July 2021

Professional DIY Project

What do you call it when a professional does a job at his own house? Here’s a perfect example.

Dawson and his wife, Ashley, moved into their home 2018. This year they took on an ambitious project at their home: to build a terraced patio with steps descending to a lower patio with a firepit overlooking the water.

Says Dawson:
The key was in the design which I did myself. I spent all winter planning everything right down to the smallest detail. I did construction in up-state New York for 20+ years so had the skills to take the design from my head and actually make it a reality.

We rented a small machine for the initial excavation, then did everything else by hand with wheelbarrow and rakes.

We used two huge piles of base material and nine pallets of stone.
Our sons, Vann and Breckin, loved to climb on the piles Stone Garden delivered to our driveway.

My wife and I did all the work ourselves.

We used crusher run as a base with stone dust top as a leveling agent.

(Crusher Run, also known as Crush-N-Run, is a blended mix of coarse and fine aggregate used as a base for flatwork projects.)

After the border was secured, we filled in the creme travertine tiles we had selected with silver travertine accents.

A wet saw helped make the cuts fine and accurate.

The wall system under the patio gives it a floating appearance. Low voltage lighting was added on both the upper and lower patios.

We faced a challenging lot, set on a slope leading down to a pond.

Drip-irrigation zones were added to all the flowerbeds for ongoing maintenance ease.

We outlined the walkway with wall blocks then glued down all the exterior pieces.

Passing golfers watched our progress during the five-week process.

This was my first time working with travertine. We absolutely love the material. It’s soft and smooth under bare feet and not slippery when wet which was really surprising. It has a weird traction to it making it safe for everyone in the family.

The teardrop design of the firepit patio echos the upper pathway shape. A gas line was installed for the firepit.

The seating wall not only defines the space but keeps the small pond crocodiles at bay.

We get so many compliments on the travertine.

I way over-complicated the project by adding the silver inlay and all the curves but it was so worth it!

We absolutely love the patio, its more like an extension of our inside living space. If we ever decide to sell I’m pretty sure we increased the resale value a LOT.

We sit outside every night we can, enjoying the sunset and have friends over most weekends.