Landscape & Hardscape Ideas

Do-It-Yourself Hardscaping™ Project Story: New Providence NJ

We were amazed when Seth Netter, EP Henry’s sales rep for Northern NJ, sent us these DIY patio pictures. This 850 s.f. patio, with EP Henry Fire Pit Kit, was excavated and installed by the homeowners (along with two very good friends, Tina and Tracy Toribio) themselves.We just had to find out how they were motivated to undertake this not-so-small DIY project. So we called and spoke with homeowner Linda Haines to find out more about this project, and how they accomplished it.(Image to left: Homeowner Linda Haines digs right in when it’s time to demolish the old patio.)

Linda: My husband is an engineer, but no, he’s not in construction. We’re just two people that really like the challenge of projects like this. We happen to find it very satisfying to work on home improvement projects. Not to mention, we’re lucky enough to have good friends who feel the same way!

EPH: Are you or your husband in a construction trade?

EPH: So I take it that you’ve tackled other home improvement projects.

Linda: Yes, we’ve knocked down walls to open up our downstairs floor plan. I totally re-did my daughter’s room, including removing bead board and finding wall paper underneath. Things like hanging dry wall or patching a wall isn’t really a big deal for me.

EPH: Was it just the two of you?

Linda: No, we had help from a couple that are our friends. We’ve done other projects together as a team, so we knew that if we just consistently worked on it, eventually it would get done.

EPH: How long did this take to complete the project?

Linda: We started excavating in April. It was a pretty rainy spring, so it was stop and start at first. We just kept working on it whenever we could and made progress week by week. Other people may have hired someone to do this for them, and that’s great if you want to have it completed in a week or so, but we weren’t in a big rush to get it done. So even though it took us 6 months to do, we just kept moving forward. The progress was slow at first, but it was there, so it kept us going. We took our time so we could get it right.

EPH: When you wanted to re-do the back patio, was it always your plan to have pavers and walls installed?

Linda: Yes, we had a small 200 s.f. cement slab back there, with areas that just wouldn’t grow grass; but what we really wanted was an outdoor room. We didn’t feel that just adding more cement or a deck would give us a true living space. We wanted the new space to feel like it had a “floor”.  The walls give it the “room” feel.

EPH: What made you decide on EP Henry pavers and walls?

Linda: I visited Hall’s Garden Center and looked at all of the samples. I knew that EP Henry had a good reputation, so it came down to really loving the colors and textures compared to other pavers. Kenny and Brian were a huge help and gave me sample pavers to take home. It happened to rain that weekend, so when I saw how they looked wet and we liked them just as much, Kevin and I knew that these were the ones that we wanted.

EPH: How did you make your selections, as far as the paver style, color, and pattern?

Linda: We have a yellow home and we wanted something that complemented it. I felt that the Bristol Stone I and II pavers along with the Coventry™ Wall III in the Harvest Blend went great with my home. We liked the orange, red, and tan colors in the pavers and how they complimented the wall stone.

EPH: How did you learn how to install pavers?

Linda: My friend’s husband has some knowledge. Other than that, we learned on the job. We knew the basic principles and had some trial and error moments too. There were was an instance where I had to spend half a day taking pavers back up because the grade was off. We had to move sand around to get it right. It was very labor intensive.

EPH: Did you run into any major obstacles?

Linda: Our biggest challenge was that the property is heavily wooded, so getting large equipment back there was not an option. We had to do a lot by hand that could have been done much easier using machinery.

We did have an issue with cutting the sprinkler system line when we were excavating; but other than that, not really.

Oh, and we struggled a bit with the change in elevation in the wall. The yard is sloped and uneven so we had to work out how to get the wall to stay level across the yard.

EPH: Was there ever a point where you regretted undertaking this project?

Linda: No, never. We’re thrilled with the results and we are so glad that we did this. We love the patio and broke the fire pit in this weekend.

EPH: So what’s the next project you plan to do?

Linda: For now, we have some left over pavers so I may put a small path in on the side of the house. Or, my daughter wants a vegetable garden so maybe I can use them for a raised bed. After that, I owe our friends who helped us, so it’ll be whatever home improvement project they want to do. Yes, they are thinking a new patio.


EP Henry Products used in this amazing DIY project:

Bristol Stone I and II Golden Maple

Coventry® Wall III Harvest Blend

DevonStone® wall caps

EP Henry Fire Pit Kit

Bullnose Pavers Charcoal

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