Tag Archives | patio

Patio Progress

It seems like most people get to enjoy their patios during the summer: backyard BBQs, pool parties, eating al fresco… This is not the case in Houston. We face temperatures in the upper 90’s most of the day, and when that sun finally goes down there are mosquitos galore. So unless you like being sweaty and/or bitten, summer down here is not prime patio time.

But fall. Fall is AMAZING. Fall is when we dust off the fire pit, bust out the projector (we use this one and LOVE it), and binge on Fixer Upper out in the crisp air. There’s nothing better.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

So in honor of it finally starting to cool off in Texas, we’d like to walk through our patio updates, which we haven’t shared much of on the blog. When we first introduced it to our backyard, it looked a little something like this.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

It’s come a long way, but we’ve still kept it pretty simple out here. The first thing was did was order some LED globe string lights (three sets to be exact, so you can see what that amount looks like on our 280 sqft patio as an example).

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

We hung them using quick links that we hooked into eye hooks on our house, and into zip lines on our trees. Using the links made it easier to take down the lights or move them if necessary (since you can just unlock the links instead of having to unscrew or detach anything). There are probably about a hundred different ways you could attach these lights, this is just how we did it. They’ve held up well for a year now!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

The thing we love most about these lights, aside from the fact that they’re LEDs, is that the bulbs are plastic – meaning you don’t have to worry about them breaking if they get knocked around. This saved our butts when the storm ripped our gutter off the house and took the lights with it. It was a bad situation, but would have been way worse with broken glass everywhere.

We also got this timer for the lights. They come on automatically at dusk and you can set them to stay on for 4 hours, 6 hours, etc. Since they’re energy efficient, we love that we can have them light up every night. They’re pretty even from the inside.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Even though they’re LEDs they have a pretty warm glow. Not straight up incandescent warm, but still very cozy :)

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Next up on our list was to create a secondary seating area. Spoiler alert: we found wicker lounge chairs and you can see them in the photo above. Even though we already had chairs to gather around the fire pit, space to chill and read sounded nice too. The problem is that outdoor lounge chairs can get expensive! Also, we didn’t want cushions because this space isn’t covered and it rains a lot – even outdoor cushions get gross. So we were limited to cushion-less chairs.

After lots of online shopping around we finally found these. Two wicker lounge chairs that looked nice, stored well, and were less than $350 for the pair?? Yes please (and thanks mom and dad!)

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

We also got a couple of these cute teal side tables from Target that add a nice bit of color to a mostly neutral patio. We have one between the lounge chairs, and the other in the fire pit seating area.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Last we added some plants. Some have thrived. Some have… not thrived haha. The cement gray planter and taller black planter are from Target, the shorter black planter is from Home Depot (some of these aren’t showing up as available online anymore). FYI, these plants are plumeria, aka the plants lei flowers come from. Apparently they do well in Houston!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Well there you have it! This is where we are on the patio so far. We know this may not be the fanciest patio… but darn it we love it. Can’t wait til it’s chilly enough to light a fire!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

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Gut(ter) Reaction

Welp. Today’s post was supposed to be about how we’ve continued to update our patio. About how we bought some more furniture and lights on our path to turn it from just functional to functional AND pretty. Then we woke up to find it NOT functional and definitely NOT pretty.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com Yep. Not something you want to see as you’re headed out the door for work. A big storm blew through last night and knocked off over 20 feet of our gutter, bending it at a weak point and taking our fascia (the wood trim that caps off the ends of your rafters) with it. And it broke a strand of my lights darn it!

So yeah, not exactly the patio update we were planning on sharing with you guys… BUT the good news is we are earning +10 home exterior DIY skill points and we get to share what we’ve learned with you. Lesson #1: clean your gutters.

The other good news is I’m going to write this post as we go, so as of now as I’m typing, we are still in progress. Dunno how it’s gonna turn out yet. Kinda scary, kinda exciting, but we are all in this together!

Day 1:

So before we could leave for work, we had to address the 6 inch tall, 20+ foot long hole leading into our attic. You can see it in the photo above right under our roof line. We didn’t want rain getting it wet or squirrels letting themselves in, so we set to cover it up with plastic tarp til we could fully deal with it.

