We host our Backyard Paradise Contest sponsored by Pavestone and Quikrete every year.

    This year, the winners are John David and Bronwyn Mercer from Senoia, Georgia. They have lived in their home for eight years.

    What they love about their house is their large backyard which is perfect for their five-year-old son, Wyatt, but they are disappointed with their 12 by 15 concrete slab. They have wanted to turn their yard into a backyard paradise, but other things have taken precedence.

    Because their backyard is so spacious and they are tired of their small concrete slab, we are going to give them the patio of their dreams.

    The Projects

    This image shows the mapped out new patio.
    For John David and Bronwyn to have their dream backyard paradise, we needed to greatly improve the patio’s size. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    Lay The New Patio

    We used a leveler to ensure that the new retaining wall is even. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    First, we mapped out where the new and improved patio would be. We used white paint to draw a rough sketch of the new patio. Then, we used a metal rod and string line to determine the elevation of the project. It was essential to ensure that there was enough slope so that water would run off.

    Once we had everything determined, we began digging.

    Next, we built a retaining wall using Pavestone Ladera Blocks. The great thing about these blocks is they require very little cutting. They made installation so easy; even little Wyatt helped.

    We stacked them on one another and glued them together using Quikrete Construction Adhesive. Therefore, the blocks will not shift over time, which is important in a retaining wall.

    After the retaining wall was completed, we added landscape fabric to retain the soil. Then, we used Pavestone Compactable Paver Base and poured it into the space inside the retaining wall, compacting it in two-inch layers. This is important because we want to ensure the patio is tight from top to bottom.

    We used the paver base and made sure that is was compacted tightly and was a sturdy base for the new pavers. (3 Echoes Content Studio)
    The Pavestone Luna pavers were the perfect choice for this backyard paradise and resembled cobblestone. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    After fully compacting the paver base, we covered the patio in the sand before installing the new pavers.

    For this project, we used two different types of pavers. Around the planting bed, we used Luna pavers. We used a random pattern for these but made sure they were touching. We used these to add dimension to the space.

    After laying the Luna pavers, we filled in the gaps with the paver base.

    Finally, to complete the new patio, we used 24-inch square pavers. Because of their size, the installation was pretty quick. 

    Built Fire Pit and Planter

    To build the planter, we first had to build a retaining wall.

    Then, we filled it with soil and planted fresh herbs and vegetables.

    For the fire pit, we placed the insert on the floor for sizing and built a retaining wall around it using the Ladera Blocks. Once the first row of Ladera Blocks was placed, we removed the insert and continued building upward.

    For the new raised planted, we built a retaining wall to hold the soil and newly planted herbs and vegetables. (3 Echoes Content Studio)
    After building the retaining wall, it was very easy to place the insert inside. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    After the retaining wall was to our desired height, we placed the insert inside the retaining wall. Next, we filled the insert with the paver base. This was the easiest installation process and took only four minutes.

    Added Accent Shelf Table

    To enhance their new backyard paradise, we added a modern table. First, we painted a wood post black to match the rest of the furniture.

    Then, we used a water heater drain pan as a mold for the new shelf. We poured Quikrete Countertop Mix with water into the mold. To ensure that the shelf would fit around the post, we added a piece of the post in the middle of the mold to create a donut-looking shape. After we peeled off the mold, we sanded it to make it smooth.

    Adding this unique table is practical and the perfect piece for their backyard paradise. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    We used post-hole diggers to put the unique table on the patio. Once we dug a deep enough hole, we used Quikrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix and water to hold the post.

    Additionally, we used a leveler to ensure the post was standing straight and not tilted in either direction.

    To ensure that the post is stable, we used concrete to hold it in place. (3 Echoes Content Studio)
    The new table added a modern feel to their new patio. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    To add the table, we first made a shelf of wood blocks for the concrete to sit on. Then, we slid the concrete circular table over the post, caulked it on the top of the wooden shelf, and placed the concrete table on the wooden, caulked shelf.

    Finally, we added a light to the post to brighten up their backyard paradise.

    We also:

    • Made a Bocce Ball Court
    • Added new landscaping
    • Installed a shade umbrella
    • Installed lighting
    • Built a fence around the trashcan

    Post Production Thoughts

    John David and Bronwyn have an enormous backyard, but their patio was tiny by comparison. And the landscape border around the house was aging poorly. The needed more outdoor living space and they needed a cleaner, more modern look.

    This family won the backyard paradise contest and ended with a new patio and a bocce ball court. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

    But now, the new larger patio suits the scale of the yard and offers all of the visual interests the space was missing before.

    The clean straight lines of the Ladera Pavers border everything beautifully, adding character to whatever they touched from the planting beds and the patio itself to the bocce ball court and the fire pit. The 24 inch pavers in the main patio, give it the appearance that it’s actually larger than it is.

    While the cobblestone look of the Luna Pavers around the raised vegetable garden creates a soft transition to the surface of the bocce ball court.

    All of these elements combined to create a space that’s as perfect for quality family time as it is for entertainment.

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    Further Reading

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for 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, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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