Sun. Jul 5th, 2020

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

D.I.Y Man Stuff: Patio, Retaining Wall, Pillars…Get to Work

2 min read

Over the summer and into fall I decided I would like a flat area in the front yard, a retaining wall, and a new patio. With the vines as a ground cover, it REALLY attracted snakes. Especially since we live off the water. I killed over 3 dozen snakes the first year we moved in, mostly copperhead, ring neck, black snakes, rat snakes etc.

I didn’t calculate the price tag on the retaining wall correctly what-so ever but the patio and rebuilding the columns came in cheap. I had zero masonry/carpentry skills and went with the power of google as usual to get this done. I bought tools as I need them but it didn’t require too much, mostly tons of labor.

The bottom of the pillars were rotted out from Virginia humidity over time so I rebuilt them with PVC, sealed them up, and are now ready to paint.

It was also a problem that we live on a good size slope, water always ran down hill into our house so we needed a good flat area for drainage.

I wanted a slate stone patio but needed durability and more consistency in grey color (wife imposed). So porcelain tile was the answer. Porcelain tile was too thin for the footsteps so I mortared stoned to the bottoms on those.

If you ever want to build a patio and want to save money doing it yourself, trust me, if I can do it… you should get started tomorrow. For taller retaining walls and with lighting installed, I recommend scouting contractors for quotes unless you have some serious time to commit. Then again it depends on what style of wall you want. Either way, the sooner you start working the sooner it’ll be over to enjoy!


Before: Snake heaven with ground cover…


Started with a pick lol… ended up excavating and getting some contractors for brickwork.



Had some Army Rangers come over to help mix/pour some concrete. I started with a small step then changed my mind.


Under the patio were snake nests, I back filled the holes with expanding foam and chopped the snakes as they ran out.





Scraping moss from then driveway to transplant….


Porcelain to thin, attaching stone to base…


Picture2                                                                                                                                                               20170115_142236



We still have snakes every once and awhile but nowhere near what it use to be.

Our electricians found this one in their tools.


excavate done




Once I set the walkway stones in the ground and spring comes with the grass growing back it’s going to look pretty good!

Patio, concrete, pillars, +grass was well under 2k total, …the retaining wall, lets not talk about that one.

I’m sorry kids, you can’t go to college but go check out that sweet wall!