Backyard Paradise: Open Floor Plan for the Great Outdoors

Backyard Paradise: Open Floor Plan for the Great Outdoors

This week, we’re in Charlotte, North Carolina, to create a beautiful outdoor area for our Backyard Paradise contest winners.

Courtney Claugus was selected as the lucky winner of our Backyard Paradise contest, so we’re giving her and her husband Adam’s backyard a makeover with help from our friends at Quikrete and Pavestone.

Read on to learn about some of the projects we tackled. 


Pavestone Avant XL paver patios in greystone
These large, gray linear pavers complement the Claugus’ contemporary home. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Build Two Paver Patios

Two is better than one! And in this, case, two paver patios offer more space for outdoor living! 

We designate one patio for seating and another for dining — like an open floor plan for the great outdoors.  

Crews from Quikrete, Pavestone and a local construction company build the dual patio setup. The first patio extends from the existing concrete patio, and the second is on the other side of the house. 

Worker uses compacter to compact paver base for a patio
Paver base provides a solid foundation and also raises the pavers to be even with the concrete patio. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

They first lay out the footprint for the patios, then add four inches of paver base to establish the foundation.

Level running over paver sand
Leveling the paver sand ensures an even patio surface. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

After compacting the paver base, they add one inch of paver sand, then use a level to make the surface even.

Worker laying Pavestone Avant XL pavers
Workers use a string to ensure the lines stay even throughout the length of the patio. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

The patios are built with Pavestone’s Avant XL pavers. These large, 16-by-16-inch patio stones have the look of large format plank pavers. The false joints on the gray pavers create clean lines, so they go well with Adam and Courtney’s contemporary-style home. To add some line variety, the crew rotated each paver to create crisscrossed lines.

Paver patio border edging
Smaller pavers create a border around the large pavers. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Once the large pavers are laid, the crew marks a line where the border will begin and cut it with a concrete saw. Then, they lay the smaller border pavers in a soldier course pattern. 

Brush pushing sand over paver patio
Just like grout color matters when laying tile, paver sand color makes a difference on a patio. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

The last step is filling the joints. We use a granite screening to complement the pavers as well as the house’s color. for fine. 

Stepping patio stones next to a concrete slab and flower border
These matching pavers create stepping stones to unite the two patios. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

After the patios are complete, we place a few pavers between them to create stepping stones, so the two are united.


Pavestone Rumblestone outdoor fireplace
The outdoor fireplace becomes the perfect focal point for this seating area. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Build Outdoor Fireplace

Every seating area needs a focal point, so we build an outdoor fireplace.

We use Pavestone’s Rumblestone Outdoor Fireplace Kit in Greystone. Before we assemble the fireplace, we lay eight inches of paver base, compacting it in layers, so we have a sturdy foundation.  

Building this fireplace is simple because the kit includes a set of color-coded drawings that detail which blocks go where on each step.

Rumblestone fireplace blocks with adhseive
The fireplace is held together just by the weight of the stones and some construction adhesive. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

We don’t need any mortar to build this fireplace because the blocks are held in place using Quikrete Advanced Polymer Construction Adhesive.

Wood mantel on a Pavestone Rumblestone outdoor fireplace
Pavestone representative Chris Claire found this wood mantel at his mother’s home. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Once the fireplace is built, we add a mantel using a recycled piece of wood. It softens up the hard edges of the stone and warms up the space.


Shade sail over paver patio and outdoor dining table
We install the shade sail hooks on the house slightly higher than the ones on the post so we can match the slope of the home’s roof. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Install Shade Sail

The paver patio for dining offers little shade, so we install a shade sail to make the area more comfortable.

First, we dig holes for our two 6-by-6 posts that will support the shade sail. We set wood posts in the ground using Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete, then surround them with pavers to match the patio.

Brush staining cedar wood plank
This stain matches the existing outside columns. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

To match the posts to the house columns, we stain pieces of rough-sawn cedar and wrap them over the wood columns. Before we nail the wood over the posts, we add some spacers to keep the cedar planks from bowing. Wrapping these 6-by-6 posts not only makes them look larger, but it also hides the cracks that are inevitable with solid posts. 

Danny Lipford drills a wood beam for a shade sail
The top horizontal beam unites the two posts. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

To join the two columns, we build a horizontal box beam with longer pieces of 1-by-8-inch cedar on the ground before we lift it into place.

Next, we attach two hooks to the top of the posts for half of our shade sail, then attach another two to the side of the house for the other two corners of the shade sail.

Then, we install those hooks slightly higher to give the shade sail a slope and match the angle of the roof. 