As we climbed up to take a closer look at the hole, we realized that the still-attached part of the gutter was starting to pull away too so we decided to cut off the detached piece (in retrospect we maybe shouldn’t have cut it since it may have been salvageable, we’re not sure though). We couldn’t find our flashing clippers so Evan grabbed his saw zaw. Then that died so we grabbed our jigsaw. Lesson #2: owning the right tools is great, but if you can’t find em or they’re not charged, they aren’t any good.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com By the time Evan got it cut he was covered in gutter juice.

2016-03-24 (1) But at least we didn’t have this hanging from our house anymore:

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com Next we put up a strip of plastic tarp with a few quick tacks from our staple gun, called it a morning, and headed to work, leaving our patio looking like a war zone.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com After work Evan swung by Home Depot to get supplies and then pulled off the remaining few feet of gutter that was still attached to the house. Now that we had a clean slate, we could replace our fascia. Having a big hole running into our attic was no bueno, so our goal was to install new fascia by the end of the night. Since at this point we didn’t even know what fascia was (we’d just been calling it “siding under our roof”), we weren’t too hopeful haha.

2016-03-25 (2) But before we could add anything new, we needed to figure out what was going on with the hot mess we left behind.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com We just decided that anything that didn’t seem structurally sound we would cut off. Seems logical right? And here’s Evan using hedge clippers to trim the flashing above the wood. Still couldn’t find those metal clippers so we used what we had haha.

IMG_7498 Once we had all the bad stuff off we could start adding the new stuff. Time for power tools!

IMG_7503 IMG_7510 We saw that the existing boards were cut at 45 degrees so we did the same with our new boards. One at a time, we lined them up along the roof line and screwed in at every rafter tail. In the photo below you can see the hole into our attic and the rafter tails peeking out. And oh hi there soffit vent chutes, we remember installing you and almost stabbing our heads with roofing nails.

IMG_7504 So I held up the board on one end while Evan screwed it in on the other. Once we got a couple screws in I could let go and get the next piece ready.

When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com We noticed that under the old gutters there was a 1 inch thick piece of trim acting as a spacer between the top of the fascia and the gutter, so Evan had also picked up some trim on his Home Depot trip. It was getting dark at this point but you can sorta see the trim along the top of the board in the photo below after we screwed it in.

2016-03-24 (4) We were luckily able to finish our goal of replacing the fascia by the end of the night! It’s hard to see much in the photo, but it sure looks good to us :)

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Day 2:

With the hole to our attic officially closed off, we could sleep easy. The next day we hit our fascia with primer, caulk, and paint to really seal the deal. We read somewhere online that sometimes primer can help caulk stick to wood so we decided to do the primer first. We used Zinnser Cover Stain primer, which felt nice and solid.

IMG_7514 As the primer dried, I was on caulk duty. We used the same Dap Alex latex caulk from when we patched our siding out front and it worked just fine.

IMG_7518 After letting it dry for a couple hours, it was time to paint! I took first paint shift and thought it would be cool to take painting selfies. #shouldbeholdingontothatladder

2016-03-25 (4) When our gutter was ripped off, how we fixed our fascia boards - evanandkatelyn.com Then Evan got out there for shift 2 of painting. All in all this was the easy part so we don’t have too many photos. But we are super excited because now we are DONE with replacing the fascia, woooo!

IMG_7521 Just need to power wash the patio. And put up our lights. Oh yeah and add gutters! Well we can at least do one of those three things tonight.

IMG_7524 IMG_7528 We still need to do more research to see if we want to tackle installing gutters ourselves or hire it out. Looks like it’s not terribly complicated to DIY, but the downside of DIY-ing it is that you have to buy gutters in smaller sections (which is weaker) instead of getting a seamless run from a professional. So we will keep you guys posted! For now, it feels good to just not having a gaping hole leading to our attic. Have a great weekend guys!

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Patio! Finally!

Do you guys remember wayyyyyy back when we first bought the house and wrote a couple big lists of all the projects we still wanted to tackle? Let’s take a moment to throw our heads back and laugh at those lists. Ha! Hahahaha! Most of that stuff never happened.

IMG_0812 copy BUT there is one thing that did happen. One BIG thing. We upgraded our patio y’all!

