Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

Backyard Paradise Outdoor Living Project

By: Danny Lipford

Paver patio with benches and fire pit.

Watch this video to see how we transformed Wes and Kelli Holloman’s backyard in Pearland, Texas, into a beautiful outdoor entertainment area, thanks to help from Pavestone.

Outdoor Living Projects Included:

  • Paver patio
  • Picnic table
  • Benches
  • Fire pit
  • Planting bed
  • Grill surround

Except for the poured concrete picnic table top and pressure treated wood used on the bench seats, everything we built was constructed out of Pavestone pavers.

We also installed a Brisa retractable screen door from ODL on the back door of the house to make it easier to get to the backyard.

Read episode article to find out more.

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re converting a plain old patio into a backyard paradise, if the weather cooperates.

So, Andy, it seems like every time we get together it’s raining. What’s up with that?

Andy Morton: I don’t know. I guess that’s the only way we know to work—in the rain.

Danny Lipford: Earlier this year, we told you about a contest where the prize was a Pavestone paradise backyard makeover. The winners of that contest were Kelli and Wes Holloman of Pearland, Texas.

Wes Holloman: Well, when we first heard about the contest, I saw it on Facebook, and I thought this would be the perfect contest for Kelli because she always complains about our backyard being so nasty.

Kelli Holloman: It’s bad. It’s really bad.

Wes Holloman: It’s really bad. They said we could make either a video or turn in a picture or nothing, and I said, “We’ve got to go all out on this one.” So we made a video. I made—

Kelli Holloman: He always goes all out. He can’t do halfway.

All: hey, Danny!

Wes Holloman: Welcome to our backyard. We’re so glad you’re here. You can see we have lots of potential, but we need lots of help. We can’t get grass to grow here. We’ve got this puny, little slab right here.

But if you can imagine with us this beautiful Pavestone area with a nice place, with a fire pit. Over here, Pavestone as the kids enjoy the outdoors. And, also, we have our wonderful son cooking on the grill.

We’d love for you to pick it. Please, please, please choose our home because I promise you we would love it.

Kelli Holloman: We have five kids. We’ve been blessed with five great kids. And the age span is 10 years, so we have 15 all the way down to five.

We want—we kind of wanted an environment where we could include everybody, spend time with everybody, allow the big kids to have their friends over and have outside big kid time without the little kids at times.

Wes Holloman: We have a great tree in the back. And we love the tree, it’s really kind of like a focal point. But because of the tree, there’s a lot of cover, and so there’s one big area where grass just never grows. And we’ve tried everything, but it just never works.

And so we wanted to have Pavestone come and just kind of cover that up, make it a little bit better. And then to really create that environment for our whole family just to hang out and just have fun out there.

Danny Lipford: The man Pavestone tapped to create that transformation is our friend Andy Morton. We’ve worked with Andy before, and if Andy’s in charge, it’s bound to be a success.

Andy Morton: We’re actually creating two different seating areas for them. We’re going to have a table with seating for eight, as well as a bench that should seat six or seven. So we’re accomplishing their main goal of kind of giving them that outdoor living area.

The biggest challenge we’re going to have on this project is probably going to be the weather. We had a big storm come through last night, dumped about eight inches of rain, so we’ve got some mud back there. But we’ll work through that, we’ll get this thing, sorted out; and, it should be a great project.

Danny Lipford: Now it’s time to share that plan with Wes and Kelli.

First of all, congratulations for winning the Pavestone backyard paradise.

Wes Holloman: Oh, thank you very much.

Kelli Holloman: Thank you so much.

Wes Holloman: We are so excited.

Danny Lipford: That’s pretty cool. Of course, we have all the materials out here, and hopefully we’ll have some good weather. But I know you’re anxious to see what this backyard’s going to look like by the end of the week. There you go.

Wes Holloman: Oh.

Kelli Holloman: We’ll take it.

Danny Lipford: This is a Pavestone table. That’s going to be really cool right here, and then fire pit.

Kelli Holloman: Yeah. What are—what’s this part?

Danny Lipford: Benches.

Kelli Holloman: Oh.

Danny Lipford: Unfortunately, there’s more rain overnight and into the next morning, as we begin clearing the space and marking the layout for the extended paver patio.

So, Andy, it seems like every time we get together it’s raining. What’s up with that?

Andy Morton: I don’t know. I guess that’s the only way we know to work—in the rain.

