Hello friends! Welcome to our new back patio!


34′ x 10′ patio provides lots of space for outdoor dining and seating


Patio seating from Habitat for Humanity


Back door area (and look! Our new electrical panel! Look at it!)

Our meter is still not installed, which means that we are still enjoy free electricity! “Shocking!” flower lady says.


And here is the window well embedded:


Last time I showed you the back of our house, the concrete patio was just poured and it looked like this:


According to our concrete guy’s instruction, the patio needed to for 2~4 days before we could walk on it with soft bottom shoes. I think the wait easily ranks the hardest part of the renovation to date. It looked so tempting!

We closed off the doggy door and borrowed a neighbor’s snow fence to keep the dogs off the patio. On the third day though, I found Charlie taking a sweet nap on the uncured concrete… Oh Charlie. He is so beautifully dim. I think black Labradors are either very smart or very … slow. And Charlie is undoubtedly the latter. It took him a good few days to learn how to use the doggy door, and suddenly, he was not allowed to use it anymore… It was just too much to learn for Charlie in a week.

And now look at him, drinking from his outdoor water bowl on the new patio:


And chilling on it… Charlie seems to like the concrete surface – maybe it reminds him our last home (our NC apartment has concrete floor)? He flaps around on the concrete like a fish out of water, which is so funny to watch. There is never a dull moment living with dogs!


Please allow me to remind you where we started:

The Before –



This picture was taken on the inspection day. You can see kid toy next to the sinking back patio, on a piece of dirt along the house. We actually found some broken glasses and old light bulbs there – I guess Jesus took the wheel from there and kept these kids safe…(they have crosses on every wall but left broken glass in kids play area?!)

The second photo was taken on the day we moved in.

There were so many things staying in between this patio and our dream backyard experience – the broken backdoor, the rusted window well, leaky facets, the sinking patio, the ugly awning, the broken grill, the dirty floor mat, the wooden pole (for tie their dog onto), the plastic furniture, and that satellite dish on the roof whose cable went into every room in the house…

We rolled up our sleeves … (it was over 90 degrees and we wear T-shirts to work – there was no sleeve to roll up)… and jumped in with both feet … (cannot do that either. The patio was uneven and we would have broken our ankles). Slav removed the weird dog pole, removed the metal awning, replaced the back storm door, and took down the satellite dish. We also replaced the old electrical panel and added a new outdoor outlet. The electrical work raised the incoming electrical wires higher, which was a nice bonus.

The Progress

Fast forward to the morning of patio demo day, the back of the house looked like this:


Much. Cleaner.

Then the demo happened, and things looked a little worse for a while.


We took the opportunity to replaced the old window well which would be enclosed into the new patio:


Soon enough, the concrete was poured. And the waiting game began. We had to water the concrete twice a day for four days and wait for it to cure. But after what seemed to be forever, our back patio is open for business!


And I meant business:



Isn’t it neat? With a 34′ x 10′ footprint, we are hoping to set up an outdoor grilling/dining area, an seating/fire pit area, and lots and lots of planters. Oh the planters – I cannot wait to build them!

The Seating Options

I started thinking about patio seating as soon as we settled on the patio design. Down the road, we would like to have an outdoor sectional with a fire pit in the middle, a dining table/bench combination, and a couple lounge chairs. But right now for two people, all we need is a couple chairs that are not camping chairs. For a while, I was considering IKEA KUNGSHOLMEN:

Pair with the HALLO cushions and pillows:


They look lovely, but the price tag is a bit higher than we would like to spend at this stage. We still have soooo much to do to other parts of the house, $90 a chair feels like a lot right now. Nevertheless, we checked them out on our recent trip to IKEA, just to see how comfortable they would be. When we were in line for check-out, I wandered off to the AS-IS section. Guess what I found in the fabric bin?


Discounted HALLO cushions and pillows! There was nothing wrong with them – they were 60% off just for being floor display pieces! I could not grab them fast enough.

So the first day after our concrete was ready, out outdoor seating area looked like this:


Good enough. We actually laid on them one night watching the night sky. These cushions provided a lot of support, very comfortable to touch, and kept us cool.

I was thinking then we could build some patio furniture according to the size of these cushions, a project down the line. The next day, we stopped by the Habitat for Humanity store in Littleton, something we do periodically. This store is not the closest H for H to our home, but it has the best collections of furniture. And we saw these:


A pair of wooded chairs in awesome condition. They gave out just the right amount of the cabin vibe, and they were $15 each. The cushions on them were gross, but they were the exactly same size as the HALLO cushions and pillows we already had! It felt so meant-to-be.

We still need an outdoor table. The small drum we had there is too precious to stay outdoor. But it felt sooo good already sitting here and watch Slav grill. He made one of the best burgers I’ve ever had today! After non-stop demoing and dust for a months and a half, we are so happy to have a finished and clean space to relax in the evening. It feels so rejuvenating.


And it just felt so good to go from this…


to this!


Do you have a back patio/porch? What kind of patio furniture do you use? Any furniture recommendations? We are still looking for an outdoor sectional and a fire pit. If you have a favorite, do tell!