Watch Full Episode button

We’re converting a Knoxville homeowner’s simple backyard into a Backyard Paradise.

Each year, we host a contest with our friends from Pavestone called “Backyard Paradise,” and this year’s winner is from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Sarah Gulley, her husband Jason, and their children all love being outside, so the contest prize of a backyard makeover is ideal for this family.

Here’s how we’re transforming this space.

The Projects

Before photo of deck
This deck doesn’t match this home’s architecture.

Remove Existing Deck

Sarah and Jason have a nice deck behind their spacious brick home, but it really doesn’t match the home’s architecture, so we’re going to replace it with a paver patio.

First, we clear the deck of furniture; then we lay plywood to protect the grass; and next, we demo the deck.

Danny lays pavers
Danny lays pavers for Sarah and Jason’s new patio.

Install Paver Patio

We’re installing a paver patio that will provide a durable, elegant gathering space for Sarah and Jason’s family, and their guests. This patio will complement the home’s architecture, unlike the old deck.

We start by spreading paver base, and then we grade the surface. A plate compactor moves a heavy base plate up and down very quickly to compress the surface beneath it, and soon, the foundation for this patio is in place.

We’ve covered this patio with a 1-inch layer of sand, so next, we place the pavers.

Fire pit

Build Firepit

Installing a fire pit will make this patio cozy and offer the perfect place to roast marshmallows on cool nights.

Much of the fire pit is made from pavers that match the patio, for a seamless look.

Watch “How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit with Pavers” for step-by-step instructions.

Build Sitting Wall

A sitting wall enhances and adds function to the patio. It provides extra seating, and because it’s also made from pavers, this retaining wall adds visual interest and dimension to the paver patio and fire pit.

Watch “How to Build a Patio Sitting Wall” for step-by-step instructions.

Phantom Screens
This door screen protects you from mosquitoes and UV rays when in use, and disappears into the wall when not.

Install Phantom Screens

Sarah and Jason had a makeshift screen to pass through their back entrance to the patio. But it was a temporary solution, and it looked that way, too.

We’re replacing it with Phantom Screens, retractable doors that protect you from mosquitoes when you need them and disappear into the wall when you don’t.

We also added some landscaping to help create this backyard paradise.

Danny and homeowners
“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford sits with Sarah and Jason Gulley.

Post-Production Thoughts

Sarah and Jason have a beautiful backyard, but the deck that was here before kept them separated from it.
It felt cramped with more than two or three people, and it really didn’t fit the home architecture.

Now that the deck is gone, we’ve created a beautiful paver patio that flows right out into their big backyard.
The pavers are a much better fit for the style of the house and, even though the patio is about the same size as the deck, it feels much larger.

Two small columns welcome you onto the patio as you enter the backyard; then the curved seating wall and fire pit practically shout an invitation to sit and relax.

The grill enclosure that Ted put together in the corner is both functional and attractive, so backyard meal prep can be as much fun as the party it’s serving.

Other Tips from This Episode


Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Spray Paint Screws, Latches, Braces and Brackets

Need to spray paint hooks, fasteners and hardware? Here’s the simple way to do it — without making a mess.Watch video.

String trimmer

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
This String Trimmer is Powerful, Versatile & Efficient

Milwaukee’s String Timmer has a QUIK-LOK feature that makes it possible to change attachments. Watch video.

Install a fire pit

Watch and Learn:
How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit with Pavers

Installing a fire pit makes a patio cozy and offers the perfect place to roast marshmallows on cool nights.Watch video.

Patio sitting wall

Watch and Learn:
How to Build a Patio Sitting Wall

A sitting wall enhances and adds function to your patio. Here’s how to build one with pavers!Watch video.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

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.

Learn More

Comments are closed.