Watch: Installing a Shade Sail 


Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf with Backyard Paradise winners Adam and Courtney Claugus and their dog Kendrick.
Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf with Backyard Paradise winners Adam and Courtney Claugus and their dog Kendrick. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Post-Production Thoughts

Courtney and Adam had a nice backyard, but they didn’t have much outdoor living space to enjoy it. With just a small covered concrete pad and a couple of chairs, their outdoor entertaining well was pretty limited.

Backyard with small concrete patio
Adam and Courtney had a big backyard but little room for entertaining. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Now they have not one but two great Pavestone patios that offer plenty of space for entertainment. One is just the right size for outdoor dining under the cover of the shade sail we added, and the other offers a massive space to relax with friends.

backyard with two paver patios and a shade sail
By adding two paver patios, we’ve more than doubled the outdoor entertaining space in this backyard. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

The Rumblestone fireplace adds a focal point with loads of character and is bound to be very popular on those chilly nights. Plus, the large format pavers complement the contemporary home’s color and character.


Special Thanks


Other Tips From This Episode


Products Featured in This Episode

Patios

Fireplace

Shade Sail

Decor

Other items


Further Reading

Quikrete Calculators: Get Concrete Answers and More

Quikrete Calculators: Get Concrete Answers and More

Quikrete’s calculators eliminate any guesswork when purchasing building materials for home projects. (Photo provided by Quikrete)

Concrete is a cornerstone element for any home project.

For many homes, it’s literally the foundation upon which they are built. Concrete is also a key ingredient of hardscape elements to enhance your backyard; it provides a solid entrance with driveways and walkways; and it securely sets posts for fences or mailboxes.  

Here’s how Quikrete’s calculators do the math for you and make home improvement projects easier.


For concrete slabs, big or small, Quikrete’s concrete calculator tells you the precise amount you’ll need.
For concrete slabs, big or small, Quikrete’s concrete calculator tells you the precise amount you’ll need.

Concrete Slabs

Whether you need a slab for a concrete driveway or shed foundation, Quikrete’s concrete calculator tells you how many bags of mix you’ll need to get the job done — eliminating any worry of being short a bag or buying too many. 

First, choose the desired product — popular options include Quikrete’s Concrete Mix (for larger slabs) and Fast-Setting Concrete Mix in the red bag (for smaller slabs). 

The calculator determines the amount you need for a 4-inch or 6-inch slab. Just enter your slab’s square footage and it will tell you how many 40-, 50-, 60- or 80-pound bags you’ll need. 


Don’t end up shorthanded when setting fence posts! Quikrete’s concrete calculator ensures you’ll have enough Fast-Setting Concrete Mix to get the job done.
Don’t end up shorthanded when setting fence posts! Quikrete’s concrete calculator ensures you’ll have enough Fast-Setting Concrete Mix to get the job done.

Posts and Mailboxes

Installing a mailbox or fence? Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix makes setting your posts fast and easy. 

Calculate how many bags you’ll need here. All you need to do is enter the depth of the hole. The calculator will generate the number of bags you need for various post and hole diameters. 


Use Quikrete’s concrete crack sealant calculator to ensure you’ll have enough sealant to fill every crack and gap. 
Use Quikrete’s concrete crack sealant calculator to ensure you’ll have enough sealant to fill every crack and gap. 

Cracked Concrete

Over time, cracks and crevices will creep up on your concrete. To maintain your concrete surface’s structural integrity and prevent additional damage, repair those cracks with a concrete crack sealant.

Use Quikrete Concrete Repair or Quikrete Advanced Polymer Concrete Crack Sealant for a flexible, elastic bond. 

Simply enter the approximate length of the crack you will be repairing in feet, and Quikrete’s Concrete Crack Sealant Calculator will tell you how many 10.1-ounce tubes you will need for your project.


When building a paver patio, don’t end up short on sand. Quikrete’s paver sand calculator tells you how many bags you’ll need to fill every square inch.
When building a paver patio, don’t end up short on sand. Quikrete’s paver sand calculator tells you how many bags you’ll need to fill every square inch.

Paver Patios

Laying a paver patio? Quikrete has a calculator to determine exactly how many bags of paver sand you’ll need.

Just enter the size of the area you need to cover in square feet. The calculator will tell you how many bags you will need to cover the area at a 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch 1/2-inch, 3/4-inch, 1-inch or 2-inch depth.

Once you have your pavers in place, you’ll need to secure them with some polymeric jointing sand. You guessed it — Quikrete also has a calculator for that.