Danny Lipford: So how deep about are we going here?

Andy Morton: We’re going to need to go down about three inches, so we’ve got room to get a little base and some sand underneath our pavers.

Danny Lipford: That’s not too bad. We got plenty of shovels going on here, too.

Andy Morton: Yep. That helps.

Danny Lipford: But the rain doesn’t leave us alone for long, but the damp, sandy soil is easy to remove. And there’s a low bare spot in the lawn nearby that was beneath the Holloman’s trampoline, so we don’t have to move the dirt very far.

Soon, we’re busy pulling strings to mark the grade of the patio.

So you’re going to drop that, what, an inch?

Andy Morton: Yeah. I want an inch, so we have about an inch of fall away from the garage. It will let the water turn and run down the hill.

Danny Lipford: OK. Perfect, perfect. So we started out with this line being perfectly level, and that will be the top of the base once it’s all compacted, and then the pavers will go on top of that.

Boy, I hope the rain will stop because we’ll have this thing looking pretty good by the end of the day.

Joe Truini: If you’re going to be working on the outside of your house, you have to have an extension ladder. It’s simply the safest and most efficient way to reach high places. The challenge, though, is how do you prevent the rails of the ladder from damaging your house.

You can buy special mitts and cushions that fit on the top of the ladder, but they cost $20-$30, so I decided to make my own using nothing more than a $1.00 pool noodle. What I did is I took the noodle, and I cut a section using a serrated bread knife. Then I slit it lengthwise just to open up the hole.

What you end up with is this, a short section with a slit on it that you can slip over the rail, and you want to make sure it extends maybe a half-inch or so beyond the end of the rail so that the corner of the ladder doesn’t damage the house.

Now, we’re just going to stand it up and lean it against the house. Just walk it up one rung at a time and then pull it back to the proper distance. There. Perfect. What you’ll see is the pool noodles will rest against the house, protecting the siding.

Danny Lipford: Contest winners Wes and Kelli Holloman wanted a cool place for their family and friends to enjoy the outside.

Wes Holloman: While we’re not the coolest people in the world, we wanted a cool place for them to hang out.

Danny Lipford: So we’re working to make it happen. We’ve dug out the space for the paver patio, and the compactable base material is going in.

But, so far, the outside isn’t very enjoyable with this constant nagging rain. Fortunately, it hasn’t dampened the crew’s spirits too much.

Allen Lyle: You see we have something labeled for you here.

Danny Lipford: Awesome! Hey, there we go.

Danny Lipford: Once the space starts filling up, we use a long, straight 2×4 to screed the base off to a flat surface. When Andy is happy with the grade…

Andy Morton: I think we’re good because that’s going to pack in there.

Danny Lipford: …it’s time to pack the base down with a plate compactor…

Andy Morton: Gentlemen, start your engines.

Danny Lipford: …before the sand starts going in.

This concrete’s sloping, we’ve got this sloping this way. It’s time to put the sand in. How is all that transition going to take place?

Andy Morton: We’ll screed this little section on the end here to kind of take away some of that slope that’s already been put in there.

Danny Lipford: Perfect, and you got your conduit down so that we get exactly where we need on the thickness of the sand.

Andy Morton: You get those screed rails set right where you want, and then the sand will fill and give you the base that you want.

Danny Lipford: Sounds like a hint to me.

Andy Morton: That’s it.

Danny Lipford: You want me to start hauling sand?

Andy Morton: Better get to it.

Danny Lipford: All right.

Apparently these guys thought that that meant I was moving all of the sand. But on the upside, the rain is gone, and finally we have sunshine.

Once the sand is spread out, we screed it flat—just like we did the base—but then there’s a difference.

Andy Morton: The most common misconception is after they do this part that then they start walking across it to lay their pavers on it. And once it’s set at this point, you don’t walk on it at all.

Danny Lipford: As we finish leveling the sand, Wes is coming home for lunch and gets quite a surprise.

Allen Lyle: There he is. What do you think, Wes?

Wes Holloman: Oh, wow!

Allen Lyle: What do you think?

Wes Holloman: Good night. It looks awesome, especially in the rain.

Andy Morton: Yeah, yeah. We powered through, and the sun’s out now, so getting ready for pavers.

Wes Holloman: Man, this is exciting.

Andy Morton: All right. Here we go, Wes. This is the ceremonial first paver. Honor is all yours, so just pick one of those up and lay it down.