20151108_103834 You may remember our teeny patio of yore. It was about 10ft x 10ft and had sunk several inches into the ground over its 38 year lifespan (we’re prettttttty sure it’s original to the house. It was in that bad of shape). It was barely enough space for a grill and a couple fold out chairs.

IMG_0813 We naively thought that we would someday bust it up ourselves and lay a new patio like true DIY-ers. We even bought a sledgehammer for that very purpose and went as far as taking a practice swing. We should have listened to Evan’s mom in the clip below.

Thinking we had done enough work for that day, we hung up the sledgehammer. And the patio stayed as is for almost 3 years.

Along the way, my parents gave us their old fire pit and we squeezed that onto the small space. Then we scored 6 free curbside patio chairs a neighbor was getting rid of and things got really crowded. Like can’t-even-walk-back-there-without-banging-a-shin crowded. So-bad-we-never-took-a-photo crowded.

20150913_175341 We held off on upgrading the patio for years because we weren’t sure how much we would actually use it (Houston weather is humid 60% of the time, all the time). But for some reason, getting these free chairs spurred us into action. Probably because with their addition, it was really pretty impossible to get around, and our options were either get rid of them or finally commit to something we’ve kinda been wanting to do anyway for years. Commitment it is!

First we had to figure out what we wanted. We knew we wanted concrete instead of pavers since it’s quicker and cheaper, and we didn’t mind the clean look of it. But having concrete means you can’t pour over any important lines buried under your yard. (Pavers are different because they can be pulled up individually if necessary). So we called the utility companies to come out and mark where our lines were. They spray painted but it was hard to see so I photoshopped the lines in.

IMG_1361 copy We decided to expand away from the house as far as we could (up to the edge of the gas line), go almost the neighbors fence back there, and almost to where our gutter drains (didn’t want to deal with drainage issues) . This gave us a pretty solid working area.

We called a guy we found on Angie’s list, he met us the next morning to give us a quote, and by that afternoon we pulled the trigger and he and his team got started ripping the old patio up. Can you believe there was about 6 inches of concrete buried into the ground? That’s how much it had sunk over the years!

IMG_7873 He texted me pics throughout the day of the progress they were making. I don’t think I’ve ever stared at my phone so much waiting for a text (except maybe when Evan and I first started text-flirting back in the day).

New patio! evanandkatelyn.com Usually I have little pangs of doubt when we decide to hire out a job instead of DIY it ourselves. But look at all this stuff that was hauled out of our yard. No more doubt here.

IMG_7879 By the next day we had a finished patio!

New patio! evanandkatelyn.com Crazy to think that such a big change can happen in just a couple days!! We basically tripled our patio square footage!

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20151108_103834 We’ve since taken a few steps to pretty it up, but this post is already getting long so we’ll save those updates for another day! For now, please excuse us while we dance around our patio simply because we ACTUALLY HAVE THE SPACE TO DO SO! :D

New patio! evanandkatelyn.com Oh and what’s that ladder doing out there you ask? That’s news for another post! :)

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Wedding Mode: Activated

I’ve been a terrible blog-mother. I have shoved our little creation into the closet under the stairs and neglected it for almost two weeks!

Things have been 100% wedding and work over here. I’m almost at my 6-months-til-the-wedding mark so I am getting. sh*t. done. Unfortunately, that means house projects have been put on hold for a while until I feel like I get a handle on things.

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After all the vendors and logistics are in order, I’ll be tackling lots and lots of wedding DIY projects. But I’ve decided not to share a most of them on the blog until after the wedding because I realized I don’t want to give all the surprises away before the big day. But after the I do’s are exchanged, get ready for an all out wedding project EXPLOSION.

Also we decided to use this time to get stuff done on the house that we were planning to hire out anyway. So it’s still productive, just not 100% DIY. First on the list is… our patio!!!

IMG_0812 copy

We are thinking about going with concrete for a more modern and geometric feel, kinda like this. Also, we thought pavers would be more expensive and time consuming. You guys have any thoughts on the concrete vs pavers debate? Most of what I’ve found online compares pavers to stamped concrete, which isn’t what we want, but it’s hard to find opinions on straight up concrete. Thanks!!

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