Backyard Plans Coming Together

The past few days here in Chicago have been beautiful (you know, except yesterday and today). We’ve had sunny seventy-degree-weather days many times over the last couple of weeks, and this Saturday (after the morning rain) was too beautiful to stay inside long.

We started the day working on our back steps – again! But, after the rain ended and the sun came out, we decided to switch our focus to the backyard. In our never-ending scheme to get our backyard up to snuff, we’ve already raked leaves and debris from garden beds and built elevated planters. Next, we wanted to fashion a place for us to sit. Just a small patio that wouldn’t require a lot of back-breaking work to install.

We considered pavers. At only about fifty cents per paver, it would be an economical choice, but we’d still have to level the ground, dig down, dump a layer of crushed rock and sand, and finally lay the pavers. We weren’t sure we wanted to go to all that work just yet, so we kept looking.

We came across these decking tiles available from various venders online. They’re flexible plastic or rubber mats with decking wood attached to the tops. They’re designed to resurface a faded deck or patio, but they can also be used directly on grass for a sort of makeshift, ground-level deck. And a big bonus is that they’re available from IKEA! So, last week, we trekked over to IKEA and picked up a few boxes.

We really liked the idea of having our new patio just off the back door, so it’s convenient and immediately out of the house. In order to clear space for it, though, we had to clear a bed of lilies the previous owner had planted.

We really liked the lilies, though, as they do really well in our backyard and come back year after year with no maintenance. So, we set to work digging up the entire bed, uprooting each bulb, shaking off the excess dirt, and replanting them along the garage, which was completely plant-less. It wasn’t a hard job at all, and it turned out wonderfully.

With a newly cleared area for a patio, we were almost set to install. We leveled the ground as much as possible by raking the dirt back and forth and using a long 2×4 to level and tamp down the dirt. For now, we decided that was enough and began to lay our tiles down.

We’ll probably end up going back over the area and re-leveling it or even putting some sand down in the future, but because we didn’t want to spend a ton of time on this project (we do have about 1000 other things to be working on at the moment), we went ahead with things they way they are.

The tiles went in really easily – they simply snap together and lay on the ground. They’re flexible enough to lay on uneven surfaces, too. After only a few minutes of installing and playing around with the layout, we had our new patio. We plan to put some planters or flowers or something around the perimeter to define the area, but this is a pretty good idea of things to come.



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3 responses to “Backyard Plans Coming Together

  1. runyanthree

    Why do you guys always do things that make me want to copy you? 🙂

  2. Carrie

    Hi! I am a HUGE fan of your blog, my boyfriend and I closed on a 1927 Bungalow in Jan. We live in a suburb or Detroit. How are the ikea tiles holding up? We are considering using the same ones, but I am worried about sinking and mud. Love everything you have done in the house- we have very similar style.


    • bungalowbungahigh

      Awesome, thanks! Funny you should ask about those tiles. They’re holding up fine, but you can definitely tell the ground’s not level underneath. I think we’re going to try to dig out a little and put sand down to level the ground before replacing the tiles. If you’re putting them on bare dirt, I’d think about a layer of sand first.

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