Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

The Poor Man's Patio

A photo of Nebraska DaveThose that I have hung out with over the past year have heard me refer to the Poor Man’s Patio. This blog entry will explain what that is and how it came to be. It all started with a desire to improve the curb appeal for my house. Many years ago I planted a Spring garden by the front door. Colorful flowers including Crocus, Tulip, Daffodil, and Iris made the display spectacular during the spring weeks. As spring moved closer to summer the vibrant display would begin to wane, droop, and finally die. The dead carcasses from the once terrific display slowly became a weed patch as time moved into the dog days of summer. Something definitely had to be done.

The weed patch that once was flowers

With a plan in my head and shovel in hand the Poor Man’s Patio construction began. Through the summer weeks and into the fall weather, sweat dripped, dirt moved, and massive rocks were excavated. Neither wind nor rain nor hot weather would stop construction for long. Ok, yeah, well, don’t listen to the neighbors that would tell I you I sat on those rocks drinking coffee more than working. That wasn’t me that was my twin brother. Oh, wait, I don’t have a twin. Well, just don’t listen to the neighbors, OK? I was working when they weren’t looking.

A rock pile, or the patio in progress

Then with excavation nearing completion sights were set on the building of the retaining wall. Massive blocks were hauled in the little truck that could, my Ford Ranger, who I affectionately call Ranger Rick (Ricky for short). Shhhhhh, he doesn’t know he’s just a little truck. OK, you got me on that one they were only 50 pounds each, and we, Ricky and I, only hauled 10 at a time. I’d like to think that I was trying to give Ricky a break, but the real reason just might have been to give Old Nebraska Dave a break. Whew, all this talking about work is making me think about taking a break.

Wall construction begins

Finally the actual construction of the wall began. I’d like to say this went more quickly but the foundation of any project is the key to success, and, well, then there are the breaks with coffee drinking. I do like breaks, and I do like coffee, so there might have been just a few of those along the way. Ah, OK, there were a lot of those along the way. I had to make sure that I drank enough fluids. Right?

Wall construction continues...

Finally after a week or two ... or three ... maybe even four, and 137 coffee breaks later, some real progress has been made. Did I mention that I really like breaks and coffee? Now that the first few feet of the wall is completed progress can begin on the rest of the wall. Um, well, that will be right after I take a break.

Dave sawing patio blocks

On the occasions that I wasn’t on break actual progress began to take place. The main retaining wall was completed, and the main patio began to take shape. You might wonder why I named it the Poor Man’s Patio. It was because instead of using real bricks I used 16 inch square colored cement patio blocks that were imprinted to look like bricks and thus much cheaper. Toward the completion of the project the patio blocks had to be cut and shaped to fit the rounded wall. The trusty old (and I mean old) Black and Decker saw outfitted with a diamond saw blade cut the shape of each finishing block.

The finished Poor Man's Patio

After the completion of the patio I had to put a bench to, yes you guessed it, take a coffee break. I renamed the patio and now it’s known as the “Poor Man’s Living Patio.” Well, I think the coffee’s done, so I’ll be taking a break now. Keep your back to the wind, your powder dry, and I’ll catch up with you on the next blog.