People are quite often very surprised at the cost of putting in an outdoor living space and garden. Generally to create a patio, planting areas around it and paths to access it, you might be looking at paying the same as if you were doing small kitchen renovation. It makes sense since you really are creating another room on your house but it also makes sense to go the DIY path in the garden....
As a hard core garden builder myself, Erin, the Impatient Gardener, has not only earned my respect but the serious stripes as a DIY superstar and the buff forearms to prove it. Generally when it comes to building paths and walls in the garden, a rough estimate for what a contractor will charge to do the work is double the amount of the required materials. So, by doing it yourself, you stand to save about 50%.
Erin's project, which you can read more about on her blog, Impatient Gardener, includes a deck with a pergola (and some pretty sleek cable railings), a patio, paths, a stone retaining wall and planting. All done in nine months by Erin herself. Impressive, and I can't wait to see what it looks like this year when the plants are more settled in and have started to grow together.
(Images: The Impatient Gardener.)