Every year, I try to take on one big garden project. A few years ago, the project was a round patio, designed to accommodate a dining table we’d purchased. Our backyard was already set up as a series of outdoor rooms, but adding this new “floor” was transformative. The beautiful stone surface added a sense of permanence to the changing scene.
Last year, we got a set of Champlain Furniture, a kind of outdoor seating that has extra-deep, comfortable cushions—almost like a living room set. The furniture actually transforms the space into a living room, especially when the plants grow tall and enclose the space. But, with two chairs and a coffee table, there was no room for the dining table. Time for another patio, the “big project” for 2007.
I started the project in the fall. The goal was to create a 150-sq. ft. patio using natural stone that comes from the region. I was lucky enough to get some beautiful stone from across the lake in New York state. The site I chose is in a corner of the yard where I had to take out a diseased linden tree. The irregularly shaped patio is sort of oblong, perfect for a dining table.
Using all the available daylight hours on a series of weekends, I excavated the site, hauled away the soil, replaced it with gravel base, and set the final stones in a layer of rock dust. By the time I set the final stones, the ground was beginning to freeze; within days, the patio was covered in two inches of snow.
We’re still waiting to have the first dinner on the new patio, but you can be sure we’ll be out there on the first fine day of spring.