Wes Holloman: Very nice.

Danny Lipford: As the pavers start going down, Andy consults his plans for the table so that he can establish the base for it before the pavers cover the slab.

Allen Lyle: Let me ask you this then. If we’re putting this table that we’re incorporating it into the patio itself. We’ve got a slope on the patio. How are we going to—because you don’t want a slope on the table.

Andy Morton: The way we’re going to solve that slope on that patio is we’re going to lay the first course of our table into our patio on—into our pavers.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Andy Morton: Then we will actually—after we lay our patio— pull those back up, use sand to fill in to create a perfectly level base to start our table on.

Allen Lyle: All right, Andy. So I see the layout of the table.

Andy Morton: Yep.

Allen Lyle: At, what, about so high?

Andy Morton: About 32 inches.

Allen Lyle: All right. What’s going on top, though?

Andy Morton: It’s going to be a concrete countertop we’re going to pour out here in the driveway.

Allen Lyle: Really? When’s that going to happen?

Andy Morton: That’s going to happen real quick. Vince is getting ready to get started on it now.

Allen Lyle: I got to go watch it.

Andy Morton: OK.

Danny Lipford: The top Vince is mixing is a backup. The ones we’ll actually use were poured a week ago so they could cure more completely.

Allen Lyle: I have been dying to do a project like this. Now talk me through it. What are we doing?

Vince Gallegos: Well, I’ll tell you what we do—what we do is build this mold.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Vince Gallegos: This is built out of melamine board, so you want a nice, smooth surface.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Vince Gallegos: So what we have in here, we actually have wire and rebar around the perimeter.

Allen Lyle: All right.

Vince Gallegos: So that’s going to give us our support.

Allen Lyle: But this is not your standard concrete mix?

Vince Gallegos: No, and as you can see, it really doesn’t have a whole lot of aggregate in it.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Vince Gallegos: It has some but not like normal concrete does.

Allen Lyle: All right.

Danny Lipford: Meanwhile, the patio is moving along quickly as the pavers go down one after the other. Around the edges, the border will be a soldier course of mini pavers.

In each corner, Andy marks a radius so we can cut the pavers, creating gradual curves. In the middle of all of this activity, Kelli returns home from work, and her reaction is priceless?

Kelli Holloman: It looks so much more open!

Danny Lipford: You can see how much better it will be. And especially, you know, the kids going in and out of the yard and being able to track on this instead of tracking inside.

Kelli Holloman: Instead of the house. That’s good. Less vacuuming for Wes.

Danny Lipford: Absolutely. So anyway before we leave here today, we’ve got another hour or so. We’ll be able to get the basic patio completely finished, get the sand in.

And then tomorrow, we’ll start on the fire pit, the benches, and go ahead and get the table done there.

Kelli Holloman: I’m speechless.

Danny Lipford: Oh, no. I’m glad. I’m glad you like it. We’re all having fun, too, so everything’s working well. Just keep the weather man straight and keep this rain away from here.

Kelli Holloman: I’ll do what I can.

Danny Lipford: OK. All right. That sounds great.

Jodi Marks: You know in order to get great results on your projects, you need great tools, and homeowners today are like never before investing in professional-grade tools. Now, I’m with Shea over here in the gardening section, and we’ve got a really good professional gardening tool, right?

Shea Pettaway: That’s right. It is called the Echo 58-volt brushless, cordless hedge trimmer. And it’s an awesome tool. It actually gives you the benefit of gas, but it’s the convenience of having a cordless trimmer.

Jodi Marks: Don’t you just love that, because now you are free to walk about the yard and not have to worry about it. Another thing that I like about this is you’ve got 24 inches of cutting capacity on this blade. Also, it’s got a guard up here at the top, so it protects your house. If you’re getting really close and you don’t want to knick your siding, this protects it against that.

Shea Pettaway: That’s right, and another good thing about this, Jodi, is that the battery—the lithium battery—it gives you a life of 90 minutes. So you don’t have to keep going over and over again, trying to charge it to do your job.

Jodi Marks: That’s fantastic. So if you really want to get professional results, you got to invest in a professional-grade tool, and this is definitely the one.

Thanks, Shea.

Danny Lipford: We’re creating a backyard paradise for contest winners Wes and Kelli. Our first day was hampered by rain, so we were mixing and pouring the concrete toe that locks the pavers in place late into the afternoon.

But we met our goal of finishing the patio itself in just one day. Day two is dry and clear, so Allen and Vince get it started by removing the concrete countertops from the forms.

Allen Lyle: Wow, look at that.

Vince Gallegos: Oh, yeah. Looks great.

Allen Lyle: Sure does. Oh, man. Now you’re going to have to do a little sanding but not much, are you?

Vince Gallegos: Yeah. What we’re going to do is we’ll probably just rough up the edges around the corners and stuff, so it will kind of look like the RumbleStone.

Danny Lipford: To rough up those edges, they use broken pieces of pavers as sanding blocks. Then Vince scrubs the slab with an etching solution so that after it’s installed it will better accept the stain.

Meanwhile, Walt is stocking up the large wall blocks that will be needed to build the table base.

Allen Lyle: All right, so the base is our first pattern. I know we’ve got to stagger the joints so it’s strong.

Andy Morton: Exactly.

Allen Lyle: After that, is it the same pattern back and forth, just two patterns?

Andy Morton: Yeah, it just repeats two patterns over and over again.

Danny Lipford: Being level is very crucial for a table, so they check it as each course is completed and shim the blocks as necessary to ensure a level, flat surface for the top, which is dry and ready to move when the base is completed.

Andy Morton: Home free now.

Allen Lyle: Going to the far side first, right?

Andy Morton: Straight to the far side.

Allen Lyle: All right. So we’ll split the difference on this one?

Andy Morton: Yep. We want it right on the center.

Allen Lyle: All right. Here we go here.

Danny Lipford: When the second top is in place, there’s a little more tweaking to do to get both pieces flush and flat.

Andy Morton: Got it.

Danny Lipford: Then it’s on to the seating for the table.

Andy Morton: So what we’re doing is we’re going to do four benches here. They’re going to be 14 by 42 inches long.

Allen Lyle: OK.

Andy Morton: They’re going to be five courses high.

Allen Lyle: All right.

Andy Morton: And they’re all interlocked in together, so it’s similar to the table. We just lay out our first course here, and then we, repeat the courses over and over again.

Allen Lyle: Was that—was that your brainchild here?

Andy Morton: That’s my thought pad, yeah.

Allen Lyle: How early in the morning was this?

Andy Morton: That was about 4:30 this morning. I woke up thinking about it.

Allen Lyle: All right. Well, there’s our pattern. Let’s do it.

Andy Morton: So there we go. We just need to make sure we’re staying square on our lines here.

Allen Lyle: Right, I see it coming off a little. All right.

Andy Morton: Ready for our next course.

Allen Lyle: The next course.

Andy Morton: I’ll grab the minis over here.

Allen Lyle: Oh, of course you will.

Andy Morton: These are more my size. All right, better do the test.

Allen Lyle: Got to do a test.

Danny Lipford: The seating on the other side of the patio will be a different style of bench, which combines RumbleStone wall blocks and treated four by fours.

Do I glue these, too?

Andy Morton: Yes. Everything from here on will get glue up at the top.

Danny Lipford: I love glue. The fire pit will be positioned between these two benches. But we’re saving that so that the kids can help build it when they get home.

While we’re waiting on them, Andy puts together a surround for the Holloman’s grill, and I’m getting ready to add a retractable screen to their back door.

Hey, hey. Oh, you got the whole crew here, huh?

Wes Holloman: We do. We got them all.

Danny Lipford: Hey. We’re actually while you guys are working on the fire pit, Allen and I are going to install the retractable screen door I was telling you about.

So you can see how it will—you know—you’ll be able to just retract it back to one side and so forth.

Kelli Holloman: Oh, that’s awesome.

Holloman’s Son: Dibs on gloves!

Danny Lipford: Gloves? You want some gloves? All right. Well, you guys get to work over there. You got your work cut out for you.

Andy Morton: You guys come to help? This is the fire pit we’re going to do here. So if you guys want to jump in, it’s pretty simple. Because we’re just going to alternate one after the other, so we know that that’s where we want.

I’m going to go ahead and pull this out of our way. Then what we’re going to do is we’re going to alternate. So you’ve got a trapezoid, and then you’ve got a mini, and then you’ve got a trapezoid and a mini.

And you just do that over and over again. Little ones can get the minis.

Kelli Holloman: Yeah. We got to get the minis.

Andy Morton: Makes it a good whole family project. There you go.

