When Meghan moved in to my condo (aka "The Dungeon") three and a half years ago, she did so knowing that she was giving up one of her favorite places to relax an unwind at the end of the day or start her morning off with a cup of coffee--her balcony. If I had been renting my place at the time, I'm sure she would have coaxed me into looking for someplace new, where we could both fit, that also had some sort of easy access to outdoor space. Because I had bought my place prior to us meeting, she happily (reluctantly) gave up her place to move in with the man she was going to marry.
She's done an excellent job putting up with my black-out blinds and propensity for liking a little more privacy than not (we were at street level after all). Now, I've looked around and I can't seem to find a contract anywhere stating such, but I'm pretty sure it was understood--spoken or not--that I would one day give her a place where she could spend as much time as she wanted outdoors, without always having to drive to a park to get there. Where she could spend hours on end reading books, getting her daily dose of Vitamin D, and now, playing in the grass with our triplet babies.
In between doing the woodwork inside the house and having my appendix removed, I put in a patio and firepit in the backyard. Ok, ok. I didn't really put it in, but it was definitely my idea, including the design, stone, and color selections. My contractor had a five-man crew here for four straight days. If I would've put it in, well, let's just say Meg would probably be sitting in a half-excavated backyard for at least a few more years. Life is short. You might as well enjoy every minute that you can. Some things are worth waiting for. My friends, this patio wasn't one of them.
It doesn't do any good to have a nice patio if you're looking at brown grass. So, next up is a sprinkler system, which will be going in during the first week of June. This will be another thing that I outsource. I'm trying to get better at deciding when it's worth it for me to do something and when it's more effective, from both a cost and time perspective, to allow others who do these tasks for a living, to take over and do it the right way the first time. With triplet girls on the way, I can only imagine that I'll be forced to start making these types of decisions on a daily basis because, knowing me, there will probably just never feel as if there's enough time.
Here are the rest of the before and after pics of the patio creation. Now we need some furniture!