Backyard Paradise 2017

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Gauthaum and Monica Sethi with Chelsea Lipford Wolf and Danny Lipford.
Gautaum and Monica Sethi with Chelsea Lipford Wolf and Danny Lipford.

The Today’s Homeowner team hit the road to Castle Pines, Colorado, a beautiful little town just south of Denver, and home to our Backyard Paradise 2017 contest winner, Monica Sethi. Each year we host the popular contest, and the winner’s backyard gets a makeover courtesy of Pavestone with some help from our team.

Monica and her husband, Gautaum, along with their children Anna and Aaron, were perfect for this project. The Sethi family loves the outdoors, and their yard has a great view of a natural hillside and hiking trail.

As Monica wrote in her contest submission, the family has been “yearning to enjoy the ‘300 days of sunshine’ Colorado has to offer. This year I was determined to get the DIY project moving, so I offered up my existing flagstone for free on our community website. Well, we underestimated the power of the Internet, thinking we will have a few weeks to plan and execute. The flagstone got picked up in 3 days! All we are left with now is a patch of dirt and mind full of ideas.”

Monica and from Pavestone lay the new pavers.
Monica helps the Pavestone crew lay the pavers.

Paver Patio and Retaining Wall

Aaron got to try out all the equipment, including this mechanical tamper.
Aaron got to try out all the equipment, including this mechanical tamper.

Before we could begin work on the new paver patio, we had to demolish and remove the existing dilapidated patio, which turned out to be a much bigger task than we anticipated. The old patio slab was outrageously thick, and even with a jackhammer it was hard work to break up the concrete.

But, we eventually cleared out all the debris and got to work on laying the new patio. The pavers we used were a larger format, so we were able to cover a lot of ground quickly. Watch Tips for Laying a Paver Patio for step-by-step instructions.

We knew the yard had a slope from side to side, but we didn’t realize how much. So, a retaining wall was incorporated into the design of the curved patio.

To complicate things even further, we were in a race against the weather, as the forecast called for snow later in the week. Lucas Barry from Pavestone, who was charged with leading the project, did an incredible job of keeping everything on schedule, in spite of all the challenges.

Once the patio was complete, the Sethis accessorized the space with outdoor furniture they ordered from And, along the edge of the patio, we installed LED rope lights for a nice warm glow.

One end of the patio features a paver retaining wall and a fire pit.
One end of the patio features a paver retaining wall and a fire pit.

Outdoor Kitchen and Fire Pit

A Backyard Paradise wouldn’t be complete without an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, and the Sethis’ backyard was no exception.

Pavestone made building the fire pit easy, as we simply used the color-coded instructions to stack the blocks. Watch How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit for details.

The outdoor kitchen features a concrete countertop, which we made in advance using Quikrete’s countertop mix. Check out How to Make a DIY Concrete Countertop for instructions on this project.

The outdoor kitchen featured a grill and concrete countertops,
The outdoor kitchen features a grill and concrete countertops.

Other Tips from This Episode


Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Make a Ceramic Tile Trivet

All you need to make a ceramic tile trivet is some leftover tile, wax paper, cooking spray, hot glue and paint stir sticks. Watch video.


Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Husky Cantilever Mobile Job Tool Box

Husky’s heavy-duty mobile job box features a cantilever lid and customizable compartments to keep everything organized. The large, all-terrain wheels and extendable handle means it can go wherever you go. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.


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