Filling a Backyard with a Paver Patio and Pergola

Paver patio with pergola and picnic bench
Tom and Lauren’s backyard was bare, but now it has a paver patio with a pergola, swing set, picnic table and lush landscaping.

When you own a brand-new home with a blank slate backyard, it takes some elbow grease to give it that “lived-in” look.

Tom and Lauren moved into a new home, in a new development, with their son John Thomas about six months ago.

They have a blank space to fill, and Danny and Chelsea are here to help them.

Tom and Lauren’s backyard is like the other new houses on their block: bare, and waiting for some landscaping and extra living space.

The Projects

Excavate Grass for Patio

Sid Sexton is a local landscaper we’ve worked with before, and he’s great at helping homeowners develop long-term plans for their property.

In the future, when Tom and Lauren’s budget allows, Sid’s plan will specify other additions, like more trees and a raised vegetable garden.

For now, we’re going to focus on the patio, adding some landscaping, a pergola, a swing set and string lights.

Stakes and string mark the straight lines of the patio, but we’ll use marking paint for the curved lines of the planting beds.

Before we start digging, we sharpen our shovels with the belt sander.

Once we have all the soil moved to the low side of the patio, we pack it down with the plate compactor before we begin spreading the paver base.

Danny lays Pavestone pavers for Tom and Lauren’s patio.

Set Posts and Lay Pavers

Once the paver base is roughly graded, we run the plate compactor again to compress it before we begin pouring in the sand.

By the end of the first day, we’ve graded the sand over half the patio, so early on day two, we’re ready for Pavestone pavers.

Tom and Lauren’s backyard is looking much less like a “blank slate” as the patio takes shape. Now, it’s time to add the posts for their new pergola.


  1. Danny my husband and I were watching the Oct. 26 episode. We we concerned that you did not stress the need to have diggers hotline mark the yard. We saw no flags and there was a lot of digging going on. Perhaps I missed it? Homeowners need to understand the importance of this if doing any digging. They often don’t think of this before they start. Thanks

    • Hi, Kristy,
      Thanks for your feedback! We daily review comments about the television show.
      I have forwarded your message to our TV show’s producers.
      Take care!

  2. Although I have some carpentry skills I am limited in what I can do because of arthritis. I want to protect my cars from the Florida weather so I would like to build a pergola with some over head shade material. I have to span 22 uninterrupted feet with a beam that will have very little weight on top. What can I use? Is there a 2″ X 4″ X 22′ PT that could be used or do I need to find some other material or can I use shorter lumber with some kind of metal strapping?

    • Hi, William — sounds like a great project you’re planning!
      We’re always looking for homeowners to call into our radio show and ask questions directly to Danny and Joe.
      We’ve reviewed your question and shared it with our radio producer.
      Take care. 🙂


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