Before and After: A Sad, Debris-Filled Patch of Dirt Becomes a Lush Patio Oasis for $6,000

published Sep 18, 2022
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Before: Sparse patch of dried grass
Credit: Jessica Leach

Sometimes, big life changes (whether happy or sad) call for home changes, too. After Jessica Leach’s family’s beloved dog, passed away, they decided to convert this space that was once a puppy playpen into a space where they could relax and make new memories.

Credit: Jessica Leach

“After our dog passed away, it was a yard catchall for two years,” Jessica says. And when she started working from home during the pandemic, she grew tired of looking at it. “I had sold the dog kennel and dog house and cleared the area of all loose debris,” she explains. “It was a blank, dirt canvas. I immediately thought that this would be an ideal place to make a private brick patio.”

Although the outdoor space was in need of some TLC, it did have great potential, as it was located right off the primary bedroom next to a large window. Jessica’s vision was to swap the window for French doors and create an oasis off the bedroom, which she completed with her husband, Jaron, and a handyman who helped with the door install and some electrical work.

Credit: Jessica Leach

“I did a lot of YouTube prep and researching what was the best way to do a DIY patio,” Jessica says, and the job was not without setbacks, the first being that “there were a ton of roots and bricks laid out under the dirt in various spots where the patio area needed to be dug down and leveled.”

Jessica and Jaron splurged on Brock paver panels to help level the ground quickly, and then they laid red brick concrete pavers in a parquet pattern over top of those for a sturdy base for their outdoor oasis. (The steps leading up to the new French doors were also installed by the handyman.)

Credit: Jessica Leach

As for the perimeter, they thought they’d be able to use the existing fencing that was there, but the front panel was water-rotted, so they installed and painted new fencing, then added artificial hedging over top.

With the foundation in place, it was time to accessorize, and Jessica found all of her decor from Walmart. Her advice if you’re shopping for outdoor furniture is to make sure not to wait to open boxes until you’re ready to use the furniture. She discovered too late that some of her items were damaged, and then it was difficult to facilitate refunds, returns, and exchanges due to the gap in time.

Credit: Jessica Leach

Some of the decor highlights from the items that did work out? The egg-shaped chair, wicker patio set, the colorful rug, the thrifted hanging artwork, and the “Good Vibes Only” neon sign.

Here’s to many more good vibes and good times on Jessica and Jaron’s new patio! “I LOVED seeing my vision come to life, and I enjoy the area with friends and family,” Jessica says. “The whole family loves it, even the cat!”