In the opening webisode of our Outdoor Living At Its Best web series, we go over the plans for the project with the designer, Catherine Arensberg.

The roof is extended to cover the patio, and pockets are created for the motorized retractable screens from Phantom Screens. New V-groove ceiling material is installed on the patio, and the brick mason reworks the curvature of the retaining wall.

Don’t miss Outdoor Living At It Best: Part 2 to see how it all starts coming together.

Watch the video above to find out more.


This is my backyard. It’s evolved some over the last 25 years since I originally built this house. At one point we decided we needed a hot tub so we extended the patio and built this little shed like roof to cover it. The arbor was an afterthought to create more privacy for the hot tub. A few years later we added a pool. In this climate we can use the pool 7 months out of the year so the hot tub almost never got any use after that. The hot tub is gone now and I recently noticed that my grill was in need of replacement, so what’s next? An outdoor kitchen of course! So Sharon and I met with a designer to start planning…

We also talked about updating some things that have fallen into disrepair, like the fountains on the patio and the privacy fence that surrounds the entire yard. Based on our conversation, Catherine has put together a plan to make it all happen. This will give use the kitchen area we wanted as well as dining and living areas which can be enclosed by screens. Unfortunately extending the roof to do this is a little more complicated than just adding another column and a few feet of roof. We’re going to have to remove the shed roof completely, so we can build a beam system that will support the new roof. Then we have to tear out part of the existing roof so we can tie in the new roof, matching the pitch that’s on the rest of the house.

These motorized screens are made by the folks at Phantom Screens. Several years ago I had the chance to include them in a project I was doing to update an early twentieth century home with modern materials and amenities. The idea was to retain the charm of an older home while making it as efficient and comfortable as a new home. These screens were the perfect solution for a deck that was the central point between the Kitchen, Family Room and the Master Bedroom. The screens didn’t change the aesthetics of the house because the motors that operate them are concealed inside pockets in the ceiling. When they’re up, you’d never know they were there. When they’re down the deck becomes another room for most of the year. That’s exactly the plan here too, so building the pockets for the screens is one of the the first things we do once the roof is completed. After that we can install the V groove ceiling material we talked about with Catherine. We applied wood conditioner, stain and the polyurethane finish to this wood in the shop before it was installed because it’s much easier that way and gives a much better result. As it goes up it’s obvious to me that this really will warm up the space the way I wanted it to. Next, the temporary wood supports for the new roof are being replaced with brick columns that will match the ones already in use on the patio. While Truit, the brick mason, is here I’ve asked him to re-work a section of the retaining wall that blocked our view of the waterfall by the pool. By changing the curve of the last few feet of the wall we’ll have a better view and the flower bed in front of the wall will be larger.

Because the wall was built long before the pool or the waterfall, it just worked out that way. But I’ve never liked it. Since we’re going all out to correct the other problems that our piecemeal improvements over the years have caused…. we’re fixing it now. The cinder blocks will do the real work of holding back the dirt on the hillside. Once they’re in place Truit will cover them with a layer of brick that matches the ones used on the rest of the wall.

While my Patio Project has come a long way there’s still a lot to be done! Be sure to check out the next webisoode to see how it all starts coming together.

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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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