Having outdoor space was key in 2020—but sometimes those outdoor spaces need a little re-working to become comfortable hangouts. Kate Beckman, for instance, had access to a lovely backyard when she moved in with her mom during the pandemic. There was one piece of the yard that seemed for the most part untouched, though: “It was a spot near the shed and under the shade of two large trees,” Kate says. “Because of all the weeds, there were a lot of bugs. In short, we couldn’t just put chairs and sit in the shade.”
Although the spot wasn’t quite a hangout destination as-is, Kate saw lots of potential. “I thought it would be perfect to work outside, as my office job is remote for the time being,” she says. “Given that I didn’t have much to do besides work during stay at home orders, I decided to invest some time in transforming the space.”
Initially, Kate assumed the patio would be a weekend project, but quickly realized it was going to take a lot longer to pull it all together. “I am not someone who typically does DIY projects,” she says. “Prior to moving back home, I was living in a small rented apartment in NYC. The extent of my home improvement was rearranging the furniture every now and then. Still, I was determined to persevere on the project—especially since the biggest investment, the pavers, were non-returnable.”
Kate started by weeding the area, then raked the soil and spread out 20 bags worth of sand before installing a weed barrier, all of which she achieved over the course of a couple of weekends.
The following weekend, Kate buckled down for maybe the most difficult part: laying the brick pavers, which each weighed 32 pounds and were all stored on the other side of the yard. After lots of heavy lifting and some sand adjustments, the patio was almost complete. All it needed were some final finishing touches, which Kate and her mom took on the final weekend.
“My mom and I strung some lights, and she planted more flowers around the patio, including hydrangea, pansies, geraniums, and hostas,” Kate says. They also bought one more chair. Total spent on the patio—including flowers, pots, lights, furniture, pavers, and other materials—was about $1300 to $1400, Kate estimates.
In the end, Kate and her mom were able to create a lovely outdoor space that was perfect for relaxing—but also was within range of the WiFi so that on good weather days, Kate can enjoy an outdoor office.
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