The evening sun patio was something we discussed often over the past few years. The sun would start to dip behind the ancient neighbouring pines revealing one final corner of the garden, bathed in that perfect evening glow…
The previous owners knew it too because the corner was already home to a small raised patio (you can see it here) – truth be told it was more of a step but we used to park our behinds on that hard step, leaning into the last sliver of the summer day and dream of something a bit more comfortable – a space to sink into with friends and family and live that Scottish summer to the max.
Finally pen met paper and the first sketch was born.
We took a week off work, ordered materials and set to it full of motivation… a nice segway into the first of the three most asked questions I want to address here – how long did it take, how much did it cost and was it worth it.
Scroll down for the answers…
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE?
It was April 2021 and the first day of our week long holiday. Filled with the kind of optimism only known to complete DIY amateurs, we were already smiling smugly that the forecast was good for the coming weekend when we would be reclining on our newly finished patio. Sunday rolled around, however, and we were toasting our progress on the lawn next to a giant pile of mud studded with concrete support posts. Spoiler: it took longer than we thought.
Start to finish the project took three months.
We dug holes, I measured (for only women have the patience for planning and measuring), we sawed and sanded and watched many online video tutorials and drilled and hammered, undid and redid the bits we got wrong along the way and painted and wheelbarrowed and planted every evening when the tinies went to bed, often by torchlight and doused in midge repellant. By week three we had reached this stage after approximately forty man hours… each.
Finding the energy to get out into the garden night after night after night was tough but, when one of us was feeling particularly unenthusiastic the other tended to find that motivation. We soldiered on. And on. And on. An hour or two each night, six nights a week plus a couple of hours each weekend afternoon whilst the tiniest napped and eventually, six weeks later we had steps and a retaining flowerbed and planting.
Momentum slowed slightly then, at the end of May, but finally we knocked together the built in seating in a week (again working solely evenings and weekends) and then eventually, at the end of July I collected the beautiful Bluebellgray gingham upholstered cushions from The Foam Centre in Glasgow and project patio was COMPLETE.
So, how long did it take? I estimate 100 hours each, 200 total. Wow.
HOW MUCH DID IT COST?
The reality was that, with the house extension being put on the back burner for another year or two due to spiralling construction and material costs, we decided to focus our efforts on the garden. I reached out to four different landscape architects, brimming with my own ideas and excited to see what they would bring to the table. Well, they were busy. Like, so busy nobody ever made it round to quote. So, honestly, I have very little idea what this might have cost had we hired professionals but I am confident it would have been more.
For reference the patio is 4.8m x 2.4m (not including the flowerbeds and steps which add approximately 6ocm in each direction) whilst the seating measures 2.8m x 1.8m.
I like to look at what we gained rather than what it cost – it was not exactly a DIY bargain but, when I put the feelers out, this was the most asked question so I’ll break it down for you…
Raised patio and pergola*
£450 (timber, postcrete, screws, nails)
£80 (car windscreen, yep… timber transportation rookie mistake)
£137 (brackets, gravel, weed fabrics, pegs, paint)
£37.60 (spade, screws, pergola brackets)
£60 (more screws, steel rods)
£300 (sub base, sand, pebbles)
£60 (remove old stump, saw two log coffee tables)
£176 (hydrangea incl. established climbing, lupins, stipa tenuissima)
£33 (trailing lobelia, buxus)
*We already had a wheelbarrow, this electric drill driver with various bits, a saw, paintbrushes, hammer and we borrowed an electric sander.
Built in seating
£450 (timber, nails)
My wonderful friend Fi (after whom this blog is in fact named) kindly sent me 10m metres of her gorgeous gingham fabric for the project
THE FOAM CENTRE
£479.74 (foam & upholstery)
A note on costs… we could have done it cheaper. We could have built a timber deck rather than filling the patio with five tonnes of rubble and sand. We could have bought patio furniture for less. BUT you could drive a truck over this patio and it will not budge, the seating is just the perfect size and shape for the space and the cushions are pure luxury – so wonderfully overstuffed I have nowhere to store them (meh, trivialities).
WAS IT WORTH IT?
One hundred percent yes. This space fills us with joy – a little slice of holiday heaven right in our back garden. We have spent glorious, sun filled, late afternoons here watching the tinies splash in the paddling pool on the lawn, balmy summer evenings sipping on sundowners with family and friends and those rare, intensely hot, heatwave days reclining under the dappled shade of the trees listening to the birdsong.
It is everything we dreamed of (just like the sketch) and more and looking at the slightly mismatched corners and those roughly sawn edges gives a feeling of satisfaction that only someone who spent one hundred hours of their life creating something can truly appreciate.
This post contains affiliate links and gifts
gingham large indigo fabric – bluebellgray (ready made cushions too)
custom seat pads & uphostery – The Foam Centre
timber – MGM Timber
ducks back black outdoor paint – Cuprinol
moray beach pebbles – J W Grant
top & skirt – Seraphina London (old)
bracelets – Astley Clarke
dress – Seraphina London (old)