the eye. In fact, a friend of mine who's an avid golfer at Kiln Creek called me up to share how he came across this cool patio on the course. Little did he know, it was the very same patio we were building
Adding the Perfect Finishing Touches
With the walls built up, it was time to focus on the perfect finishing touches—lights! Kevin diligently made wire connections along the wall, carefully grounding the channel for the wire. The final step involved securing the beautiful Raffinato caps in a stunning greyed nickel color. We made sure those caps were perfectly level, adding an extra touch of professionalism to the project.
But wait, we're not done yet! While Kevin was busy crafting the hardscape, my brother Jim stepped in to work his landscaping magic. Jim took care of the final touches, starting with a water feature. He installed two spillway bowls, which will soon be illuminated with lights. The water may be a bit muddy at the moment, but fear not—we'll clear that up by removing some of it, introducing a substance called flocculent to help solid particles stick together so that they’re easier to remove, and there you go! Crystal clear water will flow through this beautiful feature in no time.
And out in the yard, we're leveling the ground, adding erosion mats, and preparing to seed the area for lush grass to grow. In just a few weeks, this yard will be boasting its newfound beauty, providing the homeowners with a space they'll truly love.
Bringing Your Backyard to Life
Wow, what a journey! From a dated 80s yard to a dreamy outdoor oasis, we've witnessed an incredible transformation. This space truly embodies the design principles I talked about in my previous post, capturing purpose, creating dead ends, incorporating organic seating, engaging the senses, and avoiding curves without a purpose.
Now it's your turn to share your thoughts. Did you love this before and after as much as we did? Let us know in the comments below! And if you enjoyed this content, don't forget to head over to YouTube and give us a like and subscribe. Your support means the world to us and keeps us motivated to bring you more amazing transformations like this.
Thanks for joining us on this journey, and until next time, keep dreaming and creating beautiful spaces right in your own backyard!
About Easton Outdoors
We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!