Our $30 Patio

When we first moved into our house, our yard looked like this:

Scary, right? And see how dark it is in that first photo? That’s due to this monstrosity.


Meet our rubber tree. The damn tree. This damn tree shaded our whole yard, dropped giant leaves everywhere, and was leaning on our roof. Basically, it was bumming us out. So before we even moved in, I started looking up landscapers on Craiglist and getting quotes for getting rid of the damn tree. And HOLY CRAP, it costs a LOT of money to get rid of trees. Finally, we found a guy who appeared pretty legit and would get rid of the damn tree for about half the price we were quoted from everyone else.

Once the damn tree was gone, there was light in our house! We could see the sky from our yard! We were so happy! Then it rained for about ten days straight (unheard of in southern California!) and this happened:

Weeds! They took over. Our yard basically turned into a jungle of weeds. And I hated it so much that the cell phone pic above is the only evidence I have of the five-ish months that the yard looked like that. We were overwhelmed! Neither of us had ever done any gardening or landscaping and though our yard is small, it looked like a huge project, and we had no idea where to start.

Then two weeks ago, my lovely parents came to visit. They are awesome DIYers and have been doing a great job in tackling their own yard. They generously volunteered (or my mom generously volunteered the both of them) to help us get started on our yard. My mom and I started tackling the weed situation while Marcus and my dad watched basketball one afternoon. The next day while M and I were at work, mom and dad got shtuff done!!

The got rid of the remaining weeds, tore up all the random pavers and rocks, and raked and leveled the dirt. The “patio” looked about a thousand times better it was basically just a giant rectangle of dirt.

About those pavers.. It seems as if at some point, a previous renter had some plans for this yard. All around the yard, there were little “collections” of squares, hexagons, flagstones, bricks, and probably HUNDREDS of stones in all sizes. So my plan was to use what we already have and assemble a patio. We invited (read: bribed with bagels) our friend Ben over one morning and started to move things around to see what we could do with what we had. The boys quickly became bored with my indecision so I sent them inside to drink sodas while I figured out a plan. But I figured out, we set the stones together, and filled in the rest of the space with pea gravel.

It’s not perfect, but it only ended up costing around $30 total and it works for us! The fire pit was a birthday gift from me to Marcus since we had to dismantle his DIY brick fire pit. We created a little planting bed (behind the pit in the fourth pic) and put in a bunch of succulents that we picked up at a farmer’s market for $2 a piece. We can’t wait to have our friends over for a barbecue!

The patio is only about one-third of our whole yard but actually wanting to spend time out there is a big motivator to fix things up.

Have you taken on any spring gardening or beautifying projects?

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11 Responses to Our $30 Patio

  1. Morgan says:

    Yay for cleaning up yards! Ours is just a sandy mess (downside to living so close to the beach on the East) and we’re not worries about grass until later. Right now we are just working on some flowers (passed down/split from my mom and grandmother). Good luck with everything! Love the lemon tree!!!

  2. Lori says:

    Teamwork rules! Great patio!

  3. Layla says:

    It seriously looks great. So glad you took before and after shots, I love seeing stuff like that! I can’t wait until we own so we can tackle projects like this.

    • We rent but M’s parents own the place which gives us a lot of freedom to change things. The yard was pretty much as bad as it could get so I figure any work we put in improves things!

  4. joanne says:

    oh, i’m damn glad ya got rid of the damn tree! kudos on that! also glad ma & pa helped you out with the weeds. the place looks great and i am jealous of the citrus trees!

  5. julioshingon says:

    what is a rubber tree?

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