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September 16, 2015

Outdoor Patio Space Makeover

This past June I had a wonderful time spending almost two weeks with my mother and brother when they traveled to Florida for a relaxing getaway.  Little did my mom know the yard work that was ahead.  Just to make it clear, it was her idea to work in 95 degree weather for several hours a day {with the daily thunderstorm}.  Some people read, go to the beach, or enjoy a glass of wine to relax.  My mom does yard work and I’m forever thankful she passed that passion down to me!  That is what leads me to our outdoor patio space makeover.

Playing in the Florida rain.

My husband and I knew that we had a corner patio in our backyard that we thought was the shape of a square.   To my surprise this space was much bigger than what we thought and ended up being a bell shaped patio after a little cleaning up and digging around it one afternoon.  My mom loved it!  Me? Not so much.

Patio Space Makeover

Patio space before

The bricks were in perfect condition and the kind you can’t buy at Lowe’s and Home Depot anymore.  I waited until my mom left to dig up the patio and sent her the following image with one word: “whoops”.

The process of building a new patio.

My mom thought we were crazy for digging up the existing bricks only to place them back down.  We had a vision and we were running with it!

Here’s a video of our progress from the beginning to end of making over our patio for a quick glimpse before we get into all of the details:

We created a herringbone pattern which also meant cutting a lot of bricks down to custom sizes.  We knew we wouldn’t be cutting brick after creating this patio so went old school.  By we, I really mean Ryan!

Chiseling bricks to fit in a herringbone patterned patio.

Herringbone design patio

We went through a lot of trial and errors that we will do differently next time.  Of course, if there is a next time with this type of patio.  We got a lot of our materials at Home Depot and Lowe’s.  For our next patio directly behind our house we will probably be going to a local nursery to get supplies in bulk.

Shopping at lowe's for materials to build a new patio.

We were thrilled when the bricks were all finally placed after working on the patio for two full weekends.  We brushed sand between the bricks and applied polymeric sand to seal the bricks (turns into a concrete type substance once water is applied).

Here’s the deal though: I will never use polymeric sand again!  If you take any tips away from this DIY patio, this is the advice to follow!  It was a major lesson learned for Ryan and I.  After applying this product and sweeping and using a leaf blower to remove the excess polymeric sand from the top, a disaster occurred. Our beautiful vintage bricks were all of a sudden stained with concrete.  Talk about crying.  You can see in the image below the white areas where the bricks were stained.  I believe I stomped my feet and jumped up and down a many times.

How to stain bricks on a patio.

I immediately researched how to fix this problem.  Many blogs and websites recommended scrubbing, using a power washer, or that I was simply out of luck.  I had an ‘aha moment’ after remembering how we painted our front concrete porch and screened in patio.  I knew there was transparent stain for concrete in red and that is exactly what I decided to do.  I stained all 750 bricks while being careful not to get the stain in the cracks.  It’s unbelievable the difference it made!

before and after of staining bricks.

Staining bricks for a clean look.

Then work suddenly came to a halt on our patio project.  While we were dancing the night away at a friend’s wedding, a severe thunderstorm came through our town resulting in a tree falling in our yard.  And you guessed it.  Right in our new patio area.  We were very fortunate that the tree didn’t land on the brick but delayed us from continuing work for about a week.

Thunderstorms in Florida

 Cleaning up the patio space.

Once the city removed the tree, we spent two full days pulling up weeds, roots, vines, buried bricks, old pipes, and tree stumps from around the patio.  One thing that I’ve learned about living in Florida: vines are everywhere, ruthless, and so hard to get rid of!  Hoping that we controlled them around our patio area after all the hard work {only time will tell}.  We also placed landscaping fabric around the patio as a precaution.

Landscaping around a patio.

We’ve added more landscaping since this picture to our outdoor patio space {refer to the first picture in this post}.  We are hoping in the coming years to have a tiered shrubs to add depth and simplicity to this space.

New outdoor patio

There is so much more to be done to this space {pillows, lights, and outdoor decor}, but we wanted to share all that we have gotten accomplished so far!  Working through high temperatures, drinking gallons of water, pure heavy lifting, working in the rain, and placing down and painting 750 bricks, we have a new patio with new landscaping. It’s not for the faint of heart but enjoyed every second of this process.  Will we build another patio out of brick? Probably not.  We will try another patio with bigger stones?  Absolutely!  If you have any questions on our exact process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your own outdoor patio space makeover!  Have a screened in patio space?  Take a look at ours after a weekend long makeover:  Patio Space Makeover. 

Ariel shot of a patio before.

Ariel shot of a patio after.

Let’s keep in touch!

We have a brand new community over on Facebook, House & Home, where we’ll be chatting, sharing, and helping one another when it comes to home decor and projects. Come join us! Check it out here.

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  1. Ann McGlone says:

    I know this is an older post but any chance you remember what you used to stain bricks?

  2. […] wood, purchased the citronella candles, and gathered the outdoor lights to start enjoying our new outdoor patio space with the cooler weather that is finally arriving here in Central Florida.  I realized a few weeks […]

  3. Gina says:

    That patio looks fantastic! I never would have known about the polymeric sand. I don’t have outdoor space yet to have a patio. But, I will keep this in mind for when I do! 🙂 I found you on the Think Creative Collective Facebook group.


    • ElizabethRishel says:

      Thank you so much Gina! The polymeric sand might work better for others, but I will for sure find an alternative next time. Love that you traveled over to my blog from the Think Creative Collective group. Can’t wait to dive into your blog!

  4. renee says:

    The patio is the coolest! And you house is beautiful!!

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