Quikrete’s mortar mix calculator gives you the peace of mind to know you’ll have enough mortar to build a brick wall in one go.
Quikrete’s mortar mix calculator gives you the peace of mind to know you’ll have enough mortar to build a brick wall in one go.

Mortar Mix 

Mortar is the glue that holds bricks together. Whether you’re building a retaining wall or a privacy concrete block wall for your garden, you’ll need some.

And Quikrete has a mortar mix calculator to tell you how much you’ll need. Just enter the number of bricks or concrete blocks you plan to use for your project.

The calculator will tell you the number of 60-pound or 80-pound bags of Quikrete Mortar Mix you need to construct your project with a ⅜-inch mortar joint.


filling toy buckets with sand in a children's sandbox
Building a backyard playground for your child? Quikrete has a calculator to tell you how many bags of sand you’ll need to fill a sandbox. (pixelshot)

Other Material Calculators


Still have a question after you’ve calculated how much material you need? Quikrete has a live chat function on its calculator webpage, so you can talk one-on-one with an expert, ensuring your project will be completed to perfection.


Further Reading

Two Patios are Better Than One

Two Patios are Better Than One

Jerry and Shay’s backyard is big enough for them to enjoy, but something is missing. Their small patio offers little space for entertaining guests, and their old firepit is secluded from any seating.

But that’s OK. Because when your patio is tiny, just create another one! That’s just what we’re doing on this episode of Today’s Homeowner.


The Projects

View of concrete patio
This patio is small but in good shape. Fresh paint and concrete stain brighten its appearance to better match the new patio.

Spruce Up Existing Patio

First, we want to touch up the existing patio so it visually works well when the new patio is completed.

We pressure wash the concrete pad and then stain it to better match the new paver patio. To apply the stain, we use a pump sprayer with circular motion, and then roll the stain to get it deep into the surface.


Laying out a patio using string
Before we can create a paver patio, we have to define the space.

Laying Out the New Patio

The first step to building a new paver patio is creating the layout. We determined where we wanted the fire pit and used a string and spray paint to find a radius for the paver patio surrounding it. 

Once the layout was complete, we removed the grass with a rented sod cutter. Because the backyard had a slight slope to it, we needed a short retaining wall on the lower side of the space to create a graceful transition from the existing patio to our new one.

First, we had to dig a trench for the retaining wall. Next, we poured paver base into the trench and tamped it down. Compacting paver base deep into the dirt ensures the patio will have a strong foundation.

Retaining wall for patio
A retaining wall is a must for installing patios in sloped backyards.

Building a retaining wall isn’t the most glamourous part of the project, but it’s necessary. We used Pavestone Rumblestone Pavers for our wall.

To cut our pavers to the size we needed, we rented a concrete saw from The Home Depot. If you only plan to use an expensive tool once, it just makes sense to rent instead of buy.


Paver patio with large pavers
Large 2-by-2-foot pavers make this patio feel more spacious and look luxurious.

Build New Patio

After lining the patio with pavers, we prep the area for laying down slab pavers.

First, we compact the dirt and spread paver base. We then lay metals pipes before laying sand down to ensure the sand is a consistent depth throughout to support the heavy 2-by-2-foot pavers. 

We added two steps from the existing patio to lead down to the new one. Both steps must be the same size, so we have to cut down some of the concrete on the existing patio.

Paver fire pit
Jerry and Shay’s new firepit is now the focal point of their patio.

Once the pavers are complete, we sweep sand into the joints and we’re ready for the new fire pit. We used a Pavestone Rumblestone Fire Pit Kit, and assembled the fire pit in less than 20 minutes!


shed in backyard and patio
The shed in the backyard felt too out of place, so we painted it to tie into the house instead of standing alone.

Dress up the Backyard

The white shed was distracting from the backyard view, so we painted it black using Behr’s Cracked Pepper. We used an Earlex Super Finish Max HVLP Sprayer from Woodcraft to speed up the process.

To tie the shed to the patio, we used the same color to paint the back doors and trim.

We also:


Danny and Chelsea with homeowners
“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf, pictured with homeowners Shay and Jerry.

Post-Production Thoughts

Jerry and Shay have a beautiful backyard with great shade trees and lawn. But the old fire pit had seen better days and the existing patio offered few opportunities to enjoy the outdoor space. It was too small for entertaining and the monotone color palette lacked any real interest.

Now, the whole backyard has come alive with the addition of a big new patio that complements the shape of the trees while it enjoys its shade.

Large-format pavers make the patio seem larger than it actually is and the new fire pit is the ideal spot for entertaining.

There are two large steps that create a graceful transition to the old patio, which has been revived with a new shade of stain and a bold color on the doors.

