Maximize Outdoor Living

We have big plans for Justin and Leah’s small patio.The couple’s house has a spacious backyard where their four young children can play.However, “I think the backyard is big, but the patio is not laid out very well,” Leah says. “We feel cramped in there.”

Justin wants to have a better-defined area for outdoor entertaining.

With that mind, Danny and Chelsea set their projects.

Patio cracks
Cracks in a patio’s paved floor are common, Danny says, but there’s a way to make the slab look almost new.

Repairing the Patio’s Cracks

Cracks in a patio’s paved floor are common, Danny says, but there’s a way to make that floor look almost new.
First, clean all the debris from the floor’s crevices. Then, use concrete resurfacer to repair the cracks and coat the patio.
For cracks, we use a trowel to force the material into the voids and smooth out the surface. Next, we pour the resurfacer over the entire patio and use a rubber squeegee to apply it evenly.
As the material thickens, Danny drags a broom across the surface to give it a skid-resistant finish.

Phantom Screens
Justin and Leah’s 6-foot opening is protected by screens that disappear completely when not in use.

Adding Retractable Screens

French doors leading into Justin and Leah’s home will receive Phantom Screens. These retractable screens, which are installed inside the doors, will allow the couple to get a nice breeze and blur the outdoor and indoor spaces.
The low-profile system we used mounts on the inside; two units meet in the middle so the whole 6-foot opening is protected by a screen that disappears completely when not in use.

This brick wall nicely defines Justin and Leah’s patio.

Opening the Space

Chelsea wants to tear down a brick wall that limits the space available for entertaining guests.
So Justin grabs a sledgehammer and knocks down the wall; as he swings, he stops at the brick, which adds more force, he learned from Danny.
Afterward, Chelsea pressure-washes the rest of the brick wall, which we left in place. Chelsea recommends methodically spraying the wall, “line by line,” which makes it easier to see missed spots.
Next, Danny uses Quikrete’s pre-mixed mortar to repair the brick wall and to add a column where the brick wall now ends.

Bar heigh counter
Short on patio space and need to maximize outdoor entertaining opportunities? Just build a bar-height counter on an existing fence.

Adding a Bar-Height Counter

Danny wants to add a bar-height counter along Justin and Leah’s fence to boost the space available for serving guests.
First, Chelsea and Leah use a nail gun to create a wall for the counter along the fence.
Next, Leah and her sister, Jessica, apply solid deck stain to the newly created wall and bar.
Danny and Chelsea topped the area with a shade sail that can support a string of lights to add ambiance.

Watch: How to Build a Decorative Bar>>

Finally, we leave Justin and Leah with a Wet & Forget sprayer, which will help them remove mold, mildew and algae on the home’s siding.

Other Tips from This Episode

paint roller

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Hack a Paint Sleeve into 3 Pieces

You need a 3-inch paint roller for some spaces, but you don’t need to purchase small paint sleeves.Watch video.

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Nest x Yale Lock Keeps Your Front Door Safe and Smart

If you want to upgrade the look of your front door, keep it safe and smart, this is a nice option for you.Watch video.

Here’s a look at Leah and Justin’s patio after Danny and Chelsea made some improvements.

The Today’s Homeowner crew helped homeowners Leah and Justin make the most of their patio.

A few projects we cover in this episode:

  • Repairing the patio’s cracks
  • Adding retractable screens
  • Opening the space
  • Adding a bar-height counter

Check out the “Maximize Outdoor Living” episode article for more information and links to the products we used on this project!


  1. I watched your show last weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio (weekend of April 28th, 2019) and watched as the ladies “pounded sand” to create base for a bricked patio (?) Would you happen to have that video available on line?

    Please and thank you!


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