Georgia Holloman: Hey, I have a tiny block.

Kelli Holloman: Come put it right there by Daddy’s.

Wes Holloman: We need one more block. Put your tiny block right there.

Kelli Holloman: Yeah. Oh, good work.

Andy Morton: So we may have to adjust a little bit. So we want to count and make sure. We need 12 traps. So one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11.

So we got to spread it apart just a little bit. We’ll fit the last one in place. There you go. Push it right in there.

Kelli Holloman: You know, Wes, we should start hiring the kids out.

Wes Holloman: That’s true.

Kelli Holloman: We’ll have a side business. We’ll be fire pit builders.

Holloman’s Daughter: That would be child labor, Mom.

Andy Morton: Can build this on any patio.

Kelli Holloman: Georgia, do you want to—do you want to be a fire pit builder when you grow up?

Georgia Holloman: No.

Kelli Holloman: No?

Wes Holloman: This actually is really easy.

Andy Morton: It is. Very simple. You get it? Here we go.

Kelli Holloman: Watch your fingers.

Andy Morton: Perfect. There it is. There it is. All right. Great job, guys.

Danny Lipford: While Allen and I are obviously not as cute as the Hollomans’ kids, our project is also pretty easy.

This retractable screen kit from ODL consists of a handful of pieces that go together to create a framework that fits neatly into the existing door opening.

A few screws secure it to the jamb. And in minutes, you have a retractable screen door that disappears when not in use.

These particular doors are made to keep pests out.

Often, people want to cover a concrete patio or porch with tile and need to know how that differs from indoor tile installation.

For starters, moisture and cracking are bigger concerns outside, so you need to apply a waterproofing and crack-isolating membrane to the slab before you begin. This RedGard goes on pink and turns red when it’s dry.

To secure the tiles, use a polymer-modified, dry-set mortar that is rated for outdoor use and wet conditions. Full coverage of the mortar’s very important, so it’s a good idea to back butter the titles in addition to applying mortar on the slab.

The tile itself should also be rated for outdoor use, and, as a general rule, porcelain tends to be more durable than ceramic. Of course, it should also have a slip-resistant surface.

Finally, choose a grout that will resist stains and fading, so your project will still look good for years to come.

Wes and Kelli Holloman’s backyard was mostly just that—yard. There was only a small concrete slab, and it simply wasn’t enough room for their large family. And, honestly, it was pretty bland.

With the help of Pavestone, we’ve changed all that by expanding the patio and more than doubling its size. The RumbleStone pavers have much more character than the old slab, for starters, but the addition of gentle curves in the corner really add elegance to the space.

And a patio this nice deserves more than just a simple wood picnic table, so the detailed paver pedestal and stained concrete top the guys put together fits right in. Plus, it can seat up to eight people.

The fire pit that Wes and Kelli wanted for the kids is flanked by two wood benches that are anchored in more RumbleStone. And the family grill even got a makeover thanks to a little clever block stacking.

This is a patio that’s not only beautiful, it’s durable; and that’s an important consideration for a family with lots of kids living near a hurricane-prone coastline.

But most importantly, we’ve created a space for the Hollomans to enjoy with their family and friends.

Well, you guys said you wanted a place you could do a little entertaining and have your kids’ friends over. I think we accomplished it.

Kelli Holloman: Definitely.

Wes Holloman: Absolutely. Better than our expectations. It was awesome. Thank you so much.

Danny Lipford: Well, I think it is big improvement from—I mean, you did have some, you know, outdoor living space here but not quite as nice as the Pavestone paradise.

Wes Holloman: Not even close.

Kelli Holloman: This is—this is living space. I want to move out here.

Wes Holloman: Let’s do it. Let’s do it.

Danny Lipford: Hey, it’s been great working with you guys this week.

Wes Holloman: Thank you so much.

Danny Lipford: Thank you. Well, it has been a lot of fun here in Texas with the Holloman family. And developing a space like this is like another room we’ve added to their home, and they’ll be able to use it an awful lot in the months and the years to come.

Now, also, we were able to do this in just three days because of some great work from Andy and our friends at Pavestone. And hopefully we’ve been able to share some things that you can use at your house right now.

There’s more information waiting on you at my website TodaysHomeowner.com.

Hey, thanks so much for being with us. I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week right here.

Allen Lyle: There it is, soft shoe.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, there you go.



Comments

Please Leave a Comment

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at todayshomeowner.com.