That same color on the storage shed plus some simple landscaping have transformed this yard into a spot you just can’t wait to enjoy.


Other Tips From This Episode



More Inspiration

Patio Seating Inspiration: How to Build Paver Chairs

Patio Seating Inspiration: How to Build Paver Chairs

Having enough seating for your outdoor entertaining space is essential to ensure your guests are comfortable.

These chairs made from RumbleStone blocks make a great addition to any patio, particularly those made of pavers.

To create your own paver patio chair, first take small, medium, and large RumbleStone blocks and lay them out in a U shape. These are 24 1/2 inches deep, 35 inches wide.

Next, apply polyurethane construction adhesive before the next row of stones are applied on top of the other stones.

Be sure that the pattern of the stones varies for each new row. This way, no continuous seams will be seen from the bottom to the top of the chair. Also, this makes the chair stronger and visually appealing.

Use trapezoid blocks to fill in the back of the chair once it reaches 24 inches high. Apply construction adhesive to the bottoms and the sides of these blocks to form the back of your chair.

Inside the legs of the chair, glue four 45-millimeter-large blocks vertically to support the seat of the chair. For the seat, use four 2×4 wood planks and a couple of 2×2 pleats.

The result will give you complimentary paver chairs to go along with your paver patio!

Watch the video for step-by-step directions! 

Further Reading

High-End Patio Seating: How to Create Chairs with Pavers

High-End Patio Seating: How to Create Chairs with Pavers

Patio seating comes in many materials and price ranges — which can be good and bad.

For instance, ready-to-assemble outdoor furniture may be functional, but it also looks off-the-rack. And like everybody else’s outdoor furniture.

Whether you entertain a lot or just want a backyard paradise to personally enjoy, creating a set of paver chairs is a surefire way to do that.

Pavestone RumbleStone blocks, made of durable concrete, are engineered to mimic the appearance of weathered cut stone. They have a natural look and feel and give any outdoor living space texture and depth.

Best of all, they resist decaying and fading and don’t attract pests.

Patio seating made from these rustic building blocks is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and a conversation piece.

Follow this guide as inspiration to create your own paver chairs.


What You’ll Need


Man wearing a Quikrete shirt applies sealant to the base of a chair made of Pavestone pavers
Start your paver chair with a U formation of building blocks.

How to Build Paver Chairs

1. Create a ‘U.’ Lay small, medium and large RumbleStone blocks in a U shape. Choose the size that works for you and cut any of the blocks as needed with a circular saw. (Just wear protective eyewear before you do.) This chair’s U shape is 24 1/2 inches deep and 35 inches wide.​​

Closeup of applying Quikrete sealant to a paver chair
Apply Quikrete Advanced Polymer Construction Adhesive to secure each bottom row of pavers to the one above it.

2. Bond the blocks together. Apply construction adhesive on top of each row of stones before you add the next row of stones.

3. Mix it up. Vary the pattern of stones for each new row. This way, no continuous seams will be seen from the bottom to the top of the chair. Also, this makes the chair stronger and more visually appealing.

Man wearing Quikrete shirt and gloves applies sealant to a patio chair made of pavers
Cut RumbleStone blocks into trapezoids to fill in the back of the chair.

4. Fill it in. Use trapezoid blocks to fill in the back of the chair once it reaches 24 inches high. Apply construction adhesive to the bottoms and the sides of these blocks to form the back of your chair.

“Today’s Homeowner” co-host Chelsea Lipford Wolf drills decking screws into wood cleats
Secure two 2-by-2 cleats to four 2-by-4 planks with a power drill and deck screws.

5. Add the seat. Patio seating is nothing without the seat! So, inside the legs of the chair, glue four 45-millimeter-large blocks vertically to support the seat of the chair. Then, to create the seat, secure four 2-by-4 wood planks to a couple of 2-by-2 cleats with a power drill and deck screws.

Closeup of a Pavestone paver chair with a lumbar pillow
Buy a lumbar pillow or a full back cushion for each chair to soften its appearance and add comfort.

Make them Comfortable

These chairs add instant elegance to your outdoor living space, especially if you have a paver patio. Now there’s just one thing left to do: add cushions!

You can add a back cushion and leave the wooden seat as is, or you can add a matching seat cushion to soften the chair’s appearance and enhance your comfort.

Need shade? Add a matching patio umbrella or shade sail overhead to tie the look together, so your hardscape elements (the paver patio and paver chairs) match, and your cloth elements (the cushions and shade) complement each other, too!

The result is sure to rival your neighbors’ patio seating, and will make your outdoor living space the best-looking one on the block.

Watch the video for step-by-step directions! 


